The entertainment industry is a hard field to navigate, and I am excited to be a part of The Media Chronicles to assist others along the way!
We’re all told to sell ourselves in interviews, but often in consideration of what the employer is looking for, we can forget to truly represent ourselves. However, associate producer (and newly minted father!!) Matthew Engler is proof that showing your true colors really can land you your dream job. Find out how Engler landed his dream position in Web and Mobile for Spike TV, what important lessons he learned along the way, and how everyone will be watching TV in five years’ time.
You went to NYU for film production; did you know starting in college that you wanted to be a producer, or even in the entertainment industry at all? Were there other interests you were pursuing? When was the moment that it clicked?
Back at NYU I was actually most interested in post production and documentary work, and my post college freelancing was mostly in those areas. I actually had a surprisingly natural transition that would have been difficult to plan. After years of freelance editing, I started working with a startup called Cliptamatic doing video editing-related work for their app. This gave me my first taste of the other side of the tech world (that I already actively participated in as a consumer) and gave me the experience I needed to land a job as a producer at Beamly (formerly zeebox). This new app was just about to launch and had a partnership with Viacom and a number of other large entertainment companies, putting me into contact with people in the industry. The importance of these contacts can’t be overstated. The entertainment industry may seem big from the outside, but it is surprisingly small and everyone seems to know everyone else regardless of which company they work for.
But when did it click for me? To be quite honest, as I got older and wanted to start a family, I took a look at my work freelancing and realized that it just wasn’t feasible for me to continue. I needed a more stable career and had to find a way to transition to the other side so I could stay involved in the industry I cared so much about, but have a chance at supporting the family I wanted. I very much wish someone sat me down and talked to me about that when I was in college, but on the other hand, I was young, idealistic, and passionate, so I probably wouldn’t have listened anyway.
How do you feel your skills as an editor enhance your vision as a producer?
We like to divide up the stages of production into tiny pieces, but they’re really all the same when you get down to it. As an editor, I would take in all the footage and find a way to put together the most compelling story with it. Being a producer is similar in that I take different pieces of content and help tell a story with it. I think that being an editor first gave me an appreciation of how much work goes into creating that content and also taught me to have a long view, to take everything in, and bring it all together.
As an associate producer of online and app content for Spike TV, what is a typical day for you? And what is your favorite aspect of the position?
Right now Spike is smack in the middle of developing its new TV Everywhere app. Comedy Central released its own app back in April and it has been a huge success so far (over 1 million downloads in just three months!) and we’re looking to build on that with our own content at Spike.
My day-to-day right now deals mostly with getting our content ready for the app, which is fun but can be tedious (Does this episode of Bar Rescue have the right description? Are these Ink Master episodes in order?), but then again, I end up getting paid to