Listen to the interview (approx. 49 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2008 with a degree in Music Production and Engineering. Principal Instrument: Voice.
Position: Production Assistant for the Costume Designer at Marvel Studios. Priya deals with “digital assets” — computer images of what the costume will look like. Priya does admin/communications-work to get the right custom materials for the costumes. And fetches lunches and does whatever the lead costumer asks her to do. Priya works in (non-union) contract-based positions, so switches exact job descriptions and even employers on a semi-regular basis.
Priya also has a side job as an Interior Designer (self-employed).
Overview: After graduation, Priya moved to L.A. and worked as a singer for Interscope Records, working some side jobs (dog-walker, personal assistant) to make ends meet. By 2012, she was unhappy with her situation–the odd hours, the difficulty getting paid–and decided to switch careers while staying in L.A. and continuing to work. After exploring options, she enrolled at FIDM ( Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising ) to get her Associates Degree (AA) in Visual Communications. She did several interesting internships during her year-long program, discovering what she did and did not like to do. Just after graduating in 2015, Priya did the flowers from a friend’s wedding, and a costume designer, a wedding guest, was impressed. She contacted Priya several days later and offered Priya her first production assistant job! Hard, high quality work there has led to other opportunities in the industry.
You can see Priya’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “I like being on my toes and how different each day is from the previous. I like making things and watching these costumes being built is really exciting!”
“Most classmates at FIDM were 17 or 18, and I was there as a 27-year-old. At first I was embarrassed, but I actually found it to be a huge asset, because I had life experience and to be a successful artist you have to really know yourself–something a lot of younger folks have trouble with.”
“Whatever you’re doing, work really hard and do an amazing job. You never know who’s watching! Show people you can pay attention to the little things and they’ll trust you not to mess up big things.”
“If you’re unhappy, you need to change things–they’re not going to change on their own! Take every opportunity & side job you can.”
See the full index of Successful Berklee Grads.
Priya as a Berklee student, working in the studio. “Nearly all of my current job is troubleshooting, just like MP&E. I’m using the same part of my brain. Learning the technical stuff and being able to apply it was empowering–I have confidence and know what I’m doing.”
Priya with Conan O’Brien, where she interned in 2014. “There has been a tremendous amount of luck with my path. I got the Conan internship because as I was on the computer searching for jobs a friend called her and said his girlfriend’s roommate worked there. He got her to pass in my resume.”
Priya at work, doing what she loves. “Growing up, my favorite show was Batman, the Animated Series. Recently at my job I got to say ‘OK everyone I’m returning the Batcape now!'”
Priya plans to work her way up, but she’s in a good place. “I still get called by studios, but now it’s not about music but about visuals–my interior design side job.
My first interior design job was for Dr. Dre. I designed a room in the studio for him, and he was so impressed that he had me design his entire house!”