Nicole Townsend is pursuing a double major in sports, arts and entertainment management and dance. She completed an internship in the summer of 2010 to pursue her interest in film.
Background and Area of Interest
Although I initially got into the SAEM major because of my interest in the business side of my art form, I quickly became interested in the entertainment aspect of the major when I took the course "Sport, Arts and Entertainment Public Relations" my sophomore year. The following year when I took "Sport, Arts and Entertainment Business Models," we each had to choose a specific industry to spend the semester studying, and I chose motion pictures. This is when I discovered my interest in the business of film.
Why I Chose This Internship
When I heard about the internship, I instantly knew I wanted to apply. This would be an incredible opportunity for anyone, but it was in particular for me because it would give me the financial support to spend the summer in New York City, not only one of the central places for the film industry, but also the dance capital of the world and the city I plan to move to upon graduation.
I applied for about 20 internships total and ended up with two interviews, one with a small film festival and one in the publicity and promotions department of a comprehensive film marketing firm that was my dream internship. It took six weeks and much persistence on my part to get an answer. I was ecstatic! Terry Hines and Associates (THA) had exactly the internship I'd been looking for.
Kind of Work Done in Internship
The New York branch of THA works with Warner Brothers, Focus Features, Screen Gems, and CBS Films as well as other various projects. We were given the film directives that the studio sent over to THA, and we were generally assigned the grassroots and field promotions. On a daily basis we would make mailing lists of shops, restaurants, and organizations targeted toward the current film's projected demographic, cold call them, and send posters and other promotional items. We would set up advance screenings at local movie theaters and send out screening passes to help the studio fill them. I was also assigned as the designated intern on the film Takers and was given the responsibility of college outreach, including radio promotions and planning a movie release party. Generally, at least once a week we would either leave the office midday or leave early to attend a private advance screening at the Warner Brothers building or help run a public advance screening at a theater. At the public ones we were assigned to manage people in line, VIPs at the check-in table, and seat people in the theater. Another assignment that would send us from the office was flyering and handing out postcards in targeted areas of Manhattan or at events with similar demographics. For example, for the film 8: The Mormon Proposition we handed out postcards and flyered along the Brooklyn Gay Pride Parade route. Finally, the most exciting day was when we were assigned to work at the NYC premiere of Sex and the City 2. I was assigned as a "Celebrity Escort" on the red carpet, meaning as lesser known celebrities arrived I walked them down the carpet, introduced them to the paparazzi and set up interviews with reporters from Access Hollywood, ET, and Extra.
Lessons Learned from this Experience
There are an innumerable number of lessons that I learned and skills that I acquired this summer. Some of the most prominent included the practical application of how to target demographics, specifically at the grassroots level; a fundamental understanding of the difference between publicity and promotions; and an understanding of radio promotions and publicity stunts. I also learned a lot about the relationships between film studios and marketing firms as well as the dynamics, professionalism and due dates in the workplace. I made an incredible number of strong contacts in the entertainment publicity industry in the heart of New York City. I also learned how to work fast under pressure and remain calm and efficient in stressful and unpredictable situations. I learned a lot about crowd management and control and etiquette around celebrities. I could talk about the lessons I learned from living in the city for pages and pages, and ultimately I am just eternally grateful for this entire experience.