By Jamaal Brown
If you are a media person and a devotee of science fiction, you might relish the job that Adrian Jose Feliciano, J/MS 2008, has: assistant to the president of NBCUniversal’s Syfy network.
That’s the national network that has shows like “Ghost Hunters International,” “Paranormal Witness,” and the cultish “Face Off.”
Feliciano also has supervisory duties for the Universal 24-hour horror and suspense network Chiller TV. Along with zombies, vampires, and the undead, Chiller TV also airs reruns of “Fear Factor,” the granddaddy of gross-out reality shows featuring contestants who face their greatest fears, such as climbing into a coffin filled with writhing worms.
You won’t find worms in the sleek NBCUniversal offices in Manhattan, but every day Feliciano faces the fear of coming up with compelling programming to delight special interest audiences and keep them returning. His duties range from administrative work all the way up to planning major events for the Syfy network.
“I act as a filter or a funnel to the president of Syfy,” he said. “So I have to know the content of everything that goes on so I can put it into context for him.”
Feliciano is also involved with the development of television series. Whenever scripts and treatments for new series hit his desk, he makes time to read them.
“I’m the most stressed I’ve ever been at my current position,” said Feliciano. “But it’s my favorite position I’ve ever held because it keeps things interesting, and I’m learning more than ever before.
“I want to know why the scripts were accepted or rejected so I can better understand how decisions are made. I just recently read through eight scripts of pilot episodes in one weekend.”
Feliciano says that the TV reporting class at Rutgers helped prepare him for the work that he’s doing because it helped him gain an understanding for sound, lighting and video. He says that hands-on experience is important in the industry.
“You need to know how to edit and the logistics of putting packages together,” he said. “If you work on the cable or corporate side, it helps you understand producers and the process. When people talk their industry jargon, you know what they’re talking about.”
Feliciano always had a deep passion for journalism but planned to go to law school. While at J/MS he was a popular DJ for the Philadelphia/South Jersey area, working for two companies and his own, doing emcee chores at weddings, bar mitzvahs and birthdays.
But as part of a J/MS internship with the ACLU, he made a documentary on the issue of giving ex-felons the right to vote, and later did an internship in Spain for the UN High Command on Refugees, for which he did a short-form documentary about North African refugees in Spanish territory.
Through making the documentaries and seeing their impact, he discovered his true passion for film. He abandoned the idea of being a lawyer and began searching for a career in the film field.
Through a friend he knew from the Rutgers Glee Club, Feliciano found his first job just one month after graduating. “Even though we weren’t in contact all the time, I knew his reputation and he knew mine,” recalled Feliciano. “When we touched base, he was exiting his position at NBCUniversal TV Distribution, and he put in my resume. I’m very grateful to him.”
His first position was in syndication, and his main duty was to find programming from cable and syndicate it to local stations. He had a long run in syndication but wanted to get into development.
“Syndication is all game shows and talkers,” said Feliciano. “So I knew I had to get into cable. That’s when I was approached by Syfy. They wanted someone with experience, so here I am.”
Feliciano’s long-term goal is to be a development executive and nurture his own projects from start to finish. To help him get to that point, Feliciano is in graduate school for business. He hopes that a graduate school education will take him to the next level in his career.
“I have no idea how I balance 60-hour work weeks and nine credit grad school semesters,” said Feliciano, who resides in Manhattan.
Feliciano has papers to do, exams to study for and books to read. On the business front, he has events that have to be planned and scripts that need to be read. When asked how he does it all, his reply was, “I plan for the future and live by the day. I have faith that good will come from all of the hard work.”