Sequel: Evan Berke
Welcome to Sequel, a series spotlighting our talented alumni and the strides they’ve made in their field post-graduation.
Everyone loves a good story: not just the kind you study in fiction courses, like Evan Berke did, but the ones created and shared everyday between people. The kind that he says “show the genuine humor, goodness, evil, crazy, and beauty in people.” And it’s the English Department at the College of Charleston that honed his skill and peaked his interest in the act of storytelling—both on and off the page, in Charleston and beyond.
As a New York based Associate Field Producer, much of that storytelling takes place on screen: whether for TMZ on TV, TMZ Live, TMZ Sports, or TMZ.com, Berke’s job “is to have thoughtful and engaging conversations with actors, athletes, musicians, politicians and other public figures about the latest news.” These conversations include interviews with people like Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Stewart, Mark Cuban, Al Sharpton, Allen Iverson, and Bryan Cranston. “It is my job,” Berke says, “to persuade an A-Lister to talk to me.”
Since he left Charleston with the December Class of 2012, Berke’s position lets him travel to Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and other cities where special events are happening—an opportunity so many English students yearn for, but are afraid they’ll never obtain with the careers they think an English degree can afford them.
Berke’s best advice for success is to be, as he is, flexible and open to learning anything: “You never know who you are going to meet, what they will be able to teach you, and the opportunities you might have to truly expand your skill-set. The most important things someone can do,” he says, “are show up, be present, and follow through.”And he’s certainly done a lot of that—he began writing and performing stand-up comedy shows as a freshman at CofC, even co-producing the Jail Break festival in the Old City Jail. After graduating, he worked his way up at a PR firm from receptionist to production assistant.
And Evan Berke is never done working, revising, publishing and repeating: “The English Department taught me to love the process and how to come up with an idea, execute on it, workshop it, accept criticism, stress over it, and then come to appreciate the finished product for what it is.”
It’s clear his journey isn’t a finished product yet. He says he stays busy, trying to balance his work with his hobbies—including producing fun, original content with his friends when he has free time (like his assistance with Dusty Slay’s production of his sophomore comedy album Son of a Ditch, and CofC Alumni Montgomery Mauro’s web-series The Show. He also produced a pilot for his own series, Roaring 20’s.) He’s busy in New York, but never forgets the impact English at the College had on both his life and career, far beyond the day he graduated:
“I had an unbelievable, truly one-of-a-kind college experience. But, I believe the English Department at the College of Charleston set me up to have a career that will fulfill me both personally and professionally for years to come.”