Student Spotlight: Sarah Taschetta
Major: Motion Picture/Television
Sarah Taschetta continues to move closer toward her dream of working in television after enjoying the American Pavilion’s prestigious L.A. Intensive program for 2018.
For nearly three decades, the American Pavilion has been the communications and hospitality hub at the Cannes Film Festival for American filmmakers. The organization offers an internship for students to work at the festival as well as a summer program in Los Angeles that provides information and resources to students interested in careers in the entertainment industry.
Taschetta, a Television Production student at College of DuPage, would like to work behind-the-scenes as a director or producer for a TV talk show, and being hired for the Ellen DeGeneres show would be a dream come true. In fact, in 2017 her video submission was a finalist in Ellen’s 12 Days Skybox Challenge and shown on “Ellen” (pictured above is Ellen DeGeneres introducing Taschetta's video on the big screen).
Click here to view the video.
“I’ve been watching Ellen since fourth or fifth grade,” said Taschetta. “She’s hilarious, but it’s also about how generous she is to those in need, which is why I’m a huge fan. Jeannie Klisiewicz, one of Ellen’s producers, was a fan who entered every contest, never won and eventually was hired for the show. I’m going to be persistent because it could happen to me.”
Taschetta began making videos as a freshman at Wheaton North High School. After seeing other students’ videos, she initially saw herself as the school’s Ellen DeGeneres before developing her own voice. This included “minute to win it” videos, which became big hits, and segments promoting the school’s special needs population.
“I have always been aware of inclusion, and for the school’s TV show, I asked why we couldn’t have anchors who have special needs,” she said. “As a result, several were featured in this role. I also made a promotional video for the Special Olympics.”
When it came time for college, Taschetta initially decided to pursue occupational therapy at a four-year school.
“I went for 12 days and realized the regular college experience wasn’t for me,” she said. “I switched to College of DuPage and initially studied speech before I discovered the Motion Picture/Television program and Courier TV, the student-produced weekly news program. I took Professor Jennifer Piehl’s class and fell in love with directing.”
Before transferring to Columbia College, Taschetta took part in the L.A. Intensive program, and it more than lived up to her expectations.
“The night we went to a taping of Jimmy Kimmel was the biggest night for me,” she said. “I thought we would just be watching, but they put us in the Green Room and gave us the VIP treatment. Then I met Jill Leiderman, executive producer of the show and a Northwestern graduate. I am a big fan of hers because she is one of the best talk show producers. She took me into the control booth with her as we watched the show.
“The entire time I was at the taping, I knew this is what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.”
Taschetta is pursuing a degree in television production and directing. Her hope is to secure a spot in Columbia’s “Semester in L.A.,” where she can finish her studies and land an internship in television.
“A career in television just speaks to me,” she said. “I prefer live TV and especially talk shows, for obvious reasons. I will apply for internships on ‘Ellen’ or ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ because both have the same beliefs and use their platforms to promote positive change. I want to make a difference and work with people who are doing so.”
College of DuPage was the right choice for Taschetta. In addition to the affordable tuition, she was impressed by the quality of the resources and overall academic experience.
“It doesn’t matter that I didn’t start here,” she said. “I received an amazing education and the opportunities were just incredible.”
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2018 College of DuPage