Get to Know the Special Events Committee
It’s hard to meet a more cool, calm and collected producer than Jennifer Wollan, NYWIFT’s Vice President of Special Events. Her committee is responsible for pulling off the most glamorous gatherings on this organization’s calendar.
By day, Wollan is President/Executive Producer of Reel Biography, a video production company specializing in bringing a documentary sensibility to corporate videos, not-for-profit fundraising videos and personal tribute reels. In addition, she is an editor for Good Morning America and, over the years, has cut for AMC, PBS and The Montel Williams Show. She has also served as the visual effects editor for several feature films, including Die Hard With a Vengeance and Eraser. She jump started this illustrious career with an internship in the NYWIFT office.
Recently, Wollan discussed the Special Events committee with Janet Stilson, NYWIFT’s VP of Special Events.
What are the events that your committee organizes?
The Special Events Committee organizes the annual Muse Awards gala in December and the Designing Women party, honoring costume designers, hair stylists and makeup artists, in the Spring.
I know you've been involved with the committee for several years. What do you personally gain from it?
It is rewarding for me on so many levels. It’s a great feeling to see the fruits of our labor at two terrific events that are not only fun and inspiring, but that also help generate the funds for the year’s programming. I’ve made many friends, as well as business contacts. I’ve gotten jobs through my committee friends, and find the response to the clip reels I edit for the events very gratifying. Few below-the-line people realize how advantageous it can be to work on a committee surrounded by producers.
What kind of work does your committee do?
Tasks that are distributed among committee members, including supervising volunteers on the day of an event, screening films for clip reels, soliciting items for gift bags, contacting potential honorees, assisting with the creation of signs, coordinating and assisting on day-of-event transportation, and assisting with the technical aspects of event production.
What are the key months – when committee members work longer hours to put together events – and how much time is involved?
From September to December we plan the Muse gala, with about six meetings occurring during that time. There is a similar schedule from February to June for Designing Women. The investment of time outside of meetings depends on what responsibilities one takes on. It is generally no more than a couple of hours per week, with the exception of a few key positions.
Do I need to have a certain type of experience or particular networking capabilities to be of use to the committee?
Certain capabilities are advantageous—for example PR experience, editing skills, or direct access to potential Muse honorees, but the only requirement is a positive attitude and the ability to work and play well with others.
Jennifer Wollan stepped down as head of the special events committee when her board term ended, but she is still a much valued and active member of the group. If you'd like to find out more about the special events committee, please contact its current head, Janet Stilson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: Mar. 15, 2011