• Ryan Somohano

Multimedia Production Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Somohano

Year graduated from CSUN: 2015

Current company: The Walt Disney Company

Position title: Programming Coordinator - Disney XD

Job responsibilities:
I support the television programming department at my network in a variety of ways; I help track delivery and ensure accuracy of on-air promos, I help strategize and program our linear/non-linear program schedules, I assist with creating Keynote and PowerPoint presentations to help the big wigs pitch prospective content partners ranging from internal entities like Maker to external entities like the NFL, I sit in on pitch meetings, weigh-in on pilots and manage lots of boring documents to help keep track of all of the media that flows through our network (and there's a ton). 

Programming is definitely a job of emotional highs and lows but the education and exposure I've gotten in my position is beyond anything anyone could possibly ask for straight out of college.  

Path into the Industry:
People aren't kidding when they say it's who you know. I have a cousin who owns a small animation studio that gave me my first internship when I started college. I think the best skill I learned there was patience. I cleaned a lot of paint brushes, organized a lot of puppets and spent a ton of hours on the bus commuting back and forth. While I was doing that I was also producing YouTube videos which was an awesome experience. I managed to develop a small cult following and got a couple of comedic shorts festival nods. Both that and my animation studio internship helped me build my professional network but didn't land me anything solid right away.  

Later (I was a junior in college at this point) I started dabbling in voice acting which got me in touch with a casting director who liked my work ethic and gave me some one-off jobs helping him with casting. He then passed me over to his friend at Disney Studios a year later when I was looking for a winter job my senior year in college. 

She gave me temp work helping mock up a website for a project she was working on (which I was able to do because of the education I was getting on the subject at Northridge). 

That web project didn't end up going anywhere but Gena loved my attitude and when I graduated she lobbied hard for my hire when I applied to the programming department at Disney XD. Her support coupled with the network's interest in my YouTube programming experience, animation internship and multimedia degree sealed the deal for me.  

It just goes to show you that if you stay active and pick up new experiences related to what you want to do, you never know when one (or all) of those time investments is going to get you your next break down the road. 

Words of wisdom:
Learn Microsoft Excel and how to make kick butt Power Point and Keynote presentations (the professional world seems to run on these things). Once you've done that, pat yourself on the back for picking multimedia as your specialization. The industry is obsessed with new media trends and youth who are savvy on the subject. Walk into an interview talking about YouTube, Instagram, micro-content and engaging audiences outside of the traditional linear television scape and count yourself hired. 

Also, if you're anything like me, be ready to make a ton of mistakes. 

Also Lynda.com (free to CSUN students throughlynda.csun.edu) is a great way to help take what you learn in your courses to the next level as well as pick up skills on the fringes of your curriculum.  It saved me countless times. 

And lastly (I promise this is my final point) don't be afraid to reach out to people you have a point of contact with. Whether it's a professor you drop a note to when you need advice on where to get an internship or even dropping a thank you email to the secretary of a big wig film maker who inspired you after giving a panel at a convention, you never know what can come from reaching out to others. 

[posted 10.03.2016] | View more ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS