Ryan Seacrest is My Role Model

 

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Grant White, SCOUT Media’s Assistant Producer, was an adolescent boy in a small, New York town in the early 2000s when he saw something he couldn’t forget.

White was sitting on his gingham couch, eating a TV dinner and watching the television. There was a charismatic man, in a sharp suit, holding a microphone speaking to a full audience of people, including the audiences across America. “This is American Idol,” said Ryan Seacrest, queuing the American Idol theme song.

“This image was permanently imprinted in my brain, and it would change my life forever,” White said. “From then on, I knew who I wanted to be. I wanted to be Ryan Seacrest, he was my role model.”

White, 23, is 6’5, weighs in at 260lbs and is as wide as a smart car. He has muscles attached to muscles, which peep out of his tight, white Hanes shirt. White also dons a sunglasses tan, which is much less tan and much more a burn.

As soon as White walked through the studio entrance, “Congrats man,” “how’d it go,” and “did she say yes,” interrupted every one of his conversations.

“I proposed to my girlfriend yesterday,” White said. Everyone gathered around White and pressed him for the details. He smiled, turned brighter than his sunburn and told everyone that they shouldn’t really care.

They cared.

Seven people gathered around White on the black couches in the studio’s den.

“Ok, it was perfect,” said White. White’s smile caused his eyes to squint, as his dry, peeling skin limited the mobility of his mouth.

“We went to Florida for the weekend. It was 78 degrees. I wanted to propose during the sunset on the beach. I told Lauren we were going to dinner and as soon as I heard, “I’m ready,” I took Lauren by the hand and ran out of our hotel room. Secretly, at the same time I was texting my sister,” said White. “I knew Lauren wouldn’t want to be proposed in front of a lot of people, so I texted my sister to hide on the beach with a camera. We were sitting in the sand and she said yes.” White was asked how he feels now and he said it’s like a weight off his shoulders; it was the best moment of his life.

White had all of his co-workers surrounding him, like a teacher reading a story to her third graders. As the story ended, his peers clapped and attempted to pick him up to bring him into the technical studio.

SCOUT is a branch of FOX Sports; a multi-channel, male-focused media network. SCOUT covers NFL, fantasy sports, college football/basketball, recruiting, outdoors and the military. Part of White’s responsibilities include posting multimedia content, editing or mixing audio, collating information for scripts, checking facts, answering phones, and lining up callers for the live taping.

In the technical studio, White works with three other men, which includes a director, technical director and producer.

“This morning is packed,” said White, looking through his Google Calendar. Days are predetermined, to make sure the people being interviewed are available. SCOUT hires specialists to provide insight on particular sports teams and related topics.

SCOUT’s segments resemble a mix between Sports Center on ESPN and a student-run news channel. The host, Amy Campbell, a blonde-bombshell, speaks to specialists on various teams or topics through Skype, while the technical director and director edit as the interview is occurring.

White said there was a huge budget cut at SCOUT, “the company was spending more money than they had.” There were 30 employees and now there are only five team members. “It’s pretty boring now. Sometimes I get to host, but I’m not in love with what I’m producing. I would really love to find another position. Entertainment is where I would really love to be. “

White studied at the University of Southern Florida. In his senior year, while playing division one Football, his journalism teacher recommended him to reach out to one of her previous students. “My teacher saw my potential and wanted me to succeed,” said White. White was recommended for an internship at The Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon and accepted. “I kept thinking of my end goal, Ryan Seacrest – Seacrest-izing. “ White was employed in remote field production.

White worked for two months on set, before an employee from the accounting department recommended White for a different position. This position was in New York and would give White the opportunity to  be one of the first interns at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “I attribute this to my faith,” said White as he gripped to his black, cross necklace. “I am not a very vain person, but I like to please people. I like to think that this is why I was given these two opportunities.”

After four months, White was offered a position at The Tonight Show as a freelance production assistant. “The best advice I can give when starting out in a career is to make connections and make sure people like you,” said White. “I can’t stress that enough.” White worked as a freelancer for eight months before being asked by employee at The Tonight Show to work for Access Hollywood.

“Access,” as White called it was his career Oscar. “I remember when I was a kid, watching Access Hollywood with my mom,” said White. “My mom would look at the men interviewing celebrities and say, ‘One day that will be you.’” White was hired by Access to be a production assistant.

White was enthralled to work for “Access;” it was a position he had only dreamt of. Though, there was one pivotal event that changed White’s view on the entertainment industry. “I was covering the [2015] MTV movie awards, a day after a photo went viral of an immigrant’s child washing up on the Greek Shore,” said White. “All of a sudden, the Kardashians were walking down the red carpet and the crowd went crazy.”

The Kardashians squashed White’s desire to remain in the entertainment industry. “I couldn’t believe that out of everything that is going on in our world, the Kardashians are what the youth care about,” said White. “I also didn’t care about covering Bruce Jenner’s transition anymore. If you want transition, that’s fine. But I don’t want to cover it.”

White was in a transitional period. He had to meditate and decide what would be his next move. It wasn’t too long before White remembered he loved sports. Though, White does not stay in one place for too long.

“I enjoy so many things, that is why freelancing positions are so great,” said White. “It’s so much fun to talk about politics, I love it, too.” On Tuesday, I meet with Yahoo News, but they don’t pay too much, so I’m not that excited.”

When asked what White’s dream job would be, he answered, “Something where I would be in front of a large, live audience, like American Idol. But with the same heart-warming feeling that Extreme Makeover, Home Edition produces. I want to help people, but remain in the spotlight, kind of like Oprah, but the Ryan Seacrest version. ”

 

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