A top New York arts and entertainment industry advertising agency, Spotco, reached out to a place "four hours from the middle of nowhere" to get a design intern from Fort Hays State University.
"He asked where I was from," said Michael Miller, Chanute junior and a graphic design major. "I told him, four hours from the middle of nowhere."
"He" was an interviewer from Spotco, interviewing via Skype. Miller had to resort to Skype when a snow storm left him without a way to get to an airport.
"The graphic design program here at Fort Hays has really prepared me for this internship," said Miller. The design instructors at FHSU are Karrie Simpson Voth and Chaiwat Thumsjarit, both of whom are professors of art and design.
Spotco advertises for plays and productions on Broadway, including such productions as "Rent," "Chicago: The Musical," "The King's Speech," "Billy Elliot: The Musical" and many others.
Miller found out about the internship by pure chance. He follows the work of Dana Tanamachi, an artist who specializes in hand-lettered typography, on Twitter and found that she had worked at Spotco. On a trip to the company's website, Miller saw an opening for an internship. He sent them a link to his online portfolio on a Saturday and by Monday, he had landed an interview.
As an intern, Miller will take different artists' work and turning it into compositions for posters. These posters will then be used to promote Broadway plays and productions.
"The Broadway shows and ideas the designers have to come up with caught my eye," said Miller.
The internship opportunity is not Miller's first experience as a graphic artist in New York City. In summer 2008, he entered a design contest with Carnegie Hall, and his entry was chosen to be the cover for the program that September. For that, he won $500 and two tickets to a show at Carnegie Hall.
When he was interviewing with Spotco, the interviewer asked him different basic questions such as how proficient he was in different programs. Miller was one of many to apply for one position.
"They don't normally look out of New York for interns," Miller said.
Miller said the Spotco interviewer told him, "Your portfolio is not like any others we have seen. We're impressed with the amount and the quality of your work. If we were looking for a junior designer, this is exactly what we would be looking for."
After the internship, Miller knows exactly what he will do. "I'm going to get my degree at FHSU and then go right back. This internship will help build important connections and network in New York City. I'll have a foot in the door and a better chance at getting a job," he said.