BSM alum is a creative mind in the television industry

Twelve  years ago, Dannah Shinder was a student at BSM; a member of the speech team, the Editor-in-Chief of the Knight Errant, and a cross-country skier. Today, Shinder is in Hollywood, working as the Manager of Creative Affairs for Sony.

As Manager of Creative Affairs, Shinder has many different responsibilities. She does everything from finding stories to adapt into TV shows and buying scripts from writers to coordinating communication between writers and directors to working with marketing to promote a series. “It is a unique hybrid position that is atypical in the industry,” said Shinder.

It’s a business that relies on networking, and those relationships you build will be important as you make your entry into the working world.”

— Dana Shinder

Because of the many tasks that make up her job, there is no such thing as a typical day for Shinder. Recently, Shinder worked on production of many TV shows from multiple different networks, including Men At Work (TBS), Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime), Bad Teacher (CBS), and more.

To further understand Shinder’s unique role in the television industry, it’s important to know Hollywood’s process of developing TV shows. In Shinder’s case, Sony commissions writers to create a show, produces the show, and lastly sells the final product to a network, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and even Netflix. According to Shinder, “the studio is sort of the behind-the-scenes producer, while the network provides the platform for audiences to see the show.”

After BSM, Shinder attended Northwestern University, where she double-majored in English Literature and Film. At Northwestern, Shinder had no idea what she wanted to major in, and initially decided on a career in publishing books. Although she credits English courses at BSM for inspiring her love for storytelling and narrative analysis, it wasn’t until her junior year of studies at Northwestern that she realized that she wanted to work in film. “I took a History of Film course my junior year of college at Northwestern that piqued my interest in film and television,” said Shinder.

While in college, Shinder interned at the Chicago Film Festival. Post-graduation, she worked for a talent agency in New York, the William Morris Agency. “An agency is a great way to break into Hollywood,” says Shinder of her time working at William Morris Agency.

As for students looking to work in film or television, Shinder suggests watching and studying movies and TV shows along with the people that created them. She also recommends looking for internships, ideally in Los Angeles: “It’s a business that relies on networking, and those relationships you build will be important as you make your entry into the working world.” Most of Shinder’s success, however, she credits to her passion and persistence.