UT Student Completes Internship on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’

 

KNOXVILLE — On Jasmine Davis’ Top 10 list of dream jobs, working for David Letterman might have been No. 1.

And now she’s done it.

Davis, 22, a senior in communication studies with a minor in journalism and electronic media, spent the 2009 spring semester as a production intern at “The Late Show with David Letterman” in New York City.

The Clarksville native happened across a posting for the internship last year.

“I was just surfing the Internet late at night and I was watching the ‘Late Show,’” she said. She went to the show’s Web site to check the calendar because she wanted to find out when a favorite actor was scheduled to appear.

“At the bottom of the page, I saw there was an internship opportunity,” she said.

She worked hard to perfect her cover letter and resume and then hit “send.” Within a few days, she had been invited to interview.

Davis said she flew to New York and talked to staff members. By the time she arrived home, she had an e-mail offering her a five-month unpaid production internship.

She accepted immediately and rented a room in a house owned by a “Late Show” staff member.

Soon, Davis found herself stocking tapes and delivering show materials to the show’s producers and director.

“I also did a lot of observing. You did your intern work, but the internship was what you made it,” she said. “When the show was filming, I’d say, ‘Hey, can I put the headset on?’ I could hear how the show really works.”

She got accustomed to seeing Letterman and bandleader Paul Shaffer, as well as celebrity guests, walking through the office halls. She even got the chance to appear in a comedy segment with Bruce Willis.

More importantly, though, she got to know many key members of the show’s production staff.

“It was a lot of fun. I learned a lot,” she said. “I felt like I was in the epicenter of everything. I made a lot of great contacts. I learned that networking is key. In that business, it’s all about who you know.”

Davis said she’s always wanted to work in the entertainment business and the internship “pushed me to work a little harder so I can break into the business.”

Her goal: become a producer or executive producer of a show like the “Late Show.”

“I don’t want to be in front of the camera; I want to be behind the scenes,” she said.

As she finishes up her senior year, Davis said she’s staying in touch with “Late Show” staffers in hopes landing a full-time job there when she finishes classes.

“At the ‘Late Show,’ even my worst day was my best day. I was just happy to be there,” she said.

At UT, Davis has served as vice chair of the Black Cultural Programming Committee and Student Government Association senator. She has worked in the Office of Minority Affairs and with Upward Bound.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)

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