Internships: Student Testimonials

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Read about past internship experiences, advice, and testimonials from 

OSU Film Studies and Moving-Image Production students and alumni.

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Click to read film industry internship testimonials and advice from OSU film students:

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Austin Dunn: Double major: Film Studies and English Creative Writing; focus in Screenwriting. 

Austin Dunn
[Austin in the conference room at Groundswell]

Read about Austin’s advice and experience: 

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.

My two main mentors here on campus were Andy Rose and Angus Fletcher. I took Screenwriting and the Business of Cinema course, which taught both the formatting of screenplays and practical side to the industry. That class was fundamental to securing my internship and I used our 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. 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.

My internship was at Groundswell Productions, which is an independent film financing company in Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA. One important factor was the ability to use funds from the STEP Program (https://step.osu.edu/) to help support time in Los Angeles.  Groundswell is involved in finding and optioning scripts for the industry–primarily in television, including Snowfall on FX, and The Magicians on Syfy.

Groundswell logo

Austin's advice for any students that want to pursue an internship in film:

For Film Studies students, I recommend starting early, having a plan, and sticking to it...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 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!

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Lauren Younkin: English major, minors in Screenwriting and Classics.

Read about Lauren's advice and experience: 

I started off at OSU in the Exploration program, as I had no idea which programs would be a good fit for me. I officially became an English major my 2nd year, and picked up my minors in Screenwriting and Classics later that year as well. 

I’ve loved TV and movies my whole life, and when I took Intro to Film as a GE course my freshman year I learned how much went into making visual media, including writing.

Angus Fletcher was a film studies professor of mine for a screenwriting course, and has been one of my favorites at OSU. I was incredibly impressed at his ability to break down a story.

Hollywood sign

During the summer of 2018 Lauren took advantage of two separate opportunities at The Ohio State University: the English Department’s Literary Locations Program in London and a summer internship with funding from the Brian Mehling Fund for Internships in the Film Industry. Lauren spent the month of May in London then within a week of returning state side, she began her summer internship at Silver Pictures production company in Santa Monica, California. Silver Pictures is known for such classics as Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Road House, and The Matrix. During her time at Silver Pictures, Lauren participated in clerical support roles but her primary responsibility was in the development area, working specifically on the intake, reading, and processing of possible literary content to be optioned and produced. She confessed that this internship helped her focus on what the development side of the film industry is, and she hopes to pursue a career in this area.

Silver Pictures

Lauren's advice for any students that want to pursue an internship in film:

Don’t be afraid to seek out learning opportunities and creative funding.

I was able to secure funding through the English Department for study abroad and from the Brian Mehling Fund for the internship. I would also look into alternative grants and scholarships offered through the College of Arts and Sciences. Another scholarship of interest is the FRANCILLE M. FIREBAUGH STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIP which helps with funding students to study abroad during their undergraduate career.

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John Rolston: Film Studies major, Screenwriting minor

Rolston
[John on the lot at NE/Trium Entertainment]

Read about John’s advice and experience: 

I had been decided on Film Studies since I was younger; I have always had a passion for film, television, and most importantly great storytelling. I did not change my course of study but the Screenwriting minor was finally added into the curriculum in my 2nd or 3rd semester.

I have always been fascinated by the way cinema is able to convey vast amounts of information in a limited period of time; specifically utilizing visuals to convey pertinent character traits and plot details rather than just spelling everything out in the dialogue.

Cinematography is another crucial element of film that really pulled me into the world of Film Studies. The way a film is shot, edited, and uses lighting is absolutely crucial to the visual appeal of a film as well as conveying emotions or a theme.

Every single professor/instructor at OSU has been incredible to learn…there are a few instructors I must commend for helping me find my own motivation and realize my craft. I took a story development class with Professor Angus Fletcher and it taught me how to properly build a narrative as well as a world that audience can connect with and want to engage in. He was also one of my primary encouragers to pursue an internship in Los Angeles and gave me confidence that I could achieve this goal. In Spring 2017, I actually took two separate classes with Mr. Andrew Rose: the business of Film and TV Screenwriting. Mr. Rose taught me the business side of the industry and the intricacies of it all. He also helped me to enhance my script development: teaching me how to properly format a script for TV or Film as well as the supplemental materials to help keep your story on track (i.e. step outlines, treatments, TV series bibles, etc.)

In 2017, I was a Creative Development intern at INE/Trium Entertainment based in Studio City, California. Fortunately, I had experience in an office environment before so I was able to assimilate rather quickly at work and excel at my daily, primary assignments. Living in Los Angeles is definitely different than Columbus, but it is not as tough to get around as I thought. I was fortunate enough to get an apartment about 4 miles from my internship, so worst case scenario I have a thirty minute drive to work. With a traffic jam or not, it is crucial to just accept the fact that you are going to be stuck in traffic and be perfectly fine with it [because it’s LA!]. Food costs are roughly the same (excluding dining out) but the biggest differences in living cost are easily rent and gas: it’s certainly not as cheap as Ohio but it’s manageable. Rent is just always going to be ridiculously expensive compared to Ohio but in my case I have great roommates and a rooftop pool that we take advantage of daily which makes our rent very worth it.

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John's advice for any students that want to pursue an internship in film:

1) Get any and all experience on your resume. Prior to my internship, I only had experience working on a music video shoot and shadowing the producer at the 2016 Heisman Trophy Presentation. Find any opportunities to get some experience on your resume; in the TV/Film Industry, experience is important!

2) Earn good grades. I made the Dean’s List which helped show I am a hard and dedicated worker as well as willing to put in the long hours to get it right.

3) Network, and if interested, subscribe to an account on EntertainmentCareers.net. This website is how I found my current internship and how I applied to most of the internships I found online. I believe it was $25 for 3 months but you can upload your resume and cover letter directly to the site. Most companies will allow you to apply through this website and it only takes minutes to apply. I changed each cover letter to correspond with the specific company and position I was applying for. I applied to over 50 different Film/TV Internships and only heard back from 4 or 5! But this is the standard for working in the industry so be prepared to get rejected or simply not hear anything back which is what happens most of the time.

4) Have a positive social media presence (Linkedin, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Handshake). It might seem obvious, or strange to some like me, but social media is now essential to building your career. The inevitably of social media’s importance in the career space has become fundamental and not utilizing platforms can limit the amount of connections you can make. Your social media page(s) will not land you an internship, but it is a supplement to give your potential employers more to look at should they want to.

5) Apply for the Brian Mehling Endowment Fund Grant. Should you get hired for an internship in Film or Television, definitely take the time to apply for this Grant that is available exclusively to OSU Film Studies and Moving-Image Production students that are interning. Try to ensure that your financial situation is accounted for and set a budget before you leave. Also, expect to get an unpaid internship versus a paid one because you have to be an absolute freak of nature, in the best possible way, to land paid internships (i.e. NBCUniversal, Warner Bros, Pixar, etc.).

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“I recommend starting early, having a plan, and sticking to it... don't get discouraged, keep being tenacious, and make it happen!” – Austin Dunn
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"Don’t be afraid to seek out learning opportunities and creative funding." - Lauren Younkin
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"Find any opportunities to get some experience on your resume; in the TV/Film Industry, experience is important!" - John Rolston