Internship Experiences

Elizabeth Goodstein, Class of 2013
American Documentary | POV & International Creative Management (ICM), New York
Summer 2011

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity of a lifetime. I interned at two entertainment, media-related powerhouses: American Documentary | POV and International Creative Management (ICM). The two companies could not be more antithetical to one another.

POV is essentially a documentary film curator/production house. The firm produces and curates documentary films for its self-titled series (now in its 24 class="normalchar"th season) on PBS. It is a non-for-profit organization that seeks to bring issues of international importance to its PBS audiences through the medium of film. The series has won every major entertainment award. These awards include, but are not limited to, three Academy Awards, 23 Emmy Awards, 13 George Foster Peabody Awards, and 10 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Awards.

ICM is a full-service agency. The firm is made up of eight departments: Motion Picture Talent, Television, Concerts, Publishing, Theatre, Branded Entertainment, and Lectures. Very often, multiple departments will work in tandem with one other in an attempt to further the ever-evolving careers of the clients. The agency itself is a quintessential agency hierarchy, so to speak. Meaning, one typically starts in an entry-level position (either in the mailroom or as a “floater”). As time goes on, and if all goes well, he or she then becomes an agent’s assistant, a coordinator, and then an agent (this is, again, in a perfect world).

I began my summer with an eight-week internship at POV. I was determined to merge an interest in film with a more business-oriented mindset. This meant working 3 days a week in Development and the remaining two days in Production & Programming.

In Development, I participated in research for prospective/potential new benefactors, edited databases and created spreadsheets pertaining to fundraising initiatives. I also aided in the application process of multiple awards cycles/grant cycles, including the duPonts and the Council on Foundations (CoF).

In Production & Programming, I screened submissions for season 25, provided extensive evaluations of films for potential selection, sat in on meetings with producers and the Executive Director to voice my opinions, and aided on film sets of filmmaker and subject interviews.

This was truly an unparalleled experience. As I alluded to before, working in both of these departments allowed me to bridge a connection between financing and the inherently creative production process. I could not have asked for more.

In addition to providing me with a wonderfully extensive education in the documentary film and public television worlds, POV is an exceptional place to work, simply in terms of corporate culture. The firm is made up of some of the warmest, brightest, most enthusiastic people I have ever been fortunate enough to meet, let alone work with/for. I can confidently say that multiple people at the firm have become mentors of mine. Although public television is not something I see myself pursuing professionally, POV awarded me an education I will undoubtedly take with me.

I finished my summer with eight weeks at ICM. At ICM, I had the pleasure of working on multiple desks in Global Branded Entertainment. Branded Entertainment is a rapidly evolving field that primarily seeks to serve corporations and brands through the means of entertainment. This includes everything from product placing (i.e., reading a script and placing one’s corporate client within a scene) to celebrity endorsements to advertising and so on and so forth.

While working on these desks, I created a database of potential international corporate sponsors for future Concerts’ tours, created a database/tracked projects-of-interest, provided script coverage and evaluations for potential client involvement, listened in on conference calls between agents and clients, and perhaps most excitingly, covered a desk for a prolonged period of time (meaning I was working directly for an agent as an assistant).

Since it is one day my dream to merge a passion for film and entertainment with an interest in business, there was perhaps no better place to work and learn.

Besides the mindboggling (yet truly exciting) experience of covering a desk, script coverage was my favorite element to the internship. Reading various works in progress for Branded Entertainment forced me to visualize the various films for potential client involvement. The education I have received from the Film & Media Studies Program prepared me for this in ways I can only seek to describe. While reading and providing coverage, I would create spreadsheets of potential client involvement where I saw fit (everything from the placement of a chandelier in a scene to a picture frame on a wall).

The agency’s corporate culture is a force to be reckoned with. Although a bit intimidating and daunting at first, I met some wonderful mentors at ICM. I, furthermore, had the wonderful opportunity of having one-on-one meetings with many agents. This allowed me to deepen my appreciation for the business and receive some unparalleled guidance and advice. I also thoroughly enjoyed the formality of the internship program. I am fortunate enough to call many of my fellow interns great friends.

Both of these companies are fantastic places to work. I feel so blessed to have experienced such a jam-packed, exciting summer. I would highly recommend both of these firms to other Hopkins students. I also cannot thank the incredible Film Program enough for preparing me for these experiences.

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