Rhiannon Rickard Sinks Teeth into Summer Internship

Rhiannon Rickard standing with ZombiesBroadcast & Digital Media student Rhiannon Rickard sinks her teeth into "Z Nation" internship

By Micki Panttaja

Entry-level jobs can be pretty gruesome.
For University of Idaho broadcast and digital media student Rhiannon Rickard, her summer internship doesn’t feel like a horror show – it is one.

Working as an assistant on Syfy Channel’s upcoming “Z Nation,” Rickard is a getting a taste for what it takes to produce a television series about a group of people who set out on a cross-country trip to save America from flesh-eating zombies. A 13-episode action-horror series being shot in Spokane, Washington, “Z Nation,” is being produced by Syfy veteran production company The Asylum.

Rickard, who was active in Christian Youth Theatre while growing up in Rathdrum, Idaho, found out about the project from the mother of one of her theatre friends.

“She was working with North by Northwest (a local digital studio) to help cast extras for show back in April, and she knew I was interested in doing this sort of thing, and told me I should send them my resume,” Rickard says. “I did, and then Mary Russell, who is now my boss, called and we talked. At the end of the conversation she said, ’When can you start?’ And my first day was the Monday after finals week.”

Since then Rickard has been going non-stop doing a variety of tasks, from making copies of scripts and picking people up at the airport to shopping for props and helping out in the art department.

“It’s something new every day,” says Rickard. “I like doing things that I’ve never done before. It keeps you on your toes.”

Rickard says the film production coursework she has taken at UI has really benefited her.

“I already understood the basic terminology and what I learned in JAMM 275 - Intro to Production, has helped me to relate to work that the editors and crew do.”

Rickard will have an opportunity to apply what she has learned during her internship during the 2014-2015 academic year. She will be taking more production courses in the fall, and come spring semester she will be writing, producing and directing her own film that will culminate in a public showing as part of the annual Kino Short Film Festival, which highlights UI student filmmakers.

“I’m really so excited. I’m leaning toward doing a drama – but that’s subject to change.”

Rickard, a junior, say that after graduation she hopes to move to New York City and work in film or television.

“There are so many things to try. I want to try them all – producing, directing. I want to learn about all of the positions and everything that is needed. It’s kind of like college. You start out in one major, but it can change. It’s its own journey.”

But for now she’s focused on doing her job, learning all she can and enjoying having the “coolest” internship amongst all of her fellow UI filmmaking friends.

“The show is shooting through mid-September, but I have to go back to school in August, so that’s when my job ends. But I’m hoping I can come back for the last day. I really want to be here for that.”