News Column

Show Biz Works Magic on Student

May 19, 2013

Stephanie Weaver

For as long as she can remember, Gabrielle Fundyga has loved creating stories and sharing them with others.

"I was always writing plays when I was a young girl and acting things out," the 22-year-old from Exeter Township said.

Now as the first person to graduate from Albright College with a digital video arts degree, Fundyga is putting her passion to work.

After she turns her tassel this morning, Fundyga will start up a gig in Philadelphia with the genealogy documentary show "Who Do You Think You Are?" followed by a two-month stint as a production assistant with "Amish Mafia."

Fundyga has already worked with reality shows "16 and Pregnant" and "Money Barn" and knows how different they are from what appears on TV, but she is anxious to see the other side of "Amish Mafia."

Her real passion, though, is in educational children's programs.

Her first internship was with PBS Kids Sprout, working on the "Sunny Side Up Show." Her acting professor at Albright knew one of the producers and believed Fundyga would be great at the job.

Since then, she has continued to land various gigs, including a production assistant spot for the past two seasons of "The Chica Show" in Philadelphia.

Her job is to oversee all of the small details of production, from getting props to making sure everything is in place.

She's quickly discovered that the little things can sometimes be the most important.

During her internship with "Sunny Side Up," Fundyga had to find a doctor's costume for a puppet during a live shoot.

She found what appeared to be a white vest and gave it to the puppeteer, but it ended up being an undergarment.

"On this live children's television network, I had put a risque outfit on a chicken puppet," she said. "That was probably one of the worst things. They got over it but I got into a lot of trouble."

Fundyga has also found herself in front of the camera a few times when her producers needed a last-minute stand-in.

She's helped as a puppeteer and lent her hand to represent a farmer, but this spring she had her facial debut on "The Chica Show."

The producer needed someone to fill in for a shot and suggested Fundyga stand in. Since it was spring, they decided to put her in a flower pot costume, despite the fact that it was designed for a 3-year-old.

"That's going to eventually be on TV," she said, laughing.

While she's enjoyed her experiences, Fundyga is hoping to transition away from freelance work to a solid full-time position with a production company.

Eventually, she would like to be a creative producer.

"My goal in the end is to be developing my own shows," she said.

For her senior honors thesis, Fundyga developed her own children's show, "Daffodil Hill," that she hopes to one day see on TV.

She created the characters, wrote a 22-miute script, composed a theme song, made her own puppets and filmed a promotional video.

The show focused on the liberal arts, she said, highlighting discovery and the arts and teaching from a different context.

In addition to her classes, Fundyga said Albright has given her the networking skills to make the necessary connections to gain experience and grow in the industry.

But she said that success also relies on unabashedly going after personal dreams.

"You can't be shy," she said. "You can't be afraid to be outspoken and just call someone and say, 'I love your work.' You just need to go right for the top of the industry."


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