Emory University is no Mecca for those that want to pursue a career in film and television production, but that does not mean they don’t take care of their own. In the film industry, it is all about who you know; lucky for me Emory knows the right people. Thanks to the extensive alumni directory, I met an executive at The Mark Gordon Company, the production company behind Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds, and Saving Private Ryan. After a month of phone interviews and script analyzing, The Mark Gordon Company offered me the perfect summer internship.
Regardless of the Los Angeles traffic and zero income, I was on cloud nine for three months. During the week, I was in the office and on the weekends, I was surfing in Malibu. I started in the intern room where I read incoming movie scripts and television pilots. I wrote coverage, or what I called a “glorified book report,” that executives used to determine if they would purchase the script. The process of coverage is to summarize the story, address character development, strength of plot, appropriate dialogue and then discuss if it is marketable for today’s audience. Writing coverage is valuable, yet very tedious. However, I made each report as thorough and impressive as I could. I stayed positive about my work and when they sent me on errands to pick up executives’ prescriptions or lunch, I did it with a smile on my face. They soon noticed my attention to detail and my positive attitude and rewarded me. When assistants went out of town, I was at the top of the list of interns to cover their desks. This allowed me to fill in as the assistant to the President of Television and the Executive VP of Film.
The most exciting relationship I established was with the Head of Reality. I was her assistant for a week and she quickly began to trust me and respected my feedback. Towards the end of the summer during an all hands meeting, we were discussing ideas for new reality shows and at the end of the meeting, she asked for my input. I took this opportunity to pitch an idea I had been thinking about all summer, adapting the popular video game Oregon Trail, into a family reality show. She loved this idea, told Mark Gordon, and he loved it as well. If that was not enough, they just happened to have a meeting the next day with the creators of Amazing Race. When the Amazing Race creators heard the idea, they were equally enthusiastic. Oregon Trail is now in development and, although it might take some time before you see in on your screen, I was lucky to be involved with an exciting and inspiring sequence of events.
My summer internship came to an end, but not the relationships. I email my many contacts frequently and plan to meet with some of the employees in January. Without the Emory connection, I would have just been another resume in a pile of thousands waiting for review. Emory wants us to be successful, and the better we become, the better Emory becomes. With student success, the alumni network around the world will continue to grow, enabling other BBAs the chance to follow their passion and have fun in the process over their next summer internships.
Stephen Beehler, BBA 2010