When more than 20 million people tuned in around the world to watch the 74th annual Golden Globes Awards on the first weekend of January, few of them knew the role two California State University, Northridge students played in making sure the broadcast was a success.
Two weeks before celebrities hit the red carpet, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a group of international journalists who produce the Golden Globes, made a specific request for CSUN cinema and television arts (CTVA) professor Nate Thomas.
“I got a call from the Foreign Press saying they needed two interns for the Golden Globes, and that they knew Cal State Northridge could do it,” Thomas said. “They said it was a big responsibility: the students would be responsible for sending out social media posts around the world. There are a lot of film schools the HFPA could have gone to, but they came to us because we have a relationship and they respect our students as hard workers.”
Thomas, head of the CSUN film production program, said the organization asked for two students who paid great attention to detail, had exceptional organizational skills and were “very mature.”
Thomas selected senior CTVA students Amanda Derzy and Amanda Nieto — who both stood out in his classroom — for the task.
“This internship was made for the two Amandas,” Thomas said. “Amanda Derzy is a straight-A student and someone who her peers look up to. When her classmates ask her for advice or a question about a lecture, that says something. Amanda Nieto is a top-notch student and someone who yearns to be in this business. She was also our first Hollywood Foreign Press Association Scholar.”
In January 2016, the HFPA awarded CSUN with $2 million to support students and enhance technology in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts. A portion of the gift went toward creating the HFPA scholars program in which students are mentored by CTVA faculty and industry professionals.
Five days before the Golden Globes, Derzy and Nieto began scripting, shooting, and editing promotional videos that were sent out on multiple social media outlets – a process Derzy said was made easier because of what she learned at CSUN.
“The HFPA told us ‘you guys are the social media people, so we need a video in an hour,’” she said. “A lot of things — like pacing and framing — are things we learned in the film program at CSUN.”
The pair also crafted pre-made “congratulations” messages for more than 120 different nominees in 24 different categories to post on the Golden Globes’ official Twitter account, which has nearly one million followers.
In addition to making sure all posts were free of spelling errors, the pair ensured each celebrity was properly tagged in every photo, a mistake previous non-CSUN student interns made last year.
“There was a lot of pressure on us this year to make everything went perfect — there are a lot of people [on social media] waiting to dog pile on you for any mistakes,” Derzy said. “There was a lot of triple checking, quadruple checking and then checking again.”
Nieto said the pair put in a lot of hard work in the days leading up to the show to ensure they were as prepared as possible.
“We needed to post graphics of each winner on social media within 30 seconds of the announcement, so we had to fact check every possible outcome beforehand,” Nieto said. “There was a lot of research we had to do leading up to the event, like making sure we had every nominee’s verified social media profile, so that we didn’t have to do it all during the show.”
The reality of what she was working on — the Golden Globes, one of the entertainment industry’s most talked-about award shows — did hit Derzy until she arrived at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the Golden Globe Awards have been held since 1961.
“It was mind-blowing, I didn’t believe it was happening until I arrived at the location and they handed me my badge with my name and picture on it,” Derzy said. “I arrived just when the red carpet was being rolled out.”
Shortly after the Golden Globe Awards ended, Thomas received phone calls from HFPA officials, applauding Derzy, Nieto and their work.
“What an amazing experience for these two women,” Thomas said. “When you’re hired for these type of internships, they respect you and expect you to do your job like you’re a full-time employee. We’ll definitely be hearing the two Amandas’ names later after they graduate.”