Television shows crafted a hefty chunk of the ASME intern for TV Guide's journey -- even before he stepped foot in its offices.
When Carson Blackwelder, a current rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, kicked off his collegiate career, biology was the major affixed on his transcript. But the summer following his start as a Tar Heel, he edited that.
"I just figured I would rather write and report about 'Grey's Anatomy' instead of actually (becoming) a doctor," Blackwelder said.
The Kannapolis, N.C., native swapped his science-based major for a double-major in journalism and English to pave his path to becoming an entertainment journalist.
While Blackwelder has thrusted himself into campus publications including newspapers and magazines, the 21-year-old pins the "quintessential piece" in his portfolio to the tube.
For a class assignment, Blackwelder and his peers launched a magazine targeted to the special needs community titled "wabisabi." Blackwelder's major assignment for the publication was profiling a character on FOX's smash hit, 'Glee.'
Lauren Potter, a 22-year-old actress with Down syndrome, plays Becky Foster, a cheerleader with Down syndrome and Jane Lynch's spunky sidekick. While Potter has made a name for herself in Tinseltown, she has also held her own in her anti-bullying activism.
Through maneuvering under what Blackwelder called "a lot of red tape," he successfully set up a phone interview with Potter and her mother for wabisabi.
During the phone conference, Blackwelder said Potter unwrapped tales from her childhood when she was bullied -- something he said was emotional to digest over the speaker. He said Potter told stories of when she would hear girls snickering at her in the Target checkout line, but she wouldn't simply brush off her taunters.
"She would basically just call them out on it," Blackwelder said. "She had so much spunk it was crazy. Her character on 'Glee' I think is her a lot in real life."
Now, as an ASME editorial intern for TV Guide magazine, Blackwelder is still immersed in the realm of what flickers across television screens. He said his responsibilities at the mag range from transcribing celebrity interviews (!!!) to typing up character profiles and episode recaps.
Blackwelder has even gotten a tasty sampling of Hollywood in the office. ASME's TV buff saw Eric McCormack ('Will & Grace,' 'Perception') -- OK, part of Eric McCormack.
"I was like, 'That is Eric McCormack's head!'" Blackwelder gushed. "He was in for a special interview and photo session."
While Blackwelder said his time at TV Guide thus far (celeb sightings and all) has only confirmed his passion for entertainment journalism, he was put to the test to unveil his entertainment industry faves to ASME.
Dream Interview: "I would love to do a 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' cast reunion. I'm the biggest fan. I'm almost through watching the series on Netflix now and I love it. I can't wait to get into the comics." (Blackwelder added that two of the staffers at TV Guide have 'Buffy' listed as their favorite show.)
Favorite TV Show (On Air): "'How I Met Your Mother.' I keep coming back to that show, trying to relate my life to that show -- I love all the characters. Alyson Hannigan is from 'Buffy.' Jason Segel is probably my favorite actor in total."
When Blackwelder wrote his first entry for the ASME Intern Blog prior to his first day at TV Guide, he said he hoped not to spill coffee on himself and to keep his composure. For the record, no Tide to Go pens were uncapped.
-Allison Banko, ASME Intern, Good Housekeeping