When Liberty University graduate student Amanda Jacobsen accepted an internship with Leftfield Pictures in New York City in March, she never imagined that she would end up working in casting.
Looking back on a summer of work in the company’s casting department, Jacobsen recalled the set of circumstances that led to her eye-opening opportunity to work with shows such as Pawn Stars, American Restoration and Counting Cars, among others.
“It was random,” Jacobsen said. “I had messaged my coordinator and said, ‘I don’t have anything to do today.’ He goes, ‘Okay, casting needs help.’ Eight weeks later, I was still working in casting. They really liked me, and they said I’m just really good at what they needed.”
She soon found that her new assignment allowed her to use her ability to make connections with people to her advantage when casting for shows.
“Before I got picked to work in casting, I was just doing different jobs like making character boards, running errands, things like that,” Jacobsen said. “So it was really like a God thing that I was chosen to work in casting, because I wasn’t doing typical intern stuff.”
Leftfield Pictures works on producing reality television, and according to its website, the company has produced 15 pilots in its history, all of which were made into full-fledged television shows. Jacobsen’s background in television made it a perfect fit.
Majoring in television broadcasting while she pursued her undergraduate degree in communications, Jacobsen worked for Option LU, a television show put together by students with the help of graduate assistants. She now co-produces the show as a graduate assistant while she works toward her master’s in media and communication.
“Amanda has shown considerable skill in the producing end of the business — that is, the logistical and organizational side of production,” Liberty Professor Carey Martin, who has had Jacobsen as a student for multiple classes and who also serves as the chairman for her thesis, said. “(She) is a hard-working, outgoing, and creative student.”
According to Jacobsen, she met a television casting producer at a get-together with friends eight months ago, and her new acquaintance encouraged her to apply for an internship at Leftfield Pictures.
“It was just funny how everything worked out,” Jacobsen said. “If I had moved to California this summer, it would have been tough to write a thesis, (and) see people I
As Jacobsen watched the events of the summer unfolded, she reflected on the path she almost chose in school and how it would have changed her future.
“Honestly, I thought I was going to be a business major,” Jacobsen said.
“I really just didn’t know what direction I wanted God to take me. I’ve always had (a) vision of grandeur types of things. And I said, ‘Well, what’s the next best thing? It has to be doing broadcast.’ Once I started taking classes, I was like, ‘This is it. This is for me.’”
Jacobsen had another brush with the entertainment industry when her father met a location director for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” After exploring the possibility of an internship on the set of the movie, she eagerly accepted the chance to just work as an extra.
She will graduate in December, but Jacobsen said she still leaves the door open for wherever God chooses to lead her. Whatever it is, chances are it will probably come straight out of left field.