DS: Why did you want to start Smile TV?
SP: The media pushes too hard on the negative aspect of humanity. Why can’t we focus on the good? Positivity breathes positivity and the stories that pull on your heartstrings are the ones that become viral. I think there’s a lot of good things in the world that we can focus on instead and I’d love to have a positive impact on the media.
DS: How did you start the network?
SP: I quit my job at the time and started a Kickstarter campaign, which is a website where you can get donations if people like your idea. Within several months the campaign had raised $20,000 and about $14,000 of what was used to buy all the equipment for the network, such as the cameras and lights. Then I started looking for volunteers and interns. I remember telling myself that if I ever had the opportunity to have an intern I’d give them the hands on training that I got.
DS: How many volunteers do you have now?
SP: I have about 27 volunteers and they come from all over the place. I have people from CSUN, USC, UCLA and Cal Lutheran. I also have people from France, Canada, New York, and Russia.
DS: Do you have any tips for students?