January 2017 Family Newsletter

The Long Haul

Dear Spiders Family,

Happy New Year! As we begin 2017, we see potential as one Spider graduates, three Spiders head abroad, and our alumni continue to pursue great things. And to top everything off, Syracuse University has a brand new website to keep us busy. Our Spiders never stop spinning webs. 

Catch up with our recent graduates in “Where are they now?” and find out what Mary Manchin ’15 has to say about her career on set of Supernatural. They have some great advice for current Spiders. 

Finally, Gizem Bayhan shares her post-graduation plans in “Laying the Foundation” and looks back at the many power naps, cups of coffee, and projects it took to get a graduate degree in architecture. 

Although the days are getting shorter and colder, we hope you stay warm and healthy in the winter months ahead. And don’t forget to check out our Netflix Watchlist of binge-worthy TV series for the upcoming snow days.

Please enjoy the January edition of the Spiders Family Newsletter! 

Best,
Kirsty Fraser


Where Are They Now?

See what our recent grads have to say about their new jobs, and advice they have for current Spiders!

Chad Johnson | Water and Environmental Engineer, GHD

Colleen Linn | Employment Specialist, CYO Refugee Center

Kate Percevault | Graphic Designer, Chase Design


Alumni Spotlight

Mary Manchin

For the January newsletter, we caught up with Mary Manchin ’15 who is now working as a post production coordinator for the hit show Supernatural at Warner Brothers.

Bingeing 11 seasons of Supernatural was not what Mary envisioned when she started her job on set of the show in Hollywood. Hired as a post production assistant in January 2016 without watching a single episode, she had a lot of catching up to do.

Promoted to post production coordinator a few months later, Mary now has a great deal of responsibilities that impact the day-to-day running of the show. She works with the show executive, composers, and sound mixers for the automated dialogue replacement (ADR) on the rough cut of each episode. ADR usually involves voiceovers or the replacement of lines. Mary has a hand in a little bit of everything, and she also deals with invoices and manages editors and assistant editors.

Scheduling cast members to do ADR is often challenging, she explains, because if they are in another state or country, she has to find a way to bring them to a soundstage to do their lines, and then make sure they redo them correctly. “The whole thing is that you have to improvise, and if something goes wrong you’ve got to know how to deal with it,” Mary said. “It’s all about time management because it can get ridiculous.”

Mary is one of the final people to watch a Supernatural episode to ensure there are no issues before it goes on air. “I don’t watch it live,” Mary said. “At this point, I’ve seen the episode at least 16 times and I’m over it. I can recite all their lines!”

Mary loves her job at Warner Brothers, describing it as a family, and believes she wouldn’t be where she is now without Spiders. The experience she gained as a graphic designer gave her a leg up in the industry and a creative outlet when she was initially unsure on her major at Syracuse University or her future career path.

A computer art and animation major, Mary joined Spiders her freshman year and was the first Spider to work for the full four years of her undergrad career. Drawn to graphic design, she worked on designing websites, logos, and applications.

In addition to her work at Spiders, Mary represented Syracuse University at film festivals, including Sundance and Cannes. She was one of 25 people in the world selected to attend the Cannes Film Festival in May 2015, and there she was able to use an application she had designed at Spiders to showcase her portfolio. Mary received a dozen job offers, ultimately leading to her first job as a junior VFX artist at Mad Old Nut Productions in Hollywood. Through making connections on the sets of shows including The Walking Dead, Damien, and Arrow, Mary then moved on to Supernatural.

For only being out in Hollywood for a year and a half, Mary has already made a name for herself in the industry on one of Warner Brothers’ longest running shows. Further in her career, Mary would like to see herself at a producer level.

Mary’s advice for Spiders?

“Work hard, yet socialize. I would not be where I am if I didn’t push myself out of my comfort zone,” Mary said. “Making connections will help you, it’s awesome to have friends in different places.” 


Binge Your Heart Out

Take a peek at our Netflix recommendations. We know you’ll get addicted.

Netlifx list

Jez Sabaduquia on Parks and Recreation:

Parks and Recreation is literally heaven’s gift to the Earth. Just get past the slow start which is Season 1, and it really picks up shortly in Season 2. It’s all short 22-minute episodes, light, funny, and just pure happiness in an episode.

Erin Elliott on Firefly:

If you haven’t watched Firefly yet, you need to. The space western is arguably one of the greatest Sci-Fi shows created, and its unjust cancellation after only three months has made it into a cult classic. Written by Joss Whedon, the show explores a crew making a living on the fringes of a society at civil war through the pioneer culture at the edges of the star system. If you like Sci-Fi, you won’t just want to binge it, you’ll want to watch it over and over and cry because there will never be a second season.

Connie Flores on Peaky Blinders:

Peaky Blinders is an amazing, action-packed show that you probably won’t be able to take your eyes off and that you can probably finish in a week or so. Or, if you’re like me, in three days.

Jeremy Dennen on The X-files:

The X-files is one of those shows where no matter how out of date the special effects may be (which were still pretty darn good for the mid 90s), the plot lines and stories themselves really pull you in and get you thinking about what truth might actually still be out there… 

Monica Rexach on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

Buffy is my go-to show to watch while doing homework. It’s a classic show that I can easily play in the background. Although a cliché in the first and second seasons, it’s witty and funny, and the writing definitely improves as episodes go on.

Megan Elliott on Scrubs:

Scrubs is of course already a well known and still wildly popular series, and sometimes it’s nice to fall back into the warm comforting embrace of early 2000’s humor. Devastatingly clever, always funny, and surprisingly medically accurate, Scrubs is the one to binge when you need to cheer yourself up. Also to note, an actual surgeon in my family has seen many medical shows and swears Scrubs is the most accurate representation of actual life in a hospital.


Laying the Foundation

Gizem Bayhan, a graduate student studying architecture from İzmir, Turkey, has been working at Spiders as a graphic designer since 2013. After graduating this past December, she reflects on her time at Spiders and Syracuse University, and looks at her career path ahead.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in architecture from the İzmir Institute of Technology and studying a year abroad at the Polytechnic Institute of Bari, Gizem decided to pursue graduate education in the U.S.

Drawn to Syracuse because of its reputable architecture program, she wanted to earn her master’s degree in architecture while experiencing American culture. Moving to Syracuse was a culture shock for her, everything down to the brief American greetings, but she soon adjusted and it became her home away from home.

The architecture program at Syracuse is known to be a challenge for its undergraduate students, and graduate-level courses are no exception. The lowest grade you can get to do well in the program is a B-, and even then, Gizem describes it as the “danger zone.”

Studio classes are especially difficult as they go beyond just designing a library or skyscraper; depending on the social and political context, there are different theories, philosophies, sociologies, and psychologies to consider. A library designed in Syracuse should look nothing like one constructed in Rome.

“In a studio class, you need to be creative,” Gizem says. “It’s not, ‘you work these hours and do a good job.’ You can work for days and days, and still get nothing.” Although it’s lot of work and power naps between all-nighters, Gizem wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the whirlwind of all her classes, she knew she could always come to Spiders and take a breather from the stress. She will miss Spiders because it gave her the opportunity to learn the intricacies of 3-D modeling and rendering programs, like Rhino, VRay, and Maya. Gizem will also miss the occasional food in the breakroom, but not so much the coffee!

In regard to her advice for Spiders, she is a firm believer that sleep makes everything look better. School is important, Gizem says, but it’s good to take a step back and “sleep, eat, and have fun.”

Her primary plan for after graduation is to find work at one her of favorite firms, hopefully in New York City, and lay the foundation of her career from there. Her long-term ambition is to set up her own studio where she can do her own work and research, and focus on smaller-scale projects, like housing.

Before following this dream, Gizem wants to work at a few more firms so she can cement and appreciate her own style. Time and experience are key to understanding her inner architect’s identity.

“I have my own style, but it’s not done yet,” Gizem says. “I need some more time to say, ‘this is my style and this is how I work.’ I have learned a lot, but I still need to digest it all!”

Spiders wishes Gizem the best of luck in her future endeavors!


Overheard in the Office

“I’m going to look at pictures of the Obama family and sulk.” – Ellie Haines

“I can eat pumpkin for every day of my life.” – Sam Perkins