Emerson College Los Angeles (ELA) students wrapped up their semester in Southern California on April 27, but a few seniors will soon return to start work after attending their Commencement ceremony in Boston.
“I know that I am very lucky,” said Rachel Smith ’16, who’s graduating with a BA in Media Studies. “It is something to be excited about and I don’t take this opportunity for granted.”
That opportunity is a chance to spend the summer temping at New Regency, the film and television production company where Smith interned during the Spring 2016 semester. Smith is one of at least nine ELA students who reported that their internship site offered them a paid position after graduation.
As an intern, Smith has been able to read scripts and provide feedback, help with organizing files, and occasionally cover for assistants (including the assistant for alumna Pam Abdy ’95, New Regency’s president of production). Smith describes her time at New Regency as invaluable.
“I’ve learned so much and have met so many incredible people,” said Smith, who was considering interning for another company before she got the offer from New Regency. “It’s been an amazing experience.”
After attending an ELA professional development workshop where producer and alumna Alexandra Milchan-Lambert ’94 spoke about making it in the industry, Smith introduced herself as an intern at New Regency, the company where Milchan-Lambert was once executive vice president of production. The next day, Milchan-Lambert helped connect Smith to people who might help her land a job. Another Emerson alumnus interviewed Smith for a position at the talent agency WME, and the two built a connection from discussing their similar backgrounds.
Beginning in August, Smith will work in the mailroom at WME. A native of Massachusetts, Smith says she applied to at least 20 jobs in the last couple of months, knowing that if she couldn’t find work she wouldn’t be able to stay in LA.
“I’ve been using my Emerson College connections,” said Smith, who hopes to one day work in development or production.
Before starting her new jobs, Smith plans to enjoy graduation and buy things for her apartment in North Hollywood.
Dean Bilchik '16 landed a job at Render Media. He says half the people now working at Render started as interns.
“I know it’s really hard for students to get jobs after graduation,” said Dean Bilchik ’16, a Marketing Communications major who interned this semester at the digital publishing company Render Media.
Last month, Render offered Bilchik a steady freelance position that has a strong likelihood of turning into a full-time job within a few months. At Render, Bilchik helps to manage various social media accounts—posting stories on multiple Facebook pages and working on Pinterest, among other tasks.
“Render is an amazing company and I really like working for them,” said Bilchik. “They have an incredible work environment and very open office that allows you to communicate with anyone on any different team.”
A Southern California native, Bilchik will head to Boston for graduation but will continue to work for Render while on the East Coast.
“When I go to Boston, I just have to post from there and I will still get paid,” said Bilchik, an aspiring entrepreneur. “Because it’s social media, you don’t have to be in the office every day, so some of the time I can work from home.”
When asked for advice that he might offer students looking for work, Bilchik says don’t freak out.
“If you’ve made it to the point of an interview, chances are they like you. Know what your schedule will be like and just go in confident,” said Bilchik.
Both Bilchik and Smith say they are happy to start their careers in solid places and not have to worry about finding work after graduation. As soon-to-be alumni, both graduates are excited to become part of the LA Emerson community.
“I think ELA was the perfect program for me. I was commuting before in Boston, so I didn’t really feel a part of the campus,” said Smith. “I met a lot of great people at ELA and we’re all kind of trying to help each other make it.”