Grady InternViews: Darby Taylor

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

Darby is participating in the Grady LA field study and internship program. She has two internships, one as a development intern for Temple Hill Entertainment, and another as an intern for the Producer’s Guild of America.

Briefly describe your internships and responsibilities.

At Temple Hill Entertainment, I perform coverage on screenplays, pilots, and book manuscripts to assess whether the material is worth developing into television or film content. I read the material, write up a synopsis, comment on pacing, characterization, tone, and plot, and then recommend a decision for the creative executives. I also sit in on development meetings, which provide me insight and a better understanding of the film and television landscape.

At the Producer’s Guild of America, I create materials to streamline and assist with the Guild’s ‘mark arbitration’ process. I conduct research projects to verify producing credits for Guild membership, update databases, and identify potential films for the awards season.

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

Both of my internships have confirmed my passion for the entertainment industry and that I want to be involved in the creation of television shows and films. Working at Temple Hill and the Producer’s Guild has given me an insight to two very different sides of the industry, and validated my passion for the industry and desire to work behind-the-scenes to bring certain stories to life.

How will this role guide your future career path?

Ultimately, my dream career is to get into post-production, or editing for film or television. I believe that when working on such a big and collaborative team as film crews, it’s integral to understand all aspects of the industry in order to make the production process smoother. As a future editor, I now know what parts of a script are significant enough to include in the final cut, as well as which team players have the most creative control over a project’s vision.

What advice would you give to students who are looking to pursue similar opportunities?

Networking is the best way to get your foot in the industry. Start reaching out to UGA alumni and other industry professionals as soon as possible, such as through LinkedIn or the UGA Mentor Program. When reaching out, it’s best to be authentic, intentional and respectful. Be honest, do your research beforehand, and thank people for their time. Although it can be scary, people want to help you and give advice based on their own experiences in the industry.

What has been your favorite part about your internship so far?

My favorite part about my Temple Hill internship is getting to provide my own opinion and experiences to the company. My perspective as a young student is welcomed with open arms, as I am encouraged to participate in staff meetings, give honest feedback about potential scripts and books, and discuss my favorite content with other interns and executives.

My favorite part about my internship with the Producer’s Guild is getting an insight to the industry from the unique perspective of a trade association. I have a better understanding to what all goes into film production through the producer’s role and what needs to be kept in mind when applying for the Producer’s Guild of America mark or membership to the Guild.

Darby is participating in the Grady L.A. program. (Photo:submitted)
How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?

The ‘writing for entertainment media’ class I took taught me a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in a script. We read and critiqued many scripts, gaining an understanding to critical story elements such as character development, beats, tone and pacing. This class has made the coverage process a lot smoother, because I can easily differentiate my personal feelings on a piece of material and the actual elements that build a story.

Planning and helping on student short films through the production basics and cinematography classes I’ve taken have given me a brief insight to the effort that goes into feature filmmaking. My internship at the Producer’s Guild has taught me just how massive the crews behind our favorite films are and how much producers have to balance in order to bring certain visions to life.

 

Grady InternViews: Demi Lehman

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

Demi is participating in the Grady LA field study and internship program. She has two internships, one as a development intern for the Motion Picture Corporation of America, and another as a casting trainee with David Kang Casting.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

David Kang Casting focuses primarily on casting music videos, commercials, film, and digital content. Their previous projects include casting for Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Bad Blood” music videos and Katy Perry’s “Roar” music video. Some of my responsibilities include writing and posting character breakdowns to casting websites, reviewing auditions, and communicating with producers and talent.

The Motion Picture Corporation of America (MCPA) is a production company that has produced a wide array of films from Dumb and Dumber to Netflix’s The Princess Switch series starring Vanessa Hudgens. As an intern, I am responsible for reading and covering scripts, assisting in making pitch decks, and social media and agency outreach.

Demi is interning in Los Angeles, California for David Kang Casting and the Motion Picture Corporation of America. (Photo:submitted)
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do more than you’re required to. Your supervisors want you to learn and make the most of your time, so they will appreciate it when you take initiative.

What about this position has surprised you?

For both of my internships, everyone has been so flexible and open with catering my responsibilities to my interests, as well as making sure I am getting what I want out of the internship. I wasn’t expecting there to be this much flexibility in the industry, especially at the intern level, so I have appreciated their efforts to adapt to my interests and needs.

How will this role guide your future career path?

My supervisor at my casting internship knows I have a background in acting, and that I want to pursue acting professionally when I graduate. Because of this, she has encouraged me to audition for our company’s casting calls that fit my demographics to get practice and get seen by L.A. producers and directors. I wasn’t expecting that I would be able to be both a casting assistant and actor at the same time, so this has been an amazing discovery to learn it’s possible to do both. Even if I decide to stop pursing acting, I love getting to work in casting to help uplift other actors following their dreams.

What has been your favorite part about your internship so far?

At both of my internships, my favorite part has been getting to connect with new people. I have met so many kind and hardworking individuals who are happy to share their knowledge and experiences in the industry with me. I also enjoy getting to know the other interns I’m working with and building a network for myself to have for when I am out of school.

What advice would you give to students who are looking to pursue similar opportunities?

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting offers immediately when you’re just starting out on the internship hunt. I remember being confident I would find something in two weeks, when it actually ended up taking me about three months and reaching out to over a hundred people. Networking and prospecting takes time, so start early – but don’t consider how long it takes as an indicator of your self-worth.

Grady students making the most of their summer L.A. experience

Halfway through the summer term, students in the Grady LA Field Study and Internship Program have been in the thick of the media-entertainment industry and cultural life of Los Angeles.

Not only have they been working three days a week at their media-entertainment company internships, but their internship experience has been framed by an accompanying course on media industries taught by Kate Fortmueller, an assistant professor in the Entertainment and Media Studies department, and a host of often exclusive events and excursions.

Presentations by highly placed industry guests have enriched their class. Producer and new-media pioneer George Kimmel talked about the influence of digital production and distribution. Director David Martín-Porras talked about the filmmaking process, working on indie productions and living a life as a creative. Television producer and transmedia pioneer (“Smallville”, “Heroes”, “East Los High”) Mark Warshaw (a Grady graduate) discussed the expansion of media narratives into multiplatform, user-driven experiences. Writer/director Kate Barker-Froyland talked about making her new film, “Song One”, and composer Victor Hernández gave students an inside view of film scoring.

Special-effects testing for The Chain, a feature film in production in Los Angeles. Looking on (far left) are Grady LA students Kimmy Baker and Trey Leonard.
Special-effects testing for The Chain, a feature film in production in Los Angeles. Looking on (far left) are Grady LA students Kimmy Baker and Trey Leonard.

In addition to touring the Warner Bros. and Fox studios, students attended special screenings of the film “The Bad Batch” and a Q&A with writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour, and an advance screening of “Spiderman: Homecoming.” They also attended a screening of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” with live orchestra accompaniment outdoors at the Hollywood Bowl.

Off-site excursions have also enriched students’ experience. These include a tour of the Writers Guild of America script library along with access to two on-site professional seminars, and a visit to the set of “The Chain,” a feature film currently in production and co-written by Grady LA instructor Andres Rosende.

At the end of a hike to the top of Mount Lee, with the Hollywood sign, Hollywood and Los Angeles in the background. From left: students John Buckley and Christina Kohler, assistant professor Kate Fortmueller, and instructor Andres Rosende.

Students have also experienced the broader cultural life of L.A. They visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (hosted by UGA graduate (’07 and ’17) Caroline Maddox), attended free morning rehearsals of the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and visited The Broad, a contemporary art museum in downtown L.A.

In their spare time, they have hiked 4.6 miles on a Saturday morning to the Hollywood sign, plus explored the greater Southern California area during the long July 4th holiday weekend.

Grady LA is a summer internship/study program in Los Angeles. Students spend eight weeks in LA working as interns for companies in the entertainment industry. In addition, they take Entertainment and Media Studies courses for a combined total of six credit hours.

Each week, students hear from guest speakers including studio executives, animators, directors, screenwriters, agents and other key industry players. In addition, students tour various studio and production facilities in Los Angeles to gain an insider’s perspective into the industry.

Grady students make their mark in Los Angeles

Students enrolled in the Grady LA Field Study and Internship Program for 2017 have hit the ground running.

They have spent their first week in their course on media entertainment industries, taught by Kate Fortmueller, assistant professor of EMST. They have also started their internships in LA-area companies such as CNN, Vox Entertainment, Tuff Gong International, The Tennis Channel and Kinetic Content.

EMST Department Head Jay Hamilton (far left) and Grady LA students enjoyed networking with Grady and UGA alumni at the UGA in LA reception June 8, 2017.
EMST Department Head Jay Hamilton (far left) and Grady LA students enjoyed networking with Grady and UGA alumni at the UGA in LA reception June 8, 2017.

But they’ve also had time to explore what LA has to offer. An informal evening social event brought together Grady LA students, EMST alumni and EMST friends. Grady LA students were featured in another UGA Alumni evening social event held at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

Among the optional excursions the first week was a premiere and social event to support UGA alum Tamlin Hall, whose film, “Holden On,” made its West Coast premiere; a tour of classic Hollywood and LA movie theaters downtown; and an evening showing under the stars of the movie “Princess Bride” high above the city in Griffith Park at the Autry Museum of the American West.

Grady LA is a summer internship/study program in Los Angeles. Students spend eight weeks in LA working as interns for companies in the entertainment industry. In addition, they take Entertainment and Media Studies courses for a combined total of six credit hours.

Each week, students hear from guest speakers including studio executives, animators, directors, screenwriters, agents and other key industry players. In addition, students tour various studio and production facilities in Los Angeles to gain an insider’s perspective into the industry.