Do you have an interest in tracking popular new scripts, books, or short stories? Well Rollins Wimber does! At his internship with Lionsgate he was able to read the submitted scripts and pass along his recommendations to the executives.
What was your internship experience?
I worked in the production & development side of Lionsgate's motion picture group, which means the part of the studio that decides what films are going to be made in the future. It's all about tracking popular new scripts, books, short stories, etc. that could potentially get made into a movie. This is how Lionsgate ended up making The Hunger Games. Someone at the studio read the books and thought, "This could be a great movie series." As an intern, my responsibility was to assist with this process mainly by completing script coverage. I read scripts that get submitted to the studio, summarize them, and write my comments on whether or not I think the script is worthwhile. Then I pass all that on to the executives.
What was the most useful thing you learned from your internship?
The most useful part of my internship was sitting in on weekly department meetings where Lionsgate executives talk about scripts they've read and pitches they've heard. I got to learn what movie executives are looking for when reading a script—what makes an entertaining, marketable story the studio would want to invest in. It's the practical side of the film industry that you can't really teach in school.
What professional skills did you develop in your internship?
In motion picture production & development, the winning skill is to identify what stories will be a hit and what won't. It's essentially playing the stock market of Hollywood. During my internship, I learned what to look for in order to know if a script will connect with audiences or if it'll flop. I also learned the importance of articulating my ideas clearly. Saying, "this story just didn't work for me" is lazy criticism. I learned to specifically identify what about a script wasn't working and the effect that would have on audiences. I'm really glad for the theory and history courses I took in the media arts program because they prepared me to be a more informed consumer of media. The executives rely on thorough, intelligent script coverage in order to help them decide whether or not a script has cinematic potential. In my courses, I learned media arts theory, I watched films from many different eras and countries, and I practiced expressing and defending my ideas. All of this prepared me to write the best coverage possible.
Would you recommend this internship to other students?
I highly recommend Lionsgate. It's a supportive, relaxed working environment - and they have a full-time HR person dedicated to helping interns have the best experience possible. For example, there are frequent lunch & learns where interns can have a catered lunch with various executives in different aspects of film, television, and other forms of media. What's unique about Lionsgate is it's a major studio but not as big as, say, Disney or Paramount. So it still feels like a small company, and many of the executives are willing to meet with you one-on-one to give advice, answer questions, and talk about their experience in the industry.