Students present on summer internships in Los Angeles

The summer program in Los Angeles concludes with reports on entertainment industry internships.

The 37 students participating in the fifth year of the Elon in Los Angeles summer program had a chance to tell their fellow students about experiences they had in a wide variety of internship positions.

All of the students complete internships in the program along with taking classes in cinema production, acting or entertainment/public relations. In addition, the students team up to produce short films as part of their simulated production company, “Climbing the LAdder.”

Internship experiences ranged from small start-up companies to major international film companies. Some students worked in the music industry while others worked in social media companies, devising ways to market their client’s work through viral campaigns and “sizzle” videos on YouTube.

Kara Johnson and Daniel Quackenbush produced promotional videos for the Los Angeles Film Festival.

“We were responsible for going to the festival events and interviewing directors and actors and then editing short highlight videos,” Johnson said. “I got everything I wanted and more out of this internship. I wanted to shoot and edit in my internship and I got to do exactly that. I also got to interview celebrities on the red carpet and shoot a Q&A with (producer) Aaron Sorkin for the premier of “The Newsroom.” They actually used my footage to make the HBO first-look five minute preview.”

Conor Ambrose was an intern in the promotions department at the Warner Bros. Music Group, building a radio station database and talking with disk jockeys. “I created a weekly hotsheet and then I created the college blog network,” Ambrose said. “I reached out to people in the college music scene and now there are more than 20 people who are contributing to the blog.”

Hannah Tripp worked with Bogner Entertainment, a production company of Freemantle Media. “They threw me right in and I started casting,” Tripp said. “Then I offered to edit a sizzle reel and ended up editing four reels.

Other companies that hosted Elon interns this summer included More Media, RPM Talent Agency, Liz Lewis Casting Partners, JS2 Communications, The Premier Talent Group, Trailer Park, The House of Reps, Scout Productions, Fifteen Minutes PR, Mavrick Artists Agency, the Osbrink Agency, Caliber Media Inc., Discovery Channel, Ellen Rakieten Entertainment, Urban Icon, NFL Network, What’s Trending, Fanmanager, Beachmint, Davidson & Choy Publicity and ES Audio Services.

Following the internship presentations the students held the final class sessions of the summer at the American Film Institute and the Howard Fine Acting Studios.

Elon in LA program director J. McMerty worked with students in the production course and discussed the creative process, while Brad Lemack, a 32-year veteran of the talent and public relations business in Los Angeles, wrapped up his course titled “Entertainment, PR and Unit Publicity.”

Lemack said the students were “shell shocked” when they first arrived in California and had to adjust to a new environment and begin internships. They soon learned the rhythm of the city and gained confidence.

Lemack says his goal is to teach students how to apply what they learn academically in the real world.

“The Elon students are quite serious about their education,” Lemack said. “They don’t come here with stars in their eyes. They’re grounded in their academics, which is great. I’m so high on this program. There’s a quality and support from the administration that is unique.”

At the Howard Fine Acting Studio, 40-year veteran actress and acting teacher Marilyn McIntyre worked with students on short exercises in front of a video camera. They were given just a few minutes to practice their scripts, similar to the experience they will have at casting calls. Later the students will have a chance to view the videos on YouTube and critique their performances. 

Mcintyre said the students come to Los Angeles with a good deal of formal acting training for the stage but have to adjust to acting for the camera.

“They’re surprised at first,” McIntyre said. “But by the end of the nine weeks, their theatre work improves because the camera work has made their acting sharper. Some of them change profoundly in their acting ability.”