Mallory Lovings is poised to succeed after graduation thanks to her work ethic and a vibrant Redbird community.
The senior journalism student spent her summer as an intern with Technicolor VFX Hollywood. It is the largest post-production company in the world and does visual effects, coloring, and compositing among other techniques that bring a director’s vision to life.
This opportunity came in part from Doug Spilatro ’79, who is the vice president for visual effects at Technicolor. Spilatro is a New Jersey native and a TV-10 alum who has worked in the field since the 80’s. Some recent films you may have seen featuring his work include Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; Spider-Man: Homecoming; and Logan, among others.
Brent Simonds ’03, E.D.D., Professor of Communication, reached out to Spilatro to ask if he was able to come back to ISU and speak with students. Spilatro agreed and spoke to a class during the week of Homecoming 2016, where he met Lovings and was immediately taken with her enthusiasm.
“She was trying to find a way to take her education and get into the professional world,” he said. “Her ability to catch on quickly is outstanding and her ability to take on new challenges is remarkable.”
After the talk, Spilatro and Lovings exchanged contact information, and she contacted him in January of this year about an internship opportunity which she started in June.
For Lovings the experience was life-changing. Her internship was also connected to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, where she was part of the Academy Gold Talent Development and Inclusion Program. Once a week, she met with a panel of directors, writers, and actors that put her in contact with people like Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow.
“Honestly, all of us (at Technicolor) were a little jealous of her experience. We all wished our intern experience was like that,” Spilatro says. “She would be going to a panel and we would ask who was going to be there and be blown away. It was an incredible opportunity.”
When she wasn’t meeting big names in Hollywood, Lovings kept busy during her two months with Technicolor. She did post-production visual effects work on the new season of the Netflix hit Stranger Things, the HBO comedy series Veep, and upcoming blockbuster films like Avengers: Infinity War and Thor: Ragnarok.
Spilatro says that Lovings is the first intern that the visual effects side of Technicolor has ever hired. The internship with Lovings was such a mutually beneficial experience that Technicolor is looking into how they can continue the program with other Redbirds.
“The perfect student would be well versed in post-production coming out of school,” he said. “I want them to understand what post-production, editing, and color correction is by taking different classes and having a strong background. Then they can show me that they have this knowledge and experience and they want to grow in the post-production world.”
The Redbird community is working together to create more of Spilatro’s perfect students and help Redbirds succeed. In addition to alumni career connections, Lovings has also received financial support from donors, and personal attention from faculty.
Lovings is a recipient of the Iola Stoops Juarez Journalism Scholarship, which was created to assist in the education of undergraduate journalism students working at the Vidette, Illinois State’s student newspaper.
Professors have also given Lovings unique opportunities to pursue her interests. Her dream is to host a late-night talk show in the vein of Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert, and she has been supported in that by getting her own show on TV-10 by News Director Laura Trendle-Polus ’87, M.S. ’00.
“The School of Communication has been one of my biggest supporters,” Lovings said. “ISU is a pretty big school, but it feels smaller because everyone is so supportive and everyone is there for each other. Even professors that have retired still keep in touch with me.”
Lovings’ advice for Redbirds chasing their dreams is to simply go for it.
“Go for it because you might never know what could come out of it,” she said. “I didn’t think emailing Doug three months after meeting him that he would still remember me or that anything would come out of it. But he emailed me back. You always have to try. Getting your name out there is so important.”