Summer Internship at Groundswell: Austin Dunn
This past summer Film Studies and English double major, Austin Dunn, spent time in California as part of an internship at Groundswell Productions. "Groundswell Productions is an independent production company founded by Michael London in February 2006 and headquartered in West Los Angeles." (Groundswell) Upon his return Austin shared his feedback on his internship so that other students could learn from his experience. One important factor for Austin's internship was his ability to use funds from the STEP Program (https://step.osu.edu/) to help support his time in Los Angeles.
We asked Austin to share his thoughts on a few questions regarding his internship experience, which you can read below.
When do you plan to graduate and what is your major(s)/minor(s)?
I plan to graduate May 2019 after the Spring Semester. I will graduate as a double-major in English Creative Writing and Film Studies with a focus in Screenwriting.
What brought you to Film Studies/ got you interested in film?
Originally, I started my college career in Biochemistry. Around the spring semester of my first year, I realized writing was my passion and decided to switch into English to apply for the Creative Writing Concentration. I first got into Film Studies when the program unveiled the Screenwriting minor. Immediately, I fell in love with film courses after my History of World Cinema class; the visual and narrative elements of films were similar to how I thought through my own stories. Eventually, through different avenues of interest, I found my way into screenwriting for television. From there, I decided to pursue the film major and a career in Television Writing.
Are there any faculty/staff who mentored you during your time or whose courses you specifically enjoyed?
My two main mentors here on campus were Andy Rose and Angus Fletcher. I took Rose's Screenwriting and the Business of Cinema course last spring, which taught both the formatting of screenplays and practical side to the industry. Rose's class was fundamental to securing my internship and I used his script coverage format for my writing samples that I sent to Groundswell. Angus Fletcher was also a wonderful mentor–his unorthodox class style creates the perfect method for workshopping scripts and exploring narratives. Professor Fletcher had great resources for discovering storytelling and finding internships in the film industry; he was always willing to set up a phone call to talk through the process. To any future students in the Film Studies Program who want to study screenwriting, or those who simply want to get into the industry: I recommend reaching out to these professors.
Where is your current Internship (City Location and Company)?
My internship was at Groundswell Productions, which is an independent film financing company in Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA. Groundswell is involved in finding and optioning scripts for the industry–primarily in television. They currently have three shows in production: SMILF on Showtime, Snowfall on Fx, and The Magicians on Syfy.
What advice would you give to current Film Studies students seeking an internship?
I recommend starting early, having a plan, and sticking to it. I went to Matt Swift early on in my Spring semester to discuss options for summer internships. There, we set up a plan to scout out production companies, call the offices, and attempt to apply to as many as possible. The process took the entire spring and I didn't find out about the internship until later in May. So my advice is this: be patient, be persistent. Each production company and studio has its own time table for the internship process; however, I noticed that larger studios and production companies will typically seek to finalize their interns closer towards the start of spring semester, while smaller places–like Groundswell–look for interns much later. Had I not followed up with Groundswell a month after applying and reminded them of my submission, it's likely I would have not obtained the position. So don't get discouraged, keep being tenacious, and make it happen.