Working by the stars in L.A.

Andrew Stewart
Andrew Stewart

(Courtesy Nebraska Alumni Association)

Most bosses will be happy to divulge that putting a smiley-face on a resume is unprofessional, witless and downright laughable. But it worked for Andrew Stewart, a recent University of Nebraska–Lincoln graduate and Los Angeles Reporter at Variety Magazine.

"I got a call back – and so here I am," Stewart said.

It wasn't quite that simple. Stewart spent his elementary school days in Murdock, Neb., grabbing lunch from a nice lady who happened to be the cousin of his current employer, Kirstin Wilder, also a UNL grad (Journalism, '89) and VP, Managing Editor, at Variety. A few years later, one of Stewart's university friends had dinner with Wilder in Los Angeles and casually mentioned that she had a friend interested in film and studying journalism. Three years after that, Stewart was done with classes and ready to pursue his dream of being a film critic with Variety.

"It's such a weird thing," Stewart said. "So many people spend their entire lives trying to get to where they want to be. And here I am: an ’08 UNL grad doing exactly what I want to do. That doesn't happen very often."

While other kids were handcuffing and moon jumping, Stewart was watching movies. At UNL, he decided to major in both news-editorial and film studies. "I always wanted to be a film critic," he said. "Journalism was the best route to do that."

Stewart has gotten a mouthful of big city life.

"I eat, sleep, breathe film," he said. "I feel very lucky." He lives in Mid–Wilshire, the cultural hub of Los Angeles. "It's basically smack–dab in the heart of L.A.,” he said. Instead of getting just one weather forecast – as in Murdock – on the 6 o'clock news, Stewart now gets three.

"They have three different temperatures. I've never really experienced that before," Stewart said, laughing. The temperatures vary so much from the valley, to the ocean, to downtown, that all three zones merit separate weather projections.

Most people think of movie stars when they think of L.A. Upon reflection, Stewart will admit that meeting and writing about movie stars is exciting.

"Samuel L. Jackson was really cool. He was actually really, really cool. You see him in the movies and you see that, but he actually is really cool, in real life,” said Stewart, laughing.

He's also chatted with Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, George Lucas and Cameron Diaz. "Knowing how a film is made just enriches that appreciation for the final product," he said.

"Variety is a big deal," Stewart said. "It's been around forever. It has an amazing reputation."

One of the publication's quirks is "slanguage." "It's our own kind of lingo that we use at Variety," he said. The shorthand, edgy terms Variety uses seem to fit well with the culture of the film industry. "To have your writing be a part of that – and to be incorporated in its style – is fun," Stewart added. "It makes your writing a part of the tradition."

Stewart counts himself lucky to have found his dream job so early in life. He plans to attempt to make a career for himself at Variety in L.A.

"What I love the most is just being in this environment," he said.

You can read Stewart’s recent work for Variety at:

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