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Matthew McLoota & Kevin Shields

Have you ever dreamed of working on a major television production? That was the dream of two childhood friends from Hollidaysburg.

Graduating from Hollidaysburg Area High School in 1999, Matthew McLoota received a degree from Syracuse University in 2003.  He was a film major with a minor in acting.  Then, he moved to New York City.

He started doing live shows as a Production Assistant.  McLoota says that he would send out three to four resumes every day for months until he started to get replies.  Most of them, he says, started out as unpaid work.  Then from there, he would get small paying jobs with most of them being production assistant work.  "Some of the productions included the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks as well as a show called Broadway on Broadway, which was where they would have a bunch of Broadway shows that would perform on Times Square for one day."  From there, he adds, that his first job was as an Audience Paige on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire".

Meanwhile, McLoota's friend Kevin Shields graduated a year later in 2000.  He grew up outside of Boston.  As a result of his parents' divorce, his mom moved them back to Altoona, where she was born and raised.  Then, they ended up moving to Hollidaysburg when Shields was eight years old.

Shields, then, went on to attend Point Park University in Pittsburgh with a major in Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  "After that, I took a year or so to work bartending and save money for the move to New York."

Knowing that his best friend who he had grown up with was already quite well-established in film and television, he packed up and made the move.  "Matt got me a set internship.  He was the Second Assistant Director on Law and Order: Criminal Intent.  He helped me get my foot in the door.  I was working as an unpaid intern.  That lasted about a week and then they started paying me as a production assistant.  It was very low wages and very long hours."...

***To read the complete article, check out an upcoming edition of They Came From Blair County."

***Information for this article was obtained through a phone interview with Matthew McLoota and Kevin Shields

"""Photos are provided by Matthew McLoota

***Description of the photos-1)McLoota on set, 2) Kevin Shields with actor/director Ben Affleck and 3)McLoota and Shields