A group of 10 Grand Valley students in the School of Communications are spending their summer as interns in Hollywood gaining practical experience and encounters with A-list celebrities.
Most of the internship opportunities were made possible through professional connections made by John Harper Philbin, associate professor and coordinator of the film and video production program at Grand Valley, and were developed with a Mini Grant from Grand Valley’s Career Services. Each student was responsible for seeking out and applying for their individual internship positions.
Alicia Kitson, a junior from DeWitt, is working with the Warner Brothers Studio’s production company Silver Pictures, which produced “Die Hard,” “Lethal Weapon” and “The Matrix” among other successful movie franchises. “A big part of what I do is script coverage, which involves reading submitted scripts, then writing a summary and comments about if it was good and why, and if it should be considered by the company for film production,” said Kitson, who has encountered Ryan Gosling in the cafeteria and had a conversation on the lot with Forest Whitaker. Kitson recently added a second internship with “CSI” at Universal Studios.
Josephine Suhs, a senior from Cadillac, is learning new aspects of the film business during her internship with Exclusive Casting Studios. “Casting is an interesting and important part of the television, commercial and film business,” said Suhs. She has sat in on casting sessions and given the director input on the auditions. She also was cast as an extra in a Disney Channel music video.
Another aspect of the film industry was enlightening to senior Gustavo Rosa, from Brazil. He is an intern at The Cimarron Group, a film marketing company that handles theatrical trailers and DVD extras, interviews with cast and crew members, websites and more. The company did marketing campaigns for the films “Twilight Saga” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Rosa said he has spent most of his time working with transcripts of actor interviews, categorizing them by topic for easy access and selection for the movie’s DVD extras. He has done so for such films as “Trouble With the Curve,” starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake, and “Breaking Dawn - Part 2.” Two producers recently invited Rosa to work as production assistant during their interview of Rupert Sanders, director of “Snow White and the Huntsman.”
Also doing an internship at Cimarron is Michael Angelo Zervos, from Northville, who will graduate this summer with a double major in business and film and video production. He has read unreleased feature scripts, watched talent interviews and worked on the preliminary stages of creating content for TV advertisements and DVD features. “During my first week here I was brought onto a shoot as an extra and production assistant for 20th Century Fox’s promo used for Cineurope, the largest film exhibitor conference in the world,” said Zervos. On set, Zervos also met the 20th Century Fox co-presidents and was invited as part of the Creative Content group to the release of “Snow White and the Huntsman.”
Zervos is also an intern with Anonymous Content where he has sat in on calls and meetings between talent and management, and learned a lot about contract negotiations. “I expected to do much less than both of these companies have allowed me to do,” said Zervos. “I’m very happy to say that they have been very trusting of my capabilities and have put me to work on tasks that matter.”
His skills and talent will be given another workout once he returns from Hollywood to work on Grand Valley’s Summer Film Project 2012. The project was established in 1995 to offer junior and senior students an opportunity to work side-by-side with professionals to produce a short film. Past films have been selected for screening at film festivals throughout the country and have won many awards. Mitch Nyberg, a 1983 Grand Valley alumnus with a long film industry career in San Francisco, will be the guest director of the film “Realizism,” with Zervos as first assistant director, and fellow intern Rosa as first assistant camera. Production begins July 23.