There’s more than “Lights! Camera! Action!” to the show business industry, and panelists at OCS last week had the chance to share their work experiences in this field.
“It’s a pushing game – it’s a pushing industry,” Madison Greer ’13, a recent intern at Red Wagon Entertainment, said. “If you want something you have to really go for it. This is not one of those industries that really needs you. It’s all about personality. People want an intern with a smile on their face who can have fun and who is really engaged.”
“As an intern I was doing script coverage at Red Wagon, but also had to do things like wash dishes and staple lots of things too,” Madison said. “I think as an artist I was like, “I want to do something more creative!” and sometimes felt bored. But if you want to do something truly creative, you just have to be vocal about it with your bosses. I would ask, “Do you mind if I come see the scoring session for Halo 3?” And then I got to go.”
Since this is an industry about who you know, it’s helpful in the long run to meet people outside your department while in your internship. “In the middle of my internship, I made an effort to sit down and chat with every department and find out what they do,” Marlee Melendy ’14, an intern for the 2014 Super Bowl Host Committee, said. “And I’ve been able to keep in touch with people from different departments, which is awesome.”
Linxi Wu ’14, a past intern at SONY Pictures, echoed this statement. “People don’t always take the time to mentor you. In Hollywood you really have to reach out yourself. You need to be a self-starter.”
Nicole Delaney ’14, who interned at Maven Pictures in New York City this past summer, liked working in a small office because it meant she had a greater daily impact. “I did script coverage every day, which means I would read scripts every day and write critical summaries of them to give to the development team,” she said. “It was really hands-on and nice to have the power to say “this is good” or “this isn’t.”
Use your network
Although many of the panelists said that they had found their internships through family or friends, Marlee found her internship working for the 2014 Super Bowl Host Committee through the Institute of Politics. “The IOP Director’s Internship is a great program because you know your applications are being read and that you’ll get a $4,000 stipend,” she said. Crimson Compass, the alumni mentoring website, is also a great resource for finding internships in the entertainment sphere – as well as programs like Harvardwood 101 and the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program.
In any case, don’t underestimate the scope of your network. “It’s a connections industry, but whether or not you have a family member in the business, there are plenty of kids at Harvard who have worked in this industry who are connections for you,” Linxi said. “Any connection that your close friends have is a really a connection that you have. Don’t be afraid to reach out – the worst that could happen is they say no.”
Julia Eger, ’14