For East Carolina University alumna Ashley Crossan, that was the mindset when she wanted to become a part of the entertainment news industry. This mindset, paired with some risk taking and her time at ECU, has helped this outgoing Pirate achieve the career she had always envisioned.
“My journey began on an impulsive decision to jump in a car with a friend and drive cross-country to Los Angeles,” said Crossan, who graduated in 2011. “I had the dream of making my way into the entertainment news industry, so I went for it. After two months of applying, I got a call from Entertainment Tonight to work as a night-shift PA.”
Since then Crossan has only gone up. She is now a producer for Entertainment Tonight as well as a host for ETonline. She has covered events such as the San Diego Comic Con and even interviewed movie stars like John Boyega, who played Finn in the box office hit “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
“I’ve been a Star Wars fan my entire life, so getting the opportunity to cover that movie in any capacity was such a dream come true,” said Crossan. “My favorite moment [of Comic Con] was during the Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel, director J.J. Abrams surprised all the fans with a John Williams-themed concert outside. They handed out light sabers to everyone and played Star Wars scores into the night!”
As producer and host, Crossan’s responsibilities are constantly changing. From writing multiple video scripts to conducting on-camera interviews, no one day is the same. Crossan credits ECU and the School of Communication’s multi-faceted approach to education for helping her prepare for the hectic demands of her job.
“The great thing about the School of Communication at ECU is the push to wearing many different hats and trying out an array of classes,” said Crossan. “You may not want to be an editor, writer, or a public relations specialist, but it’s good to know every facet of the industry so you can understand how these areas work.”
For fellow Pirates interested in her line of work, Crossan shared some advice on how to create a good interview.
“Everyone gets nervous [interviewing people]. When you’re nervous, you tend to focus on what you’re going to say next, rather than listening to your subject and being in the moment,” said Crossan. “When you’re comfortable, focused and just having a conversation with someone there’s a good chance you’ll pick up on something that will lead to an unexpectedly great story.”
She also stressed the importance of reaching out and networking with other professionals.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with people,” said Crossan. “It’s something people are afraid to do, but they shouldn’t be! I will never turn down an opportunity to give some advice or at least look at their resume and give feedback. Most people feel the same way.”
By Michael Avila