Seniors at Emerson Los Angeles (ELA) recently completed their final semester in Southern California — with many landing jobs and other opportunities after graduation.
Visual and Media Arts major Alexander Balzano ’22 is one of them. A remote development intern at the International Screenwriters’ Association during the Spring 2022 semester, Balzano read loglines, combed through screenwriting submissions, pitched ideas weekly, and did script coverage. He said he was surprised and grateful he was that his hard work throughout the semester led to a job.
“To then be told that we really enjoy your work so much and value it so much that we want to offer you a paid position…I just felt very extremely appreciative,” said Balzano.
During one of his sessions, while receiving feedback for a pitch, he became the only intern at the company—which sponsors ELA’s annual PitchFest competition—to receive a job offer.
“It’s nice to know the stuff that you’re dedicating yourself to…all that was working toward something,” said Balzano.
Thaler Bishop ’22, a Visual and Media Arts major with a focus in screenwriting, also received a job offer through her internship at Panoramic Media, formerly known as Glickmania. From covering scripts three days a week as an intern, Bishop will now start a new position as an executive assistant to Panoramic’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer, Jose Gutierrez.
“This is a really good job, and I did exactly what I wanted to do. I worked hard and applied for the job opening, and I got the job,” said Bishop.
Officially starting in June, she will assist with human resources and finances. Bishop also shared how excited she is to absorb more knowledge from someone who has more than 20 years in the business, while also seeing opportunities in the intersection between business and the arts.
“Get a script from my brain to the page, I know how to do that. [To] get it from the page to someone’s hand and into a pitch…and also learning the legal, money side of selling a screenplay or selling a book or anything like that [is exciting].”
Marketing Communication major Valentin LaBasse ’22, who worked a hybrid internship as a brand management intern in Henkel’s beauty department, described the smooth transition he will have continuing an internship at the company.
LaBasse said he has noticed an improvement in his skills from interning throughout the semester, which will help him with the next six months of his internship.
“When I got it, I was very excited. I was a little scared because of the fact that it’s a worldwide company with a lot of employees,” said LaBasse. “But I definitely don’t feel like that [now]. Everyone’s super helpful, and now that the semester’s over, I feel pretty confident.”
Working closely with the senior brand manager, along with the company’s leadership and global team, LaBasse will help to create timelines, send out public relations packages, and assist with PR. LaBasse hopes that he can work on more corporate tasks and projects over the next few months, with the potential of advancing to a full-time position.
In mid-May, Visual and Media Arts major Olivia Cashman ‘22 will also continue her internship at Watcher Entertainment as a production intern.
“I’m really excited to stay on the team, because it’s been a really great experience out in LA and with the company in general,” said Cashman.
Cashman, who has been a fan of the company’s YouTube channel for years, described how she took matters into her own hands to advocate for extending this opportunity for herself.
“They said, ‘Oh, it was something we were considering, but we’re glad you brought it up.’ So, I felt very good because that was very out of my comfort zone,” said Cashman. “I’m glad I did it, because it all worked out.”
As Watcher’s first intern, Cashman hopes that she can step into some new roles during the summer.
“I mentioned how I’m interested in producing and probably doing production coordination, so I’m hoping to get a little bit more experience in that department as well,” said Cashman.
Geneva Klein ’22, a Visual and Media Arts major with a concentration in set design, is also looking forward to continuing to work at AllSets Design & Construction, where she interned this past semester, after graduation.
“I’m really excited because the company…will let me really see into the production design field,” said Klein. “How things are structured, put together, and organized.”
Klein was able to wear many hats and take on several tasks during her in-person internship, including sourcing different materials for sets, accounting inventory, 3D modeling, carpentry, and even welding.
“I was kind of like a journeyman, and I was allowed to go all over the shop and figure out which department I want to be in,” said Klein. “I ultimately landed a bit more in the office and design area.”
She hopes that by continuing to work at AllSets, she can explore more within the company, including working with clients.
“On the floor, I helped scenic painting for a day or two. I learned about prepping walls, flats, building flats, painting, [and] their tricks of the trade, but I want to learn more about that,” said Klein.
When it comes to finding internships, Balzano and Klein both encourage students to seek out knowledge about the companies they would like to work for and the fields they’d like to pursue.
“As much as you can, keep an eye out for an internship that’s going to align with your interests. This internship really jumped toward me. Directing and screenwriting are my two of biggest passions, so it was nice to find something within that area and it gave me a chance to explore and flex that passion a bit more,” said Balzano.
“Research companies, actually look around, see what they do, and reach out to them, because that’s how I ended up getting my job,” added Klein.
Completing their internship has enabled many students to grow and learn valuable lessons.
”Don’t be afraid to speak up and let your voice be heard,” said Cashman. “Speaking up and telling people what you’re looking for really helps. I’ve been told at my internship to ask questions. If there’s something you’re interested in, let people know that, because people don’t know how to help you unless you tell them, because they don’t know what you’re looking for.”
Long before students started their internships in January 2022, it was the Emerson faculty and staff who offered advice and encouragement to help these seniors get to where they are today.
“There was a lot of great support from [ELA Academics staff members] Thomas Potts and Malika Fowler,” said Balzano. “I think they really help to put you on a good foundation.”
“Something that I heard when I started my internship that I didn’t believe from professors is that you’re noticed as an intern. I didn’t believe that until now,” added LaBasse. “The ELA program is 10 times better than I ever thought it would be, and the opportunities here are just as big as you want them to be.”
These soon-to-be-graduates hope that their experiences might be able to help others find opportunities of their own.
“It’s definitely important to keep reaching out, keep saying hi to new people on sets,” said Klein. “Even if they don’t lead you somewhere good or offer you a job, they’ll give you a lot of great information, and usually you can learn a lot from just a five-minute conversation.”
“Let your work speak for itself and just give it your all,” added Balzano. “If it’s with the right internship, they’ll see that and hopefully be in a position to offer you something.”