One of the goals of the Colleges’ Los Angeles: Behind the Scenes program is to provide students with an entryway into the media industry by giving them the opportunity to network with alums in the field. For Jillian Collins ’15, however, just networking wasn’t enough. She returned from the trip with invaluable connections to top companies, firsthand insight into the industry, and most importantly, a summer internship.
Collins spent her summer in Los Angeles interning with QED International, a leading independent motion picture production, financing, and sales distribution company focused on bringing high quality films and entertainment to the worldwide marketplace. QED International’s films include “District 9” and “The Lucky Ones,” in addition to their current projects, “Rock the Kasbah” and “Fury.”
As a film production intern, Collins’ tasks spanned a range of skills and knowledge that helped her to gain valuable insight into what goes into production on a day-to-day basis. Working under the guidance of QED’s director for production and development, her responsibilities included script coverage; updating and compiling talent lists of directors, writers, and actors; updating the production binder of “Rock the Kasbah;” and keeping track of industry news. It’s these experiences that Collins says gave her an all-encompassing look at the distribution, development and financing of a film.
“I am currently experiencing the business side of movie making,” said Collins, a media and society major. “This is my first job in the entertainment business, so I’m really happy for the opportunity to get my feet wet.”
The Los Angeles: Behind the Scenes program was established five years ago by Associate Professor of English Elisabeth Lyon, Professor of Media and Society Lester Friedman and Professor of English Grant Holly, in conjunction with Brandi Ferrara, director of the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education. The program aims to provide students with insight into the industry and also tie alums back to the Colleges.
During the program, students have an opportunity to meet with alums like Warren Littlefield ‘74, developer of the award-winning shows, “Cheers,” “The Cosby Show,” and “The Golden Girls;” Brad Falchuck ’93, L.H.D. ’14, co-creator, writer, executive producer and director of the Fox series “Glee” and co-creator, executive producer and writer of FX network’s “American Horror Story;” and Chris Adelmann ’77, executive vice president of business development for LiveNation.
Though the Los Angeles experience has been ongoing, this year marked the inaugural Career and Internship Connections Career Fair, where Collins says she landed a job.
“We did nothing special for Jillian,” says Friedman. “She was so impressive they hired her on the spot. We just put the students in contact with our alums.” Friedman says that not only are internships in the media industry vital for students looking to break into the field, but that the best media internships, “let you do a whole variety of jobs.”
On campus, Collins works in both Career Services and Student Activities. In addition to her campus work experiences, Collins has been able to utilize learning from her film classes. From addressing themes and genres to lessons on log lines and story arcs, Collins has been able to take classroom lessons and apply them to the real-world situations she’s faced with on a daily basis.
“The HWS Los Angeles program was an incredible opportunity,” says Collins. “By meeting influential alums in television, news, film and music, I narrowed down my career goals. All of the alums had great advice on how to reach my goals.”
Collins’ dream to one day become a producer may not be so far out of reach. It would not be possible, however, without the Los Angeles trip hosted by Professor Friedman and the Career Services department, she says.