Between cast parties, film premieres, and meetings with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, Michael DeRosa ’16 is enjoying the perks that come with interning for Paramount Pictures, one of the biggest film studios in Hollywood, Calif. Whether he’s meeting the cast of “American Horror Story” or exploring Nickelodeon Studios, DeRosa is taking full advantage of the opportunity to break into the film industry as a summer intern in the human resources department.
“The overall experience at Paramount Pictures has been a competitive, challenging, and exciting learning experience,” says DeRosa, a double major in media and society and anthropology. “In general, Paramount Pictures has a great internship program that is packed with interesting events, speakers, shows, mixers and projects that are extremely eye-opening and insightful. You never know who you are going to run into on the lot.”
As an intern for the Department of Diversity and Inclusion, DeRosa is working with the human resources department to help oversee and manage seven employee research groups (ERG) that pertain to different demographics, such as race or personal identity. He explains that the groups serve as a way for employees of similar interests to interact with one another and get involved.
DeRosa’s responsibilities include a varied array of daily and weekly tasks that have required him to employ his studies in both media and society and anthropology. His day-to-day tasks range from designing an advertisment in Photoshop for an upcoming ERG event, creating PowerPoint presentations, and updating excel sheets to preparing for an ERG event, photographing the event, and cleaning up afterwards.
With two to four events to attend each week, many including professional speakers, DeRosa says there’s no typical day and he’s always busy. As an intern, he’s required to attend weekly events specific to interns. This includes working with a small group of interns to create a film, which must be completed in a little over a month and is judged by Paramount executives at the end of the internship.
Interns also attend speaker series events, where professionals who work in the entertainment industry share their personal journeys, give advice on how to build a career, and provide insight into their current jobs. For DeRosa, who sees every opportunity as a learning experience, this has been his favorite part of the internship.
“Getting the internship is just the first step,” he says. “Actually applying yourself and going out of your way to meet with people, going about things in a non-conventional way in order to be different, and not being afraid to make mistakes and ask for advice are some of the things I have learned while being at Paramount. All of this is a learning opportunity.”
And it’s the interdisciplinary nature of his studies at HWS that he attributes to teaching him the importance of networking, thinking creatively, and boosting his confidence to succeed in one of the toughest industries. He says his courses have given him the industry specific skills needed to succeed at the internship, but also that his anthropology and media and society majors have helped him become more “culturally aware” of all the different aspects that go into understanding a work environment.
“My time at HWS has helped me become more culturally and socially aware of boundaries that are important to know when talking to people from various backgrounds,” says DeRosa. “My media and society major has also given me insight on how films, shows, and videos are created as well as the tools and techniques used, and how to think critically.”
Although unsure of what to expect when applying for the position, DeRosa says he couldn’t have asked for a better internship. Not only has he experienced the inner-workings of the industry, but he’ll return to HWS in the fall with a better idea of what he has to work on, what he’s interested in, and how to get a job in the future.
DeRosa is a recipient of the Geneva Scholarship Associates (GSA) endowed scholarship.