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Featured Alumnus: Derek Wan (IPJ 00)

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Wan on location in Barcelona for America's Next Top Model.
Wan on location in Barcelona for “America’s Next Top Model.”

At age 25, Derek Wan (IPJ 00) has accomplished what many star-struck artists merely dream. Wan has made a name for himself in Los Angeles as a freelance television producer for high-profile reality television shows. His recent work includes producing segments for UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” and NBC’s “Treasure Hunters.”

As a producer, Wan develops creative concepts for segments and episodes and then puts together the footage to air on television. The creative process behind conceptualizing segments or episodes for television require researching skills, Wan sites his time at IPJ as “eye-opening” in this respect saying, “the case studies used in the economics classes helped me to become a better researcher.”

Television production, however, was not the career Wan always had in mind. Originally interested in print journalism, Wan interned at Knight Ridder Tribune (KRT) during his time at IPJ in 2000. As an intern at KRT, Derek had the opportunity to write articles that were published nationwide.

“Once I thought I’d write for a magazine,” says Wan. “But then I saw myself in news at a television station.”

His writing and reporting at KRT especially allowed Wan to report on and write various articles, which he says taught him to tell a story in an informative yet concise way. The internship helped Wan direct his career.

“My internship really helped me to visualize my strong points. I knew I enjoyed real people and I loved covering stories about real successes, struggles and concerns that hit the community,” said Wan.

Wan decided to satisfy his interest in documenting the lives of real people immediately after his time at TFAS. After he attended a fellowship program with Newsweek’s film production department in New York City, he moved to Los Angeles to begin his career in television. With only a handful of television production courses from his time at the College of New Jersey and virtually no background in fashion design, Wan landed a job at the Style Network as a production assistant for fashion week programming.

“My job at the Style Network was the first time I had ever participated in this type of work. I read fashion magazines to catch up with fashion trends for my job,” said Wan. This unconventional research gave Wan a step up in the industry. After only eight months, he was promoted to associate producer where he wrote and filmed segments for shows related to fashion design, trends, and beauty.

Since his time at the Style Network, Wan worked on ABC’s anniversary special “Favorite Stars: Then and Now,” the talk show “On-Air with Ryan Seacrest” and the E! reality show, “Facing Fame.” Wan has also produced various shows at both NBC and FOX. Derek Wan resides in Los Angeles, California. This January will mark his fifth year in the television industry.

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