Erica Barstein

Our viral video project

to land her a job on

the Ellen Show

The Story

While at the University of Arizona, I was a video yes man. I said yes to everything-anything. In no way do I regret that now-it’s exactly how I met Erica Barstein, a student at the time looking to do something very interesting on YouTube.

Erica loved the Ellen show, like a lot. She watched it since forever-best way to put it. Now that she was a Senior at the U, it was time to figure out what her future would be. So, naturally, it only made sense she would work on the Ellen show. Being a Broadcast and Cinema Studies major, she had the skills too (bonus). But how could she land a job on the show millions of people knew and loved?

She had to be different. Really, just show Ellen who she was, because she was different than most.

So she started making YouTube videos under the title, “Ellen Needs Erica.” She would run out with a camcorder, film something herself or haver her friend do the honors, and hope to be noticed.

It was an interesting start, something I had no idea was happening. I was too busy covering stories handed to me for the paper, I didn’t do much to keep up with the cool kids. Then, an acquaintance of mine asked me a question. Jill, a cheerleader at the U, was someone I knew from shooting the basketball games. She told me she had a friend that was in need of a video guy. Seemed legit, so I got the details. I got Erica’s information and started texting her.

Turns out Erica sat two rows behind me in our 40 student theatre class. Of course she did.

For the next 5 months we collaborated to make some very interested, zero budget, college-student schedule YouTube videos.

And they worked

Erica has now worked for the Ellen Show over 3 years.