Alumna Q&A: editorial assistant Perrin Brown ’15

by Nalini Ramanathan | 9/15/16 12:00am


Perrin Brown '15 has a passion for film and media.

As a Dartmouth student, Perrin Brown ’15 interned for “Conan” and worked at an economics research firm. After graduation, she worked as a hospitality assistant at the Napa Valley Film Festival, as a marketing intern for a Los Angeles-based company and more recently, as an editorial assistant at Bodhi Tree, a spiritual online vendor startup. There, she hopes to grow and explore her interests, including film and media.

How did you get interested in the arts?

PB: I really liked acting when I was in middle school, so as a freshman — between doing a bunch of club sports — I auditioned for the MainStage at the time, which was called “Breaking E.D.E.N.” So I did that and took Acting 1 with professor Jamie Horton, which I loved. I continued sort of doing theater on the side, but also focused on Chinese, and went on the FSP that summer. And when I was off, I was at an internship at an economic research firm. I was reading The D, and I saw an article about the new Los Angeles film FSP program and sort of thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, I like film. I like studying film and media. I should take a class in this, immediately.” So I took my first film class which was [“Film History (1960-1990)”] with Mary Desjardins, fell in love with it, wrote an essay about the history of Disney, and then applied to the FSP, got in, and yeah, everything kind of fell into place after that. And I stayed pretty involved, as much as I could, throughout my time at Dartmouth, and minored in film.

Do you plan to integrate your Asian and Middle Eastern studies major into your work in the future?

PB: Right now I work at a vendor of spiritual books, and I’m learning about the history of different Asian spiritualities and religions in Asia. I’m complementing what I studied at Dartmouth with that and contributing factoids for our marketing team, as well as understanding our products and the books we’re selling.

Can you say more about this startup?

PB: It was a bookstore in Los Angeles called Bodhi Tree. It was founded in 1970 and closed in 2011. But it’s coming back online, and it’s expanding into not just selling books but also into offering online courses, live events, artisanal goods and various lifestyle products for your ceremonies, for your sanctuary, for sensuality. And there are spaces also used for live events to host authors and speakers and spiritual visionaries.

What’s your role at the startup?

PB: I’m an editorial assistant, so I help assign copy, I help editors in charge of assigning the future articles for our website. I help them do a little bit of research, and I help them think about how we’re going to market the articles when we do launch. And I also brainstorm ideas for articles for our website and also sort of give a millennial perspective.

Can you tell me more about your work at the Napa Valley Film Festival last fall?

PB: What was great about that festival was that it was accessible by providing some of the shorts filmmakers’ housing, so I helped coordinate all of the housing for the shorts filmmakers supported by the community. It was a really great experience because — I feel embarrassed — as a film minor I’d never been to a film festival nor had I been to Napa, so I thought, “Why not go and try this?”

Can you tell me a little bit more about your internship with Conan O’Brien during your study abroad?

PB: I was general production intern, but I also got to fill in for the control room as well as in clips and clearances. I got a really great opportunity to see what it’s like when you call a show, especially one that’s pre-taped, as well as seeing the overall breakdown in each show. And then in clips and clearances, I helped research various clips if an upcoming guest was coming up or if they needed to use certain clips to show on the show. But it was a really great gig because, obviously, I think Conan is one of the most talented late night talk show hosts out there, and it was really cool to see him after he spoke at Dartmouth at the 2011 commencement. And one of his pieces of advice that he said at that commencement that I’ve taken to heart ever since then, at Dartmouth and in real life, is “Work hard, be kind, and good things will happen.”

Obviously, there’s a lot of diversity in the jobs you’ve worked. What drives the type of jobs you choose?

PB: I think the biggest thing that influences the jobs I choose are the people that work there, especially having a strong female mentor. I’ve done a lot in still figuring out what I want to ultimately do, but with each different gig, I’ve learned from each of my mentors, understanding what it takes to get where they were and trying to emulate their strength and will, so to speak. It’s more trying to work with the right people to learn different skills. So through my marketing internship in Los Angeles, I learned a great deal about professionalism. In Napa, I learned a great deal about organization. And I think right now I’m learning a great deal about thinking outside the box and thinking in the context of spirituality.

Do you know what field you’d like to go into in the future?

PB: I’m still narrowing that down. It changes quite a bit, but I’m thinking new media, which means producing or helping contribute to online content or marketing to people through the internet. As my resume or as my experiences have indicated, I’m still figuring out what I want to do by trying a bunch of different things right now, because I really think it’s something you can continue to do out of Dartmouth.

What advice do you have for people who are interested in the arts?

PB: I say explore what you’re unfamiliar with, get off the beaten track a little bit. Explore other points of view. If you’ve done theater, maybe try film or try stage managing, try analyzing films, try a bunch of different parts of the arts. And if you do go off the beaten path, also keep in mind that everyone else is going off the beaten path and support them. I think that sometimes people forget that it’s sort of a two-way street. I’m always grateful for my friends who would test my board games for my game class at midnight on a Tuesday. And a bunch of my friends who majored in theater and the arts were really grateful for my presence at their senior shows. Again, take advantage of all the fantastic shows and films and artists that come through Dartmouth because they’re so accessible, and you won’t be able to as easily get to as many you can in the real world, unfortunately.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Correction appended: September 16, 2016

Brown worked as a marketing intern the summer after graduating from Dartmouth rather than during her time at the College, as the article previously stated.

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