Adventures of an EPICS Intern: To The Future…

This summer, I came to Los Angeles with an internship at Red Hour Films. It was a great internship with great people. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and most of all had a great time. Shortly after I got to LA, I secured a second internship at David Zucker Entertainment as support to a writer’s room, equally rewarding in ways that differed from Red Hour. A few weeks ago, I came to a fork in the road: continue with how I was going or make a slight change.

I learned something really valuable from this decision. I had to choose between working both of my internships for the rest of the summer or go five days a week at one and leave the other. It was a tough decision, because I was benefiting from both of them. And I wasn’t sure what to do. The other option was to work five days in the writer’s room, which sounds like a dream for a writer like me. But I was still conflicted. On one hand, I made a commitment to work at both internships for the entirety of the summer. On the other hand, I had learned something from that internship: it’s important to know when it’s time to move on.

AdamHughesimage001I’m not saying leaving an internship is for everyone. But in that moment, I knew I had to figure out what was going to be best for me. Five days as support to a writer’s room, to see how things start, how they grow, and how they end up. To work with a team of writers, editors, and producers. It seemed like a no brainer. But still, I felt an obligation to my first internship. That’s the funny thing about feelings. Sometimes they keep you from seeing clearly.

I’ve learned that this industry is full of these moments. Sure, right now, it’s just an internship. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is. I came out here to start a solid foundation for a future after graduation. But you can’t move forward if you’re not willing to be honest with yourself. In that moment, I had to put myself on a path. So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and made my choice.

Though I am forever grateful for the opportunity I had at my first internship, I know it’s not often that good opportunities throw themselves at you. The lesson I learned this summer is not to let things pass you by. Sometimes, you just have to step off the cliff and see where the fall takes you. Especially if you know, deep down, that you’re doing what’s best for you and your future. It’s about your attitude and how you get along with everyone else. Moving forward is the only way to move, so I hope that when others find themselves with decisions like this, they spend time working on the clarity of the situation. You don’t want life to pass you up.

Adam Tyler Hughes is a MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage student who is interning at Red Hour Films and David Zucker Entertainment over the summer.

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: Summer of Building and Learning

This summer, I have two internships in Los Angeles. They’re at Red Hour Films and David Zucker Entertainment. Though they’re both in LA, they couldn’t be more different. And both have solidified my desire to move to LA once I graduate and pursue a career in this industry.

At Red Hour, I read scripts, answer phones, and run errands as assigned. The greatest part about it is the reading, because it’s keeping me reading the medium regularly. As someone who wants to be a screenwriter out of school, it’s nice to see what writing is represented. More than that, the opportunity to read things others won’t get to is also beneficial. And sometimes, I even get to run errands with other interns, which is always a fun bonding experience.

Adam Hughes at David Zucker Entertainment
In the Writers’ Room with a fellow intern

At David Zucker, I sit in a writers’ room for a new comedic website and help find and create content for shorts. My fellow interns and I are an active part of the conversation, give opinions on ideas, and get to pitch our own ideas as we go. It’s a little intimidating to know these writers actually look to me for help, because I’m still in grad school and I’m still working to be in a writer’s room. But it’s fulfilling to know that I am contributing and that my contributions are wanted.

What I’ve learned from both my internships is that it’s really easy to get in your own head. When I came to LA at the beginning of this summer, I wanted to prove that I was cut out for this type of work. But in that, I find myself worrying that I’m not measuring up. Often, I feel that way for no reason. And I think a lot of people go through it. I, for one, know how hard it can be to overcome that, even outside of this summer. But then I remember I got these two internships because they saw something they wanted. So even during those times where I am stuck in my own head about my performance, I’m still there. It’s an opportunity that can’t be wasted on worrying. Sometimes you have to go with it.

Once I got myself to that point, I realized some key things. Building relationships is important. Most of my fellow interns want to move out here after school, too. Between my two internships, I’ve built a network that I can hopefully use after graduation. Another thing I’ve noticed is how easy it is to ask the people I work for about the industry. I’ve learned what kind of jobs people with my aspirations usually go for when they move to LA, and I’ve learned some of the ways I can prepare for that time over the next year.

I don’t believe that anything will ever go perfectly. But I do believe you get what you’re willing to work for. Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy, and it’s so easy to doubt myself when things feel less than exactly how I want them to go. The bottom line is, most of the people I’m working with or for started as an intern and worked their way to where they are. So between them and my many co-interns, it’s safe to say it’s okay to be a little optimistic as long as you believe in your future.

Adam Tyler Hughes is a MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage student who is interning at Red Hour Films and David Zucker Entertainment over the summer.

Weekly Round-Up (7/20 to 7/24)

InternshipJobRoundup

Check out SoConnect for these newly posted internships and full-time jobs!

Chicago/Evanston

Marketing/PR Internship – Chicago Opera Theater

Arts Administration Internship, Fall 2015  – Evanston Art Center

Marketing/Administrative Internship – Hedwig Dances

Autumn Intern – Kartemquin Films

Fall Internship – Lily’s Talent Agency, LTA

PR Fall Internship, SEO Fall Internship, Web Marketing Internship – Walker Sands Communications

Fall 2015 Internships – Writers Theatre

Film Marketing/Film Festival Internships – Facets Multimedia 

 

New York

Fall 2015 Production Intern – Late Show with Stephen Colbert

 

Los Angeles

Entertainment Intern Fall 2015 – Heroes & Villains Entertainment

Fall 2015 Internship – Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment

Development Intern – Media Talent Group West

Creative Executive Internship – Ramo Law PC

Fall 2015 Educational Temp – Universal Music Group

 

Other Markets

Fall 2015 Internship – Susan Davis International (Washington, D.C.)

 

Full Time Positions

Benefits and Compliance Administrator – Allied Benefit Systems (Chicago, IL)

Key Account Coordinator – CBS Radio (Chicago, IL)

Marketing and Artist Development Associate – The Billions Corporation (Chicago, IL)

Medical Writer  – Cory/Paeth (Chicago, IL)

Agency Assistant – JB Talent (Los Angeles, CA)

News Director – WHBF-TV (Rock Island, IL)

Life After NU: The End of the Beginning

I’ve been out in perpetually sunny LA for nine weeks now. The time has certainly flown by! Now that I’ve passed the two-month mark—I think I got an A+ for this quarter (oh wait, I’ve graduated, no more grades!)—I can stop counting. Because I’m here to stay. And I haven’t taken a math course in five years, so I’m a little rusty…

In the past month since my last post, nothing has radically changed. Work is consistently great, the sun is dependably out (except when it reluctantly retreats for nighttime), and the ground hasn’t shifted yet (i.e., I still haven’t experienced my first earthquake). Everything has continued to settle down as I’ve settled in. And that’s a good thing. Although there will always be more things to see and do, and my list is still growing, I’m becoming increasingly comfortable in this new city that I can now call home.

My job as a Post PA at Abominable Pictures has continued to be fantastic! Several episodes of Childrens Hospital are approaching picture lock, and multiple other shows are in the delivery pipeline. For the approaching second season of Newsreaders, I’ve been able to sit in on, and take rapid-fire notes for, a few ADR and voiceover sessions. It was a great learning opportunity to see how a professional sound mixer works (with an impressive setup) and listen to the executive producer’s detailed feedback. Plus, I got to meet some big-name actors!

Hanging with my cousin at the beautiful Getty Villa.
Hanging with my cousin at the beautiful Getty Villa.

In addition to my main PA work, I’ve been given new tasks that have utilized my tech skills. I’m still hard at work on that poster, though I’m afraid I’m slowly killing my computer with the humongous file size…I’ve also been using Photoshop to make DVD cases. I’ve enjoyed having the creative freedom to come up with my own ideas while also receiving notes to refine each image. It’s important to be able to collaborate to create a final product, and it almost always turns out better for it!

Even more exciting, I’ve had a lead role in researching and making proposals for a complete post production upgrade. We do all of our editing in-house, which means we have to keep on top of the current technology. It’s been my job to decide which computers and peripherals to purchase, how to upgrade Avid, and to help orchestrate the whole operation. Between this and the multiple shows we’re juggling, work has continued to be perfectly busy. So busy, in fact, that I’ll be staying on at Abominable! I couldn’t be more enthusiastic to continue working at such a phenomenal company!

In my first post, I made some initial observations after just a few days here, so to conclude this blogging series, here are some additional stray observations made over the past two months:

Valet parking companies, not the films studios, run the city.

There are countless donut shops here. Not the fancy artisan donut shops that have invaded Chicago, but shops that are neighborhood institutions. Interestingly, there are several that also serve Chinese food. Whatever floats people’s taste buds!

Ikea is a frightening place.

Lots of movie theaters have assigned seating. I can’t decide what I think about this practice. You have to plan in advance to reserve prime middle seats, but this method means you don’t have to show up to the theater inhumanely early. LA certainly is a city that revolves around movies.

Everywhere is “far.” In this sentence, “far” means twenty minutes away.

After two months of real world experience, I surely must have some overarching bit of wisdom to impart on those still in college, right? I’ve racked my brain for the best thing you can do to prepare for a long-hour job in the entertainment industry, and I’ve settled on one final piece of advice: Eat Your Vegetables.

Robbie Stern is a recent graduate of the School of Communication and majored in RTVF. He now works for Abominable Pictures.

Life After NU: I’m an Angeleno Now.

Last week, I watched SNL’s hilarious “The Californians” sketches for the first time. I don’t know how I missed them. While no one I’ve met is obsessed with his or her own reflection, the inescapable compulsion to discuss directions and brag about your private shortcuts is absolutely true. I’ve even fallen into the habit myself. Didn’t take long! I guess that means that after a fast month, I’m officially a Los Angeles resident.

Aside from driving—and getting used to the not-so-patient drivers that cruise the LA streets—my transition to post-grad, full-time working life has been going smoothly, with nary a hiccup. Though that may be due to the fact that I haven’t hiccupped in years, as opposed to me growing accustomed to this new stage of life. Let’s put bodily musings on pause for a moment (for the rest of the post, don’t worry) to get to the thing that occupies most of my time: work!

The excitement that exclamation point conveys is absolutely true. My job working at Abominable Pictures has definitely been fun. I’m kept busy, my coworkers are great, and the shows are hilarious, so what more can I ask for? As a Post Production Assistant my tasks vary, but they usually include: making and managing hundreds (only a slight exaggeration) of Google docs to handle everything from post production budgets to producers’ notes on episodes, organizing dailies for producer and director viewing, backing up precious footage, transcribing cuts (allowing me to vicariously live as a TV writer), and searching for stock footage (why is everything a time-lapse when you never need it to be?).

On the set (in the production office area) of Childrens Hospital.
On the set (in the production office area) of Childrens Hospital.

Childrens Hospital wrapped two weeks ago, so we’re now fully in the throes of post. After a fun wrap party, work transitioned from preparing dailies to readying cuts for the higher-ups. I get to watch the incremental edits of each episode; reading the producers’ comments, then seeing how the subsequent versions reflect their compromises, is a fascinating process. Abominable juggles an impressive number of shows, so while four shows are in various stages of post and finishing, we’re gearing up for two more productions. Everyone’s hands are always full, hopefully with comedy gold.

I also often get little random tasks thrown my way. For example, one of my most amusing jobs was ensuring every curse word for a show was fully bleeped out. I found myself playing the bleeps on repeat, making sure every “f” and “t” and “k” and “sh,” not necessarily in that order, was covered. Needless to say, these were the most risqué—and potentially offensive—notes and emails I’ve ever written. Another project I’m in the middle of is creating a poster for an old web series. If it gets approved, my work will adorn the office walls!

At home, I’m now fully moved in to my apartment. The best part: having a parking space. That thing is priceless. Another best part: there’s a Ralph’s (much better than Chicago’s Jewel-Osco) at the end of the street. Plus the apartment itself is great! It still hasn’t rained here, apart from a few raindrops that got lost and accidentally fell over LA, and it looks like that won’t be changing anytime soon. Unfortunate for the drought conditions, but fortunate for…no, the place really needs some rain.

To conclude the post, here’s today’s parting wisdom: Explore! I definitely want to get to know the area I’ll be calling home. Also, you need to have stories when coworkers ask how you like LA. My list of accomplishments includes going to the Pacific (very different than my home Atlantic), visiting the Getty Center, seeing the Walk of Fame, and general exploring. In other words, a lot more to do! Which is fine, because I’m here, and an Angeleno, now.

Robbie Stern is a recent graduate of the School of Communication and majored in RTVF. He now works for Abominable Pictures.

Life After NU: On the Ground Running

Los Angeles. The City of Angels. Which would only be true if heaven’s clouds were actually smog.

All pollution jokes aside, my first week in LA—and being part of the real world (that is, post-graduation)—has been fantastic! Insane, but fantastic. Two days after convocation, after squeezing in the last of my goodbyes, I packed up my final suitcases and moved out of Evanston. I had a job lined up to start the following week—as a Post Production Assistant at Abominable Pictures—so the quick cross-country move was necessary. But before I could eagerly start my first full-time, paying job…

The next four days were spent searching for apartments, with help from my dad. Even though I had spent several weeks in Chicago trying to find an abode before moving, the search could not fully begin until I was actually on the ground. I used several online housing aggregator sites, but the winner (and fortunately, there was a winner by Friday) was found by a fortuitous drive-by. So this week I’ll be moving into an apartment in the heart of West Hollywood!

Meanwhile, I’ve now worked two days in my new job. Which has been great! As a PA for the editing department, my tasks range widely. I’ve done runs to the set of Childrens Hospital to pick up precious cargo (i.e., hard drives with just-shot footage). I’ve chatted with editors about what it’s like to edit for TV. I’ve dismantled and reset up an editing workstation. And of course, I’ve learned how to take lunch orders. This has been within a mere 48 hours, so I’m excited to see what I’ll be doing in the near future.

One of the first things I was struck by, as I shook a few dozen hands and tried to commit the corresponding names to memory, was how enthusiastic everyone was. From post supervisor to production coordinator, every person at the office cares about the projects and their personal involvement in them. I’m excited to be a part of this positive culture as I take the first step towards my goal of being an editor.

Robbie_0524
A stylish and fuel-efficient way to get around a spread out city.

I’ll end this post with some of my initial impressions and musings. Before last week, I had only been to LA for 4 days (not counting the wedding I went to when I was a toddler), so everything at every turn was completely novel. I thought my Spanish would improve after moving here, but I’ve quickly learned that every word of Spanish origin has been horrendously mangled in its anglicization. The immediate next thing I noticed was the immense number of businesses, tourist traps, highway billboards, and overall culture that are related in some way to the film industry. Third were the mountains: even if some are really just glorified hills, they rattled (hopefully not like any earthquakes I may experience) my Floridian reliance on flat ground. All three were perceived as I crawled along the 101, the first time of many. But since I have a new Prius C as my mode of transportation, my inevitable gas guzzling habits should be kept in check.

But wait, there’s more! I’d like to leave you with my parting wisdom of the day. Every connection matters. No matter where the person is in the industry hierarchy, he or she has the potential to help you. If someone offers assistance, advice, or just a coffee meetup, take advantage of the opportunity. You’ll also be surprised how small a world it is, even in a giant city. You’ll meet fellow Northwestern alumni or people from your faraway hometown. LA isn’t as scary as it’s made out to be. Based on my first week and a half here, I’ll even venture to call it fun.

Robbie Stern is a recent graduate of the School of Communication and majored in RTVF. He now works for Abominable Pictures.

Adventures of an EPICS Intern in LA: The Dreams (Transformations) Start Here!

By: Troy Quezada

Troy is currently a senior, working in LA during fall quarter 2012, & enrolled in the EPICS Academic Internship Program.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I arrived in the City of Angels (alternatively, City of Big Paychecks) , and I still have to constantly remind myself of the good fortune I have to be able to participate in a program such as the one EPICS offers. Over the next three blog posts (if I had more, I’d turn this into a dramatic novel, complete with characters and instances of hitting cars while trying to parallel park… oh, wait…) I will try to paint a complete picture of what it is like to live and work in Los Angeles over the course of a quarter, so that hopefully you all can apply and have this really great experience.

I’ll start the blog by giving some background into my internships (that is, after all, why I am here). I was extremely fortunate to get two internships. Many hard August application days later, I am pulling double duty, working five days-a-week (eight hours-a-day), yet, I couldn’t be happier. The first is at an active (two films since August and one this month) acquisitions-oriented distribution company (they don’t produce films, but buy pictures that are already made or have cast/director commitments). I am an acquisitions and distribution intern. So far in my time at the company, I have covered scripts, filled in for a sick receptionist and a vacant executive assistant position, input box office reports and researched current films for the company’s acquisition-deal list.

The other position is in film development at a director’s production company in Santa Monica, so, while it moves a little slower, it still offers me the opportunity to see both sides of the business, so to speak. I do a lot of reading at this internship, so if you are interested in anything film-related, you should actually know that reading is a major component of it, so if you’re like me and can tear through the next Percy Jackson book in a week, than, by all means, knock yourself out!

By far the the greatest thing about this internship is that I’ve already gotten more real-life experience than I ever thought possible, and I continue to learn more; it really is an invaluable opportunity that should absolutely be mandatory in at least one way because, in this business, contacts are important, and so many come from simple day-to-day interaction. I don’t think I’ve even been to a formal occasion where I’ve had to “network.” Still, especially when I was a receptionist at the acquisitions company, I had the opportunity to see and meet everyone who would walk by the desk, most of which were executives in different departments.

I, unfortunately, have heard horror stories of people who have done internships that seem solely invested in paper-pushing, or in grabbing coffee for the executives. But I challenge you to rethink that presumption because, if you show your supervisors what makes Northwestern students so awesome, it’s only a matter of time until you begin proving to them that Northwestern students are among the hardest workers in all of showbiz (or at least among the colleges known for churning out excellent film kids). At my production internship, my supervisor makes it her mission to help the interns learn. Rather than start you off immediately when you begin the internship, she gives you samples of everything you need to learn; afterwards, you discuss them. On coverage (summarizing and giving your thoughts on a script), she will go over your coverage for you, seemingly making it her goal to make the internship truly a learning experience. The bottom line is that internships are LEARNING experiences!

I’ll touch base on this a little more in my next entry but, if anything else, the internship program should be appealing to you if not for the fact that it is in Los Angeles! So, to put it another way, when it is in the 40s at night in September, I’m wearing shorts and getting sunburns! It’s the land of endless summer, and I almost feel like the weather is conducive to getting work done. It mellows you out. It all boils down to a simple question: if offered an opportunity to change your college experience and make it even more unique would you?