Meet Ashley Merritt! She is an Art and Performance senior, and interned for PI Advertising this past summer.
Q: Tell us about your internship.
A: I worked as a production assistant for the locally based production company PI Advertising, which is in association with Miramar Pictures in Los Angeles. The responsibilities of a production assistant vary by the production, as did mine. While working on various commercials and films, my tasks ranged from organizing the talent and handling release forms, to assisting the art and props department with scene set-up.
Q: How did you find out about this opportunity?
A; As an active member of the Dallas film community, I met and established a rapport with my internship supervisor through mutual contacts and connections. We met while I was at work and began talking about his upcoming projects that would need assistants.
Q: What was the interview process like?
A: All of the interaction was through informal networking. Shortly after meeting my internship supervisor, I sent a follow-up email expressing my interest in gaining opportunity to work in his company. He cited that my showing initiative to stay in contact and drive to establish a position as one of the leading reasons he decided to welcome me on as a production assistant.
Q: What is the best part about your internship?
A: Before this experience, I had mostly only gained familiarity with the filmmaking process from the point of view of the talent as an actress. I gained so much more insight to the process working behind the scenes and it enhanced my appreciation of filmmaking process and the entertainment industry greatly.
The connections and friendships I made while working last summer will be with me forever and have opened new doors of networking. I met and learned from so many talented actors and directors including John Schneider of the original “Dukes of Hazard” and renowned Director of Photography Keith L. Smith (“Any Given Sunday”).
Gaining a new credit towards my resume and recognition as a production assistant on the film “American Justice” on the Internet Movie Database was another amazing perk.
Q: What do you want to be when you grow up? Did this experience confirm your career goal, or have you changed your mind?
A: Ultimately, I want to work in the film/entertainment industry primarily as a performer but this experience confirmed the fact that I would love working on either side of the process. I would love to be a film production manager or even work in a position that is more focused in communications in the public relations department. There’s a magical feeling when working on such large projects with hundreds of staff and crew and multiple departments all functioning together as one. I love the feeling of being part of something bigger and so creative while getting to work with so many creative and like-minded individuals.
Q; What advice do you have for other job seekers?
A: 1) In any industry, do not underestimate the importance of networking. In general, it’s important to have good communication and people skills. Understanding your peers and superiors or developing cordial relationships can enhance the workplace atmosphere, the success of collaborative projects, and ultimately you’re career.
2) Have confidence in yourself and you’re skills. Even if you are still learning all the details and specifics, don’t shy away from applying to something just because fear of the unknown and self-doubt can be scary. Go for it! You will never know unless you try.
3) Be a “go-getter”. Go beyond submitting applications and waiting to hear from people. Attempt to make things happen on your own by doing in-depth research of your field, plugging into local organizations that relate to what you want to do, taking full advantage of the resources provided by the Career Center and the University, and educating yourself outside of class on techniques and practices of your field so that when that call for the interview does finally come in, you are ready and more importantly, you are confident!
Q: Any other comments to share?
A: I used to hate hearing this, especially when facing points of frustration!
-A positive attitude really does go a long way!
It’s also contagious!