Western Carolina University senior Erin Wagoner spent her summer internship getting the dirt on dirty jobs for Discovery Channel show “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe,” and two ideas she researched were filmed and aired Dec. 22.
The Emmy-nominated show documents Rowe’s travels across the country working as an apprentice on jobs that most people would go out of their way to avoid, from coal mining to sheep castrating. His goal is to celebrate and honor the people who do those jobs every day.
As a research intern with Pilgrim Films and Television for 10 weeks in Los Angeles, Wagoner would sit in with the show’s story team and was involved in pitch meetings. She would spend up to two and a half hours conducting phone interviews to prepare one detailed report of a possible job to be featured, the people and personalities involved, and other logistics.
“I got really lucky that two of the stories I pitched were filmed,” said Wagoner, a motion picture and television production major and Honors College student from Archdale. “This internship really enforced how much I love creating and telling stories.”
Although Wagoner cannot reveal the names of the segments in the episodes she proposed, she hinted that one involves an unusual worm harvesting ritual and the other has to do with clams.
“I learned it is really important to get to know people because it’s when they get comfortable with you that you get to hear their emotions, their humor and their personality,” said Wagoner. She also said she took from the internship great advice from the many people in the film industry she had the opportunity to meet.
Wagoner applied for the internship after Jack Sholder, director of the motion picture and television production program at WCU, told her about the opportunity.
“Erin came away with a real understanding of what the business is all about,” said Sholder.
“Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” airs on the Discovery Channel on Tuesdays at 9 p.m.