This spring he edged closer to his dream when he joined 26 interns (picked from more than 1,000 applicants) in Los Angeles to work alongside the pros at Nickelodeon Studios.
“Since I’ve been at Auburn, I’ve wanted to get an internship with a big film studio or a big TV studio,” Montgomery said. “So I started looking around for different things and asking my advisers early on how to get into a studio like that. They all told me you’ve got to do a lot of work, and you have to make your resume stand out because they have a lot of people that apply for these things.”
Montgomery did just that, and in the past three years he has worked with WTVM in Columbus, Eagle Eye, Auburn’s athletic department, CBS and was a DJ for a radio station in Moulton.
“I was doing pretty much anything and everything for free just trying to get my resume good enough to get an internship like this,” he said.
For those that know Montgomery, behavior like this is not out of the ordinary.
“Carson is very independent and he is a strong believer in making his own way,” said Mary Jane Montgomery, Carson’s mother. “We didn’t have any strings to pull or anything like that. He got this 100 percent on his own.”
Kristin Stockton, senior in math edudcation, grew up with Montgomery and said she has always admired him for his determination.
“When he’s passionate about something he puts his heart and soul into it,” Stockton said. “He worked so hard to get where he is. He does things the right way. He’s not somebody that’s going to step on people to get to where he wants to go. He’s going to get where he wants to go by working hard and being good to others.”
Mary Jane Montgomery said she is overwhelmed with pride for her son.
“He has leaned toward this for a long time,” Montgomery said. “It’s not surprising, but a lot of times people have dreams and they don’t do anything with them.”
That’s not the case for her son, who now wakes up every morning at 9 a.m. and heads to the Nickelodeon studio where he works in post-production from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“A lot of it is archiving old shows like ‘Hey Arnold’ and ‘Rugrats,’” Montgomery said. “They have to save all the old artwork, audio files and drawings, so we box that up. Just last week we boxed up a lot of ‘SpongeBob’ artwork.
“It’s a lot of organizing, boxing, double-checking and looking for mistakes as we put together this massive archive. At this point, it’s a lot of entry-level work, but it’s still really awesome.”
Montgomery said the internship at Nickelodeon has opened up more doors than he ever imagined.
“You can meet with pretty much anyone that works at the studio and they can give you advice on how to get where they are,” he said. “I’ve been meeting with a lot of writers because that’s the path I want to go down.
When he isn’t working, Montgomery said he is exploring the city with his fellow interns.
“It’s no Auburn, but I’m starting to like it,” he said. “One thing I didn’t expect about L.A. is that it’s nestled in between mountains and the ocean. It’s not like New York where it’s a concrete jungle. There are a lot of trees and everywhere you look there are mountains.”
Also unlike New York City, Montgomery said everyone drives in L.A. While he doesn’t have to worry with a taxi or subway, he said bad drivers are another story.
“No one here can drive,” he said. “They also don’t have sweet tea, and they don’t have good barbecue. They don’t care about sports; these people aren’t football fans.”
But Montgomery said Californians aren’t as bad as some make them seem.
“Everyone always says the people aren’t nice, but I don’t know, people have always been really nice to me out here,” he said. “People will sit there and marvel at me while I talk. They don’t make fun of me— they just marvel.”
Stockton said she’s not surprised her friend has easily adapted to a city outside his comfort zone.
“He is so good with people,” she said. “We are from North Alabama where our accents often lead people to think we are dumb, but you can be with Carson for just a few minutes and you’re going to be intrigued and listen to anything he says.
“He’s always been very witty. He knows the perfect thing to say to make somebody laugh in every situation. That’s going to get him far in this business.”
As for his accent, Montgomery said it will never leave him.
“I make sure to put some extra Southern on it just to keep it alive,” he said. “If I lose it, I’m getting on a plane and coming home.”
Until then, Montgomery said the plan is to finish up classes in Auburn this summer and move back to California in the fall in search of a job.
“The dream job would be Nick, but at this point they obviously aren’t offering it to any interns, and they aren’t talking about it,” Montgomery said. “My job right now is just to sell myself by my work ethic and attitude so that I won’t have to ask for a job; they will want to give me a job.
“But they’re going to have to get an NFL team or something if they want to keep me out here because this is ridiculous.”