Intern Insider: Wilson begins chasing her Hollywood dream
If you walk around the offices of Martin Chase Productions, a small subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, you'll see office labels in the shape of Mickey Mouse ears, you'll notice posters from several popular Disney movies, and you'll pass by animations drawn on the wall. It's the dream environment for junior media arts & entertainment major Asha Wilson, a lifelong Disney fan and intern with the production company.
Wilson is one of two interns at Martin Chase, a five-person production house started by producer Debra Martin Chase. The company has produced films, such as “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and “The Cheetah Girls.” Wilson completes standard intern jobs—organizing receipts, compiling lists and informational packets—and some more important assignments—writing script coverage up to twice a day.
No matter the task, Wilson says she works quickly and efficiently. And her work has been noticed by the big boss.
“I’m an overachiever,” she says. “When I first started, I got a lot of typical intern tasks, but I finished them so quickly, (my supervisor) ended up giving me things he needed to do. I actually didn’t meet Debra until (recently) because she was in Canada (shooting a film). She said, ‘I’ve heard great things about you.’ As far as I know, I’m doing a good job.”
Wilson says she’s never been particularly interested in producing feature films. She has visions of working as a television writer and producer. But her internship with Martin Chase has allowed her to view the profession through the eyes of both a writer and a producer.
“I really wanted to get an internship in production instead of writing because I hadn’t had much experience in production,” she says. “It’s helpful to see what kinds of notes producers give writers on how to fix their scripts and how to make things easier and cheaper for filming. Ultimately, I was hoping to get a great learning experience, which I’ve already gotten.”
Wilson, who’s completing her internship in Los Angeles as part of the Elon in LA program, got her shot because her stepfather’s boarding school buddy knows Chase. Wilson emailed her resume to the friend, and an internship coordinator for Martin Chase Productions set up an interview with Wilson.
She had the interview in April and the following week she had an internship.
“Once I actually got in touch with them, it was a pretty quick process,” she says. “I was so excited, I immediately accepted as soon as I got the email. I was in my apartment, and Isaid, ‘Oh, my God! Disney!’”
Wilson counts extracurriculars and classes as important preparation for her internship. She worked on a TV show at Elon, which gave her insight on how to manage a larger group of people. She also credits her Cinema Production course with assistant professor and Hollywood veteran Paul Castro as a major contributor to her quick assimilation to Los Angeles.
“I was happy I got to take the course before I came out here,” Wilson says. “I actually knew what I was talking about. The Elon courses have definitely helped.”
In a month, Wilson will bid farewell to her internship and to the Disney accouterment that adorns the walls. She’ll remember those mementos fondly, but she may reflect more readily on the photos that decorate Chase’s office. They show her with actors and actresses. They’re tangible representations of success. And they remind Wilson of where she wants to be in a few short years.
“This has been my first internship in the field I want to enter,” she says. “It really makes me want to work that much harder because hopefully I’ll be invited back to Martin Chase Productions next summer. Actually being out in Los Angeles, especially doing an internship in what you’re interested in, it pushes you because I’m around so many successful people. It just makes me think, ‘Oh, my gosh. I need to work so hard to get where (Chase) is. Being out here, you want to work that much harder.”