Diana Band ’09 – Former Associate Editor at HBO Digital & Social Media
Alumni Advisor Network Profile
Faced with the challenge of being an introvert in the realm of Hollywood, Diana Band ’09 shares her experience moving from publishing to interviewing Mick Jagger on the red carpet.
1. Can you describe what your job entailed?
I provided editorial support to the entire digital and social media team, writing and editing content that would appear on our digital platforms. Whether it was a microsite, writing an episode synopsis for HBO.com, or helping our social media marketers write copy for Facebook or Twitter, I would be with a show for its entire life cycle, helping to build promotional campaigns. I was also the HBO.com homepage editor for about two years, ensuring it was written in a consistent, on-brand voice.
2. How did your career path lead you to HBO?
I started out in book publishing, so the turn towards HBO was pretty unexpected. After two years at Penguin, the editorial director I assisted left for another company and my position was eliminated. Getting laid off was scary, but it was really a blessing in disguise. I wanted to do more writing, and when I was offered an opportunity to freelance for HBO, writing content for season five of True Blood on the recently launched HBO GO Interactive Viewing Experience, I jumped on it. A part-time contract position quickly turned full-time, and a year later, I was hired as staff. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything with an English degree—it’s simply not true.
3. What advice can you give to students who are looking to get involved in the industry?
Keep up with the industry by reading sites like Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and HitFix. Stay abreast of trends in social media. Storytelling in the digital age is really exciting, and it’s all about being innovative and ahead of the curve. If you’re a writer, start a blog or contribute to entertainment sites. A portfolio is essential. Also, look into internships and page programs at companies you’re interested in. Like anyone working today will tell you, networking is essential to landing the job you want.
4. What was the most enjoyable part of your job?
I loved getting to be one of the first people to learn where a new show or season was going, and to plan fun content around it. But the opportunity to exercise my creative muscles in the professional space and get paid to write was the real dream come true.
5. What aspect of your job was the most challenging or surprising?
In the beginning, it was interviewing talent. I’m an introvert, and having to call or meet up with famous people was very intimidating. But over time, I learned that it was something I was good at. By the time I left HBO, I’d done over 100 interviews—including Mick Jagger on the red carpet! Now I feel I can talk to just about anybody, anywhere, anytime. As a storyteller, learning the art of the interview has been a valuable tool.
6. What was your favorite HBO show to work on?
I really enjoyed writing episode synopses for Veep, as it meant highlighting the show’s bawdiest insults. On Girls, I loved interviewing the show’s crew, digging for behind-the-scenes tidbits to share with fans on the official show Tumblr. And Vinyl was a favorite because of the microsite, VinylCuts.NYC, our team built. Researching the 1970s New York City music scene and coming up with fresh content every week was a fun and interesting challenge.