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When I was in college (2004) there was this theater that I really wanted to intern at, and my advisor told me that the best way to secure an internship was to call and write letters to this theater DAILY. So one letter would be about my qualifications, another letter would compliment something about a recent production, and so on—and while I was doing this I was supposed to keep calling the front desk and trying to get by the receptionist so I could talk to someone in person and prove how awesome I was.
(I felt TERRIBLE about this, by the way. I was not excited about this plan, I felt this stab of shame every time I called or sent a letter.)
I was also encouraged to jump the hierarchy and write the artistic director, and here is the most unbelievable but true part: since my advisor knew someone who knew Stephen Sondheim, she told me to call that person and ask for Sondheim's personal address (WHICH I DID) and then send Sondheim a letter asking to put in a good word for me.
(I received a lovely typed letter of bland and noncommittal encouragement in response. The stories about Sondheim answering all his fan mail personally might be true.)
All of this ended immediately the day I received a letter from the artistic director, with a single scraggly piece of notebook paper inside. Handwritten on the paper: "Dear Nicole, we have received your numerous calls and letters, including the one you wrote Mr. Sondheim. Do not contact us again."
That is one of the most embarrassing things I've ever done in my life.