Alumni Spotlight: Benedict Chiu

Name: Benedict Chiu
Graduation Year: 2017
Major: 
Business Administration / Cinematic Arts (BCA)
Hometown: 
Saratoga, California
LinkedIn: 
https://www.linkedin.com/in/benedictc/
Website: 
https://www.benedictfilm.com/

What were your favorite positions/memories at TVTV?
I wanted to try something new every semester, so did pretty much everything available – even hosting one semester! I was probably most known for directing a number of the morning shows (Scoop, Delish, Morning Brew, etc.) and special segments (SCA Commencement, Ryan Coogler interview). I was also the Assistant General Manager and helped train a lot of the incoming directors and producers.

How was your transition out of USC into the workplace?
I did an internship at NBCUniversal in the fall of my senior year and kept in touch with the team and internship recruiter. They recommended me for the NBC Page Program, and though it was the only job in NY I applied and interviewed for, it was the first to give me an offer. At the time, it was a difficult decision because I was a lifelong CA person and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. The challenges were more logistical in moving less than a month after graduation, but once I was in 30 Rock meeting people who lived and breathed TV, the familiarity of this language made starting a new life much easier.

What has your journey and experience been like?
Strangely enough, my journey has been figuring out what I don’t want to do. I grew up in the Silicon Valley area and didn’t want to pursue something in STEM, which led me to study business at USC. I quickly figured out I didn’t want to be just a business major, so I did the BCA joint program instead. My early internships were all in film/TV marketing, but I ultimately wanted to be on the production side. The NBC Page Program showed me that I didn’t want to be in live TV, and working at APA Agency was a way for me to get into scripted. Now I’m at another crossroad where everything points in me going down the development executive path, but I’ve decided I’m more fulfilled directing my own short films and writing features and pilots. So I’m currently seeing where that takes me.

What are you up to now?
I’m currently the executive assistant to the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Creative Officer at Mythical Entertainment, an entertainment company founded by Rhett & Link, who host Mythical’s flagship comedy talk show, Good Mythical Morning! In 2019, Mythical acquired the sketch comedy brand Smosh, creating the largest digital comedy studio in the world with a combined total of over 75 million subscribers and 25 billion views. In addition to assisting the executives with their demanding schedules, I’m also able to explore my creative interests by assisting the writers and producers with research and writing assignments and I’m also in charge of updating the company on what is trending in pop culture. Working at Entertainment Tonight was a great start for me, but when I got this opportunity to work for a company that combines my passions for talk shows, pop culture, and comedy, I couldn’t pass it up! Since I made the transition from ET to Mythical, I’ve been loving my job here ever since I started in October 2019!

What are you up to now?
I left my agency job just as the pandemic hit, so I’ve been taking the time to finish my writing samples and interview for writers’ assistant/showrunners’ assistant jobs. It’s been helpful to have this time to pivot, even if it’s not all super exciting. The one cool project I worked on recently was a narrative podcast called ADMIT IT, which I actually co-created with Grant Singer (who I met through Trojan Vision years back). We wrote an audio dramedy series, cast actors we knew from USC and recorded everything virtually. It was a fun way to hone our directing and editing skills, and also an excuse to see some familiar faces!

How has TVTV helped shape your career?
I think it gave me pretty critical hands-on experience before I even knew that I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment. There was freedom in creating without much pressure, and I made a lot of friends who I continued working with after college. It’s also a very unique shared experience, so whenever I connect with a USC alum who also did Trojan Vision, it’s an instant ice breaker.

Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?
Ideally, I’d like to be making a feature film or working on a TV series sometime in the next 5-10 years. I’m leaving this intentionally vague so I don’t get crushed by my own expectations. Mostly, I hope to continue meeting new people that inspire me and have the opportunity to work with friends.

Any words of advice for students?
While you’re still in college, try everything available to you so that you can fail with fewer consequences. Constantly question if you are fulfilled in the process of creating, not just by the conditional success of your results. Make friends, collaborate with them, and challenge your perspectives. Seek out advice often. It might not be what you need to hear at that moment, but it may be the exact thing you need in the future.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m obligated to say that the podcast I mentioned earlier is now streaming, so feel free to check it out. There are some Trojan Vision alums in the cast too, so there’s the connective tissue!

Check out Benedict’s podcast here: https://admitpodcast.carrd.co/