My Internship Mentor

In some of my past posts, I have described my feelings of everything having “fallen into place” when thinking about my internship situation this summer. From securing an affordable apartment, getting a car out West, and of course finding work that interested me and would be good experience, I thought I checked off all the boxes. As the weeks have passed and being a firm believer in having no regrets, I was keen to make strong relationships with the people I worked with. But one particular exec at my office and I have developed a particularly strong working relationship, and to my delight this new mentor does exactly what I aspire to do.
There are two key producers in the LA office, one of whom is more of the corporate stay-in-office manager and the other who travels the world to our sets and “stamps out the fires.” Let’s call the second one Jack. Jack was not present for the first month of my internship as he was doing the job that I described above, but after he led a few of our weekly meetings upon his return, I quickly realized that he embodied much of what I aspire to be both professionally and simply as an adult in film in Los Angeles. He is a bit of a boisterous personality. Like me, he feels the 9-5 office life is a little to claustrophobic for the long term. He likes to make friends with the people he works with, which is not always the trend in entertainment despite what it may look like from the surface level. From leading our Monday meetings to the Skype Session, he led last week describing his own career story, I have seen a demeanor that if I were so bold, reminds me of myself.
What originally sparked my interest about working with Jack was his backstory. He was an early coworker of Christopher Nolan’s wife and eventually was the man who got Chris’ debut film financed. The ‘finessing’ he has gone through in his career to continue to develop unique projects like that is the sort of adaptability and professional prowess I aspire to hone myself. Looking at our current company, of which he is a founding member, we address the existing gap of medium-range budget films with adult content with more left-of-center, character based, stories with some sort of higher meaning. It has been really great to hear the insights and advice of someone who is making the types of films happen that I want to work on.
After getting sidetracked with a call while I was asking him some questions, Jack offered for us to go to lunch to continue our conversation. There, I got to ask further questions and he elaborated on how he approaches development. He truly believes in the producer having to be involved from top to bottom, from pre to post production, and I feel the same way. When I noted that I was unsure about whether I wanted to pursue the studio system or work in independent film (what FilmNation does), he put it more clearly than anyone who I had previously discussed this with. “Well, do you want to make Star Wars or Arrival?” And as much as I love Star Wars, I want to make those left-of-center films.
My internship and summer situation fell into place weeks ago. But only in the most recent weeks have my own career aspirations begun to fall truly into place as well. I feel that as I am approaching my last days in the FilmNation office, I have for the first time brought the career I have imagined and studied into a more realistic and concrete vision and set of goals. I have to give special thanks to Jack, who has been the most pivotal person in my internship experience in helping me truly see what I want to make, and who I want to be as I do it.

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