As a teenager growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jane Tahir always knew she wanted to work in the entertainment industry. She even had a plan for getting her foot in the door—as a volunteer with Java Festival Productions, one of the largest festival production companies in Asia. There was just one problem.
“I found out you had to be 18 to apply. My birthday is in January, but they needed volunteers before then. As soon as I turned 18, I emailed the volunteer coordinator apologizing for missing the deadline but explaining that I didn’t qualify for the age restrictions beforehand,” she laughs. “They allowed me to volunteer after that.”
After that first volunteer job, Jane used connections she made to land a gig as a production liaison for the Road to Incognito, a concert event celebrating the British jazz band Incognito’s Indonesian tour. Jane credits both of these early jobs as being hugely positive learning experiences. She was involved in the live music scene and amassing contacts, but as someone about to graduate from high school, the college experience was also important to her—she didn’t want to miss out on getting a degree, but she didn’t want to give up her dream of working in entertainment either.
“A friend of mine told me about Full Sail’s Entertainment Business program. I thought, ‘Why don’t I major in something that I’m interested in?’”
After applying for and receiving her student visa, Jane moved to Winter Park, FL. She graduated from the Entertainment Business bachelor’s program in 2013. Of her time in the program, Jane says, “I learned so much. It was great to be around people who loved the things that I loved.”
Now, Jane is bringing her passion for the entertainment industry to a whole new audience as a host on Dahsyat, a music and pop culture show on the Voice of America television network. According to Jane, Voice of America Indonesia covers both American and International news and topics and delivers that content to an Indonesian audience.
To get the job, she employed the same tactics that worked for her in high school. “I started to apply before I even graduated,” she says. A friend of the family who worked at Voice of America was able to put Jane in contact with the person in charge of internships. It turned out to be perfect timing—the network had just lost two production assistants and was short handed. Even though most of her prior experience was working on live events, Jane says she acclimated fairly quickly due to the sink-or-swim nature of the internship. She learned how do to everything—from operating a camera to editing. Her supervisors noticed she had a particular gift for interviewing people. Eventually, the internship let to a full time job.
Jane, who just moved to New York, sees a bright future, not only for herself, but also any graduate willing to put themselves out there. “Take every opportunity in front of you,” she advises. “You never know what something will lead to.”
Check out some of Jane’s work for Voice of America below (the videos are in Indonesian). The first is an interview with two Indonesian fashion students living in New York City. The second is a feature on the cultural diversity of the city.