UC film and media studies grad finds home in regional theater

Internship, coursework lead to content marketing role at Playhouse in the Park

Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to find your true passion. University of Cincinnati alumna Deja Shanks took a second swing at her path and found a professional home near the footlights and greasepaint at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

Shanks originally received her associate degree in communications at UC Blue Ash in 2015. After pursuing a few passionless career paths, she decided to go back to school, graduating with her bachelor’s degree in film and media studies through UC’s College of Arts and Sciences.

UC film and media studies graduate Deja Shanks

UC film and media studies graduate Deja Shanks

Having an instinct that she wanted to pursue a career in the arts, Shanks tailored her studies to film editing and production. After graduating, she started work with the Playhouse in January of 2022.

“So far, my favorite production has been ‘Steel Magnolias,’ because it was the first time I got to interact with the actors and creative teams for the Playhouse,” she says.

“Part of my job revolves around reaching out to cast and crew to collect headshot and bio information, as well as organizing information for our programs. I also got to film my first dress rehearsal for ‘Steel Magnolias,’ which was so fun for me.”

As a content marketing associate for the Playhouse, Shanks films and edits productions, facilitates content for their programs, participates in script reads and keeps the website content updated.

Working with the Playhouse in Cincinnati’s Mt. Adams — which has served up award-winning theater to the community since 1960 — is a dream role, says Shanks. And she credits her classes at A&S for helping her land it, in particular Introduction to Film Editing. Through this course, she says, she learned the core editing skills she needed for film.

Having that hands-on experience ... was just what I needed for someone like me with zero experience in the field.

Deja Shanks, UC grad, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park content marketer

“Because of that course, one of my primary jobs at the Playhouse is editing production trailers and b-roll footage for the organization — something I wouldn’t have had any clue on how to do if it wasn’t for me taking the course,” she says.

Students who pursue film and media studies through A&S are required to take a Film and Media Studies Internship course to prepare them for careers. Shanks landed an internship with Cindependent Film Festival, a hub for independent filmmakers to pursue their ambitions with film, using the resources Cindependent provides for them.

“A benefit that was extremely helpful to me was my internship with Cindependent Film Festival,” says Shanks. “Having that hands-on experience with coordinating virtual screenplay readings and helping set up neighborhood film screenings was just what I needed for someone like me who had zero experience with the field. I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to work for the Playhouse and am excited for where it takes me next.”

Featured image at top: Lights shine on a theater stage. Credit: Bigter Choi for Pixabay.

Headshot of By Hayley Garr

By Hayley Garr

Student Journalist, Marketing and Communication, College of Arts and Sciences


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