Many college students flock to Los Angeles in the summer, desperate for an internship, but one of our very own seniors landed a coveted position as an intern for three months. Here’s her story:
On the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Tamarind Avenue, in the shadow of the Hollywood sign, sits the Cartel HQ, a full service management and production company. And through their doors, sitting at a tan desk on the east end of the sleek main room is me. Or at least was me for seven weeks this summer.
Obtaining an internship the summer before senior year is top priority for most juniors. General work experience is great, but landing that opportunity in the industry you want to eventually establish a career in is huge–which made landing an internship in LA so important for me. And when I received the email offering me a position this summer with Cartel, my heart jumped because it was the first step toward the future.
I spent the majority of my 10-6 shift reading and writing coverage. In other words, I was given different materials–scripts and books–to read, and after doing so, I wrote a report about them, discussing different elements such as character and structure. Then, I’d offer a rating of the work, which let the people on the development team decide what should be considered for production and what should be passed on. At times I felt like a gatekeeper, holding the future of a project in my hands, while mostly I sat in awe of the talented writers I read.
My very first day began with a 141 page book I finished in “threeish” hours (very easy read, mind you). Then, I finished my six page report by the end of that same day. My supervisor was shocked I worked so quickly. So, she gave me another book, and that took me about a day and a half. Again, she was shocked. This pattern continued each week as every time I finished a book and its coverage or a couple scripts and their coverage faster than she anticipated, she’d comment on how impressed she was I worked so quickly. “It’s part of what I do at school. I’m an English major,” I’d respond.
By the end of the summer, I could probably read one book and write its coverage in at least a day, if not a day and a half. With scripts, I could read one or two feature films and write their coverage, or a couple pilots and their coverage in one day as well. It all came very naturally, because as I told my supervisor, “I’m an English major. It’s what we do.”
I know we all value our English major education, and despite the stigma that is still attached to our discipline (No, Aunt Edna, I will not be teaching), we are learning some very valuable skills that will help us stand out immensely. And you know what’s neat about that? The valuable skills that help you stand out immensely, like the ability to read, critically think, and write well, are part of your job here at Witt. So by the end of four years, doing those things and doing them well is natural for you. But to everyone else, you are a cut above the rest.
Leaving LA was hard, and I miss it tremendously every day. The sun, the heat, the movie studios, and the atmosphere inspired me everyday to keep chasing my dream. Aside from my internship, I spent days walking along Santa Monica Pier and Venice beach, exploring the neat shops off Ventura Blvd., hiking along Mullholland Dr., even observing in a couple writers rooms on the Fox and Burbank Studios lots. Plus, it’s a Witt World, which meant alumni were very warm to me, specifically Haily Hall ’11 and Lauren Schmidt-Hissrich ’00. But of course, I was writing because that’s my passion and that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs