Grady InternViews: Taylor Shults

Grady InternViews: Taylor Shults

July 20, 2023

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.  

Taylor Shults is a third-year Entertainment and Media Studies student interning with the Producers Guild of America. Read on as she provides insight into what this internship looks like.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

I am a summer intern at the Producers Guild of America. Most of my work is for the arbitration department. I create and edit documents that are used in the vetting process when awarding the p.g.a. mark for soon-to-be-released films. This helps to combat the major industry issues of vanity credits and how they dilute what the term producer really means. I also support the membership team by going through potential candidates, organizing information and finding supporting documentation for the application process. On top of this, I occasionally work with the other interns to do a variety of needed projects. They can range from creating a graphic for upcoming events or updating tabs on rising filmmakers who could be future guild members.

What does the structure of your internship look like?

My internship is part-time and virtual. I have a check-in meeting with my supervisor at the beginning of the week, just to make sure I am not feeling overwhelmed or am needing more work. The PGA is really good at making sure their interns are well supported both emotionally and professionally. I work Tuesdays and Thursdays 9-5. The other interns and I send check-in emails to all the heads of departments, and from there we wait for work to be sent to us.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

Finding a balance between my two internships, coursework, and the ability to explore Los Angeles has been extremely challenging. I think the new environment is so expansive that it can be overwhelming, but I am getting the hang of it.

What has been your favorite part about your internship so far? Tell us a story if you have one!
Photo of student holding an oscar in front of the walt disney archives
Shults travels to the Walt Disney Archives during her time in LA. (Photo: Submitted)

I really love being able to see the impact my work is having on the credits of major motion pictures. Almost all major pictures go through our arbitration vetting. (It is basically mandatory if they want to be in the running for the Academy Awards.) It’s really cool to process the documents for the films and then scan the credits for the p.g.a. mark. I’ve seen more films in theaters on the Grady LA program than I usually see in half a year, and every time, I stay back to watch for the mark. It might not mean much to the average viewer, but to me it’s proof, I am starting to make my way in the industry.

How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?

The EMST Intro Industries class provided a great baseline of knowledge to pull from. I am confident that I can hold a conversation with an industry professional on almost all the hot topics right now. Without that course, I would feel like I had no standing to even be talking to anyone about the entertainment field.

What’s your advice to other students looking for a similar opportunity?

Reach out to your peers and UGA grads! Going into the internship hunt, I spent a lot of time talking to UGA students who interned in LA. They knew exactly what challenges I would face and gave me tips on how to overcome them. Everyone at Grady really wants to help each other. We also have a large group of alumni who want to talk to students and share their knowledge. Take advantage of this!

How will this role guide your future career path?

As a PGA intern, I get to peek behind the curtain to see how the Producers Guild operates. I hope to be a PGA member later in my career, so I can see this background helping immensely in how I will take advantage of the membership benefits. In fact, I have access to some member-only resources to learn from and hone my own producer skills. Additionally, I am getting a deeper understanding of how the PGA fits into the scheme of the industry. We’re in a really interesting time in the entertainment field. Massive changes are happening, and I get a front-row seat to how producers are reacting.

Four students holding a Grady College flag pose in front of the Hollywood sign
Shults enjoys traveling around Los Angeles during her time with Grady in LA. (Photo: Submitted)
What’s your career goal?

Film/Television Producer

What lessons will you take back with you to the classroom in the fall?

Ask questions. The only way to learn is to recognize what you don’t know and ask someone who does. You would be shocked at how many people want to help. The worst that can happen from asking is you have to ask someone else.

How has this role helped you discover what you are passionate about?

My role has definitely solidified the fact that I really enjoy the support that goes into the creative processes of the entertainment industry. I am a double major in business management, and my business side really loves a good spreadsheet. I now see there is a grand variety of ways my skills can be used to help beyond the making of films.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Breathe. You’re going to be put into situations that are not ideal, but that is a part of life. If you do not push beyond your comfort zone, you will never grow. It will suck for a bit, but keep your cool and breathe. You might even find something you did not notice before.