Spotlight on Humanities Alumni: Ben Epstein
Education: BA (Film Studies & Political Science)
Current city/state of residence: NYC, NY
Job Title: Producer, American Pickers
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
I was offered a great financial aid package.
When and how did you choose your major?
I started as a Political Science major, and then started taking Film Studies Courses. Eventually I decided that the two compliment each other well and eventually chose to complete both as a double major.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
Getting a foothold in my chosen field of Film and Television wasn’t easy. Through an alumni connection I eventually found work as an intern on music videos and commercials, which led to paid work as a PA.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
I’m a freelance TV Producer, Director and Writer for non-fiction cable networks. I currently work on American Pickers for History. After working on music videos and commercials, I realized that I’d rather work in a format that involved more substance and storytelling. In 2000 I transitioned to documentary TV production and have since produced, written and directed a wide variety of cable programming for major basic cable networks.
What advice do you have for current students?
Pick a clear career goal and study the dynamics of your chosen industry. Don’t assume it will be easy to attain or that you will find an easy path to the top. There are few shortcuts in real life, but through hard work and by paying your dues, you can get there.