Interning in Hollywood: “Pass, Consider, Recommend”

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Marialena Mouaikel, COL ’23

My name is Marialena Mouaikel and I was a summer finding recipient from Career Services for this past summer of 2021. For context, I am a junior dual degree student here at Penn, studying marketing in the Wharton School as well as Cinema and Media studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am pursuing this dual degree because I want to go into the entertainment industry, needing both the business and creative sides of my brain. This past summer I interned at Automatik Entertainment, a movie production company based out of LA that produced titles such as La La Land, Bad Education, Outside the Wire, Honey Boy, among many others. This was an amazing opportunity, however similar to many other internships in the entertainment industry, it was an unpaid internship.

Unfortunately I cannot support myself through the summer and cover all of the expenses that this internship required on my own, so career services was a huge help to make this dream internship a possibility.

I had a wonderful experience at the internship. My duties included a lot of “coverage,” which is the industry’s word for reading scripts, novels, comic books and other pieces of intellectual property, and then summarizing, analyzing and critiquing them to see if the work has potential to become a movie or TV show. We would rate the work as a pass, consider, or recommend which would then determine whether another member of the company would read it or if it would be passed on completely. This is long and very detailed work thus I think it definitely helped me expand my reading and writing capabilities. Another one of my duties was cutting acting reels for the different actors and actresses that were represented by Grandview. Grandview is Automatik’s sister company; they are the management side of the operation (representing primarily writers, actors, actresses, and some directors) while Automatik is the producing arm run by Brian Kavanaugh Jones and Fred Berger (a Penn grad who produced La La Land). These acting reels required me to sort through loads of footage of the actor and then cut snippets of their highlights, perhaps a great few lines or a funny scene, as we try to show range with the actor, proving they can be funny, scared, sad, and all the emotions that might come with their next role.

Aside from other odd jobs that are assigned as needed, the last aspect of my internship was the pitch project. The pitch project allowed all the interns to source a piece of intellectual property ourselves and develop it into a TV show or movie, complete with a plot, character arcs, a budget, director options, talent options, the tone, and a slide deck presentation to display all these pieces. I chose a short film developed by a recent Harvard film grad named Jasiel Lampkin. The film was entitled “The Harvard Bubble” and really spoke to me. We worked all summer over zoom creating the pitch and I eventually presented it to the company which was very successful.

Many thanks again to Career Services and their donors for making this internship possible. It means the world.

By Career Services
Career Services