Series Blog

How Procrastination Can Lead to a Job...

If you had asked me in 2006 where I saw myself in seven years, I wouldn't have said "working for a television history series". 

In 2006, I was a student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, majoring in nutrition science with the goal of becoming a registered dietitian. That summer, I was taking the first of two Organic Chemistry classes I would have to take to complete my degree. 

During extended periods of procrastination - which were frequent - I would go to the local video rental store and scan the documentary aisle for anything that would further distract me from my studies. One day I came across American Experience's "The Kennedys". I didn't know much about the Kennedy family aside from what was taught in school and what I had read in People Magazine, so I decided to rent it.

I sat through all four hours, riveted by the history of the family and the personal stories told by close friends and colleagues. The use of the family's home movies showed happy, leisurely moments that added a human element to this iconic American family. I also enjoyed watching young JFK trying to make the most of television in outtakes from his 1952 senate campaign commercials. I watched the film a few more times before I returned it and loved it so much that I eventually bought the DVD. 

At the end of that summer, I decided to leave the University of Arizona and take a year off to figure out what I wanted to do. I ended up in Boston, studying film at Suffolk University -- a minor deviation from my original plan! I landed an internship with American Experience, and was hired as a research assistant after I graduated. I have worked for American Experience ever since.

A year ago, our series manager asked me if I would be interested in being the production assistant for a biographical documentary being produced here in our office (most of our films are produced by small outside production companies). He described the details of the job and everything it would entail, and I said "yes." Only later did I think to ask the subject of the biography; it turned out to be an in-depth biography of JFK.

Now I find myself screening footage for our film that was used in "The Kennedys" and smiling when I see familiar shots. I can still remember sitting on my bed, chemistry textbooks strewn around me, eyes glued to the television screen.

 In a way, "The Kennedys" changed my life. That is why it is my favorite American Experience film.

Lauren Noyes is the Production Coordinator for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and is an Associate Producer for our upcoming film "JFK," premiering November 11 & 12 on PBS.

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