Tim Wilkime meets with actress/SIUC alum Melissa McCarthy and actress Allison Janney on the set of “The Late, Late Show with James Corden.” Photo by Terrance Patrick.
Tim Wilkime meets with actress/SIUC alum Melissa McCarthy and actress Allison Janney on the set of “The Late, Late Show with James Corden.” Photo by Terrance Patrick.

From SIU to SNL: Alum Tim Wilkime shares his path from alt.news to popular sketch show

February 8, 2023

Be passionate and be friendly were two pieces of advice offered by one of the newest director’s of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, alum Tim Wilkime.

The National Association of Black Journalists and the School of Journalism hosted a Q&A with Wilkime on Feb. 7 in the North Lights studio. He is a 2009 alum and talked about how he got from alt.news to SNL. 

At the start of the event, Wilkime talked a bit about how when he was in high school how he would ask to turn in assignments in the form of video projects and would make documentaries about his high school basketball team.


He said SIU played a big role in him wanting to make a career out of directing and film.

“I got involved with film because of alt.news and the friends I was making through that. I was making things for the show and then, I was making sketches through a sketch comedy group I created at SIU,” Wilkime said. “It just kind of snowballed from there. So by the time I was in LA, working, it was all because of things I was doing from my time in college.”

Being in alt.news and working on projects with people who shared my interest allowed him to have great experiences that not many people get to have in college, he said.

Questions included ‘How did you handle working with different crews?’, ‘What type of angles did you use to film?’ and ‘How to navigate working freelance?’. 

Throughout the Q&A, Wilkime showed a variety of projects he worked on from his short film Milton, the tv series Adam Ruins Everything, and his SNL skit with Pedro Pascal.

He said, although he was working for websites such as College Humor and Funny or Die, freelance work was still a struggle because he would have to figure out what he would do during the slow times. 

“I mean the way freelance affected me personally is when I wasn’t working it was really tough, but when I was working it was great so that’s just like what you sign up for when you do freelance,” Wilkime said.


While doing freelance work, he said, he did a lot of things to stay busy when he was in that lull, from working on motion graphics and editing to make some extra money. Also, working on other projects to keep his skills up.

He said when it comes to working on film projects the most difficult part is when you have a very short amount of time to film the project.

“When you’re making films, the most difficult thing is just time. Time is like your biggest enemy and so yeah it’s always like trying to squeeze the most out of every minute that you’re given,” he said.

Throughout the session, Wilkime urged students to cement and hold onto friendships they make here and in their first career jobs. He said networking helped him land many of his gigs, so it pays to be friendly with everyone you work with because you never know when they recommend you for a job.

At the end of the event attendees got to talk one on one and take photos with Wilkime. 

“You gotta make things because it keeps your skill sharp and it keeps you relevant to your cohorts and other creators that you respect and you do it because you love it. So I think  you want to be a creator you gotta create,” Wilkime said. “So however you got to do that you got to write a script, you got to make a podcast, you need to make a short film, find a way to put yourself out there creatively.”

Staff reporter Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @janiyah_reports. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois News follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.


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