English and Theatre major Xavier Aleman ’20 is gaining professional writing experience at his internship with Hudson Mohawk Magazine, a local news and public affairs radio program on WOOC 105.3 FM, and he’s participating in a directed study at the Theatre Institute at Sage, receiving one-on-one instruction in the craft of screenwriting and playwriting.
“At my internship, I set up the script for intros and conclusions to stories, research guests and draft live interview questions. I’m interviewing practitioners of traditional crafts, like brewing and blacksmithing, for Reclaiming History segments,” he said. In the directed study, he’s revising his original screenplay and even doing a little filming.
The internship and directed study complement each other, he said. “At the radio station, I’m learning how to get people to talk in great detail by asking the right questions. If I get a certain reaction in an interview, it helps me understand how I might get that reaction in a screenplay.”
He’s also experiencing the technical side of radio and theatre: at the station, he’s learned how to operate the mic and sound board, and after acting in a few Theatre Institute at Sage performances last year, he ran video projections for TIS’ productions of The Giver and Tribes this semester.
“Being part of the radio station is an awesome opportunity,” he continued. “I’m in touch with the Troy community in a way I hadn’t been able to be.” A highlight was one day when he arrived early to learn about engineering a show, and found his colleagues finishing up an interview with a person whose first language was Spanish. “There was a translator, but the interviewer asking the translator, the translator asking the subject, the subject responding to the translator, resulted in stilted interview,” explained Aleman, who is fluent in Spanish and was able to format the show so the listener hears the interview subject begin in his native language, then Xavier’s voiceover. “It was really awesome,” he said. “They were short one segment that day, and were able to use something I had worked on.”
“I’m writing every week and getting real feedback,” continued Aleman. “I’m learning so much in a short period.”