Maya Mariner ’15 is exploring the world behind the camera as a production assistant for the satirical publication The Onion. Mariner, a creative writing and cinema studies major, is taking the opportunity to learn not just about the technical side of film production, but also the creative process and how to work through it with a team.
She says one of the best parts of the job are the people with whom she interacts. “I really enjoy the people I work with on set. Everyone is really friendly and outgoing, and I love watching people in their element. I learn a lot from them about the Chicago film industry, and they are just all around good people. They work really hard.”
In addition to the talent behind the camera, Mariner has also had the opportunity to work with the actors and performers in the shorts. Recently, she was able to interact with Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson on a shoot for Intel with The Onion’s in-house ad agency. She says she liked working with Thompson, and while it was a busy shoot, she enjoyed being part of the process. “I basically became a runner for the production coordinator and the producer, and throughout the set I did pretty much everything. I steamed Kenan's shirts, I worked with the second assistant director to get contracts from the talent and cast, and I worked with craft services. I ran around a lot for two 12-hour days, but I had fun!” she says.
At Oberlin, Mariner was treasurer of the Oberlin Film Series and a member of the sketch comedy group Piscapo’s Arm. She also co-hosted Chicks Dig Flicks, a podcast hosted by Oberlin cinema studies majors that reviewed recently released films.
Looking to the future, Mariner says she would like to continue to learn about pre-production and move into the more creative aspects of the film industry, including writing and directing.