New Voices Behind the Camera: Interns in the Entertainment Industry

September 11, 2018
By John Gibson and Stacy Milner

This summer, students across the country participated in internships to learn more about potential career paths in a variety of industries and trades. We are passionate about helping students gain access to internship opportunities in entertainment that may seem like faraway dreams.

The Entertainment Industry College Outreach Program (EICOP), specifically the HBCU in LA internship experience, continues to grow and impact the lives of students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The MPAA is a proud supporter of this program, helping students from diverse backgrounds gain access to valuable educational experiences in the film and television industry.

Thanks to MPAA member studios and other key industry leaders and organizations, HBCU in LA students had the chance to intern with companies in the entertainment world and participate in exciting events and workshops, including:

  • Information sessions with Emmy-nominated Black-ish creator Kenya Barris, Universal Television President Pearlena Igbokwe, Disney Executive VP of Production Tendo Nagenda, Grammy Award Winning Composer Rickey Minor, and writer/producer Wendy Calhoun.
  • Behind the scenes tours of various studios and the new ARRAY Creative Campus – founded by filmmaker Ava DuVernay.
  • Panel Discussions with members of the Queen Sugar production team, UTA Agent Alyssa Lanz, writer/director/performer Rochée Jeffrey, and Artist First Manager Kevin Parker.
  • Networking events with leaders in the music and entertainment industry.

HBCU in LA students will now begin their fall semesters with a fresh perspective and new knowledge of the entertainment world. Here’s what they’re saying: 

About the HBCU in LA Experience

“I will use this experience as a motivating factor … my dreams are yet possible … like-minded pioneers have blazed enough trails so that I, too, may pursue similar goals.” – MPAA Intern Randal Derell Flimmons | North Carolina Central University School of Law

“I have gained a tremendous intellect in, not only the entertainment industry, but with art, my own imagination, creative collaboration, team work, and work ethic.” – Warner Bros. Intern Cole Mason | Howard University

“This experience alone has impacted me in a tremendous amount of ways… it gave me the capacity to realistically see more out of myself.” – Sony Pictures Entertainment Intern James Bailey | Clark Atlanta University

About the Film and Television Industry

“I was surprised at how many opportunities are actually available in this industry. There are a lot of specific jobs that are necessary to make one project happen. This showed me that there is more than just one way to accomplish your goals of entering into entertainment.” – United Talent Agency Intern Chelsea Maloney | Florida A & M University

“People always talk about how doctors and lawyers have long hours but people in the entertainment industry also work extremely hard. I wish more people knew that this business is cutthroat and you have to be able to adapt very quickly to every situation.” – MTV & VH1 Intern Lauryn Smith | Howard University

“What surprised me the most about work in the entertainment industry was the diversity of opportunity. It is an industry that calls upon nearly every marketable skill while leaving room for growth and innovation.” – Paramount Pictures Intern Anastasia Mebane | North Carolina Central University School of Law

“I was definitely surprised to learn about the patience and perseverance of people within the entertainment industry. Everybody’s story was different yet, the message was the same. Either they had been working for 10 plus years before their big break, or took a leap of faith and switched their career path … Breaking into the industry is one thing, but even then, you must be patient and resilient as you work your way to the top.” – SAG-AFTRA Intern Alexandria Whitner | Howard University

Advice for future students

“My advice to future students would be to have patience. Good things take time, and I know sometimes people have a timeline for their dreams. It will all come with perseverance and time!” – ID Public Relations Intern Troi Ratchford | Morgan State University

“The jobs are NOT just limited to directors, writers, and actors! There are so many jobs in this field and you don’t just have to stick to one area.” – ID Public Relations Intern Kiara Ross | Alabama State University

To learn more about the HBCU in LA Internship program, click here.

For more on MPAA’s work to support a diverse talent pipeline, click here.