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Academy Awards Internship Takes Brooks ’24 Behind the Scenes

Ruby Brooks standing in front of three live size Academy Awards
Ruby Brooks ’24 spent her last semester working as a production intern for the Academy Awards.

Ruby Brooks ’24 knows the DiBona Family Television Studio on Emerson’s Boston campus quite well. As a director for The Emerson Channel, she led multiple teams of students for live campus productions.

But the DiBona is a long way from the Dolby Theater in California, where Brooks helped produce the 96th Academy Awards ceremony on March 10. 

Each year, Rob Paine ’92, the supervising producer of the Oscars telecast, invites Emerson students to apply for a production internship for the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Working with Diana Barton ’91, manager of The Emerson Channel, Paine and his team select one student. This year, Brooks joined the House of Paine Entertainment team for her last semester at Emerson. 

Ruby Brooks with Michael Kiaunis standing in front of three life size Academy Awards
Ruby Brooks ’24 with Michael Kiaunis ’18

As an intern, Brooks worked in all aspects of the production process and was able to shadow professionals in different fields. 

A really great part of the internship is that I’m able to sit in on these meetings with producers or with talent and sort of hear the conversations they’re having behind the scenes about what they want certain aspects of the show to look like, what the set is going to look like, and who’s going to perform,” Brooks said. “So I’m able to see and learn all of these processes.”

Brooks said her biggest takeaway from the experience was applying what she learned at Emerson to professional experiences.

“It’s no longer sort of a group of 50 students,” Brooks said. “You’re now on a 3,000-person team, and so to figure out not only how to apply those skills, but how to function within that atmosphere was so incredibly valuable.”

On the day of the show, Brooks helped with run-throughs and rehearsals before the red carpet opened. She stuck with Paine’s assistant, Michael Kiaunis ’18, who also helped show her the ropes. 

“I’ll never forget the energy in the Dolby Theater,” Brooks said. “Not just from the audience, who are amazing and so cool, but from the people behind the scenes and how they lift up and support each other and work together to put together something so special.”

Brooks said that nothing compares to putting up a live broadcast with a great team, and she hopes to continue in the field after graduation. She said Emerson Los Angeles provides many opportunities to meet people and find experience. 

“It just opened so many doors, so I’m personally still deciding which one of those avenues I want to take,” Brooks said. “I’m hoping to take what I’ve learned at at my internships and at school and start applying them to professional work.”

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