This past year, I found myself interning for The Daily Show, and now I’m freelancing in post-production on the show. During my internship, I had the chance sit down with the show’s big bosses, alongside my fellow interns, and uncover the secrets to breaking into the industry.

First up, Chuck O’Neil shared how he became a television director with a 17-year run on The Daily Show. O’Neil mentioned that he would volunteer at his local television stations, starting out in Public access television. That’s right, the bottom. He took whatever job he could and even some jobs that didn’t relate to television because, let’s face it, we all have bills to pay. 

One of the big factors that led O’Neil to get a big network job was simply the relationships he built with people. His friends would recommend him. Why? Because they knew how hardworking and talented he was, and still is. 

If you can save the production company money or a bad look, you’re golden!

The Executive Producers also laid down a boatload of advice on moving up in the ranks of television. Here are their top tips:

1. Look for ways to improve the show

Ask yourself what you can make better. I’ve heard stories of people moving up at different shows because they were able to improve something around them. Can you fix one of the graphics? Can you find a faster way to get something done? If you can save the production company money or a bad look, you’re golden!

2. Do your job really well

This may seem like a given, but a lot of people start to slack off because they get comfortable. The better you work, and the more you try to improve yourself and your skills, the more you’ll move up in the ranks. 

3. Use your humor

If you’re on a comedy show and think you can make one of the jokes funnier, do it!  Tread lightly with this one, since you don’t want to offend your bosses who are comedy pros, but if you think you have a good joke, go ahead and share it.

The Daily ShowTrevor Noah on The Daily ShowCredit: Comedy Central

4. Stay in touch with people

One of the Daily Show’s execs was originally a freelancer, but she moved up the production ladder by staying in touch with colleagues. She was often pitching game shows to networks, and eventually she made a valuable connection that led to better work

5. Be aware of the opportunities at hand

Many people don’t even know when there are current job openings on the shows they want to work for. You need to be in the know, and you do that by doing your research: stay in touch with industry people as suggested above, regularly search the network and entertainment job sites, and pay attention to LinkedIn, for starters.

6. Stay positive

Be someone who people want to work with. Nobody likes to have their day ruined by a person with a sour attitude. An office is a place of business, but also a friendly environment, so keep it that way.

7. Come early and leave late

The same exec who advised us to stay in touch with colleagues also said that one of her keys to success was always coming in early. The same goes for staying late: when it’s time to clock out, and everyone is throwing in the towel, you’ll get noticed by being the one to stay late and finish up that work.

8. When the time is right, move on up.

When you have your foot in the door, and you’ve made yourself shine by following the advice above, doing great work, and going the extra mile, it’s time to ask for a better position.

Screen_shot_2017-06-29_at_3Hasan Mihnaj interviews Preet Bharara on The Daily ShowCredit: Comedy Central

Breaking into comedy 

In addition to the execs, we also sat down with The Daily Show writers of and got some valuable information about breaking into the world of comedy. Here are a few of their best suggestions:

  • Be in the community. The comedy community is a small one, and if your goal is to write or perform comedy, you need to get in there. If you live near an improvisation group or theatre, take some of the classes they offer to network and practice your craft.

  • If you write comedy, you must perform it. The head writer of the Daily Show; Zhubin Parang, said that you need to hear how the jokes sound out loud and how people react to them. That way you can modify, keep, or eliminate the joke.

  • Get your work produced, either by yourself or by collaborating with filmmakers. Many up and coming comedians and entertainers are using video content to promote both themselves and the filmmaker who creates it on social media and video platforms like Youtube and Vimeo.

I was lucky enough to have experienced these sessions of advice from the team at The Daily show, and I followed it, which means I still get to work with this wonderful group of people today.

Romel Rodriguez is No Film School's Social Media & Production Intern while he works toward his degree in Film and Video Production at the City College of New York. Follow him on Twitter @romelr1 .