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Lights, camera, internships: OHIO's largest cohort shines in Hollywood

The OHIO-in-LA program has its largest cohort ever this summer with 29 Ohio University students interning at media and entertainment companies throughout Hollywood. The School of Media Arts and Studies program, which started in 2014 and is open to all majors at Ohio University, gives students the opportunity to spend a semester living, working and taking classes in Los Angeles. The students earn course credit while taking classes and the internship helps students develop professional skills and make contacts. Students also work with their peers on two short film projects that premiere at the end of the program.

The Ohio University alumni network in the LA area is vast and includes professionals working as producers, agents, directors and development executives. Those alumni work closely with OHIO-in-LA participants to serve as mentors, provide access to studios and sets, and connect them with professional opportunities. But the program is not all work and no play. The cohort also takes part in several excursions during their 10 weeks in Hollywood.

“As a group, we will tour Warner Brothers, Universal Studios, go to Disneyland and also see live shows like 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' and 'The Talk,'” said Professor Roger Cooper, who runs the program. “The students who participate are ones who want to work in film, TV production and the music industry. Coming to LA and making the professional contacts is a great first step to break into the entertainment industry.”

Students are interning at companies like Goodform, Smashhaus Music, Scout Productions, Stewart Talent Agency, Rare Breeds, Calico and Beat-Rice Productions.

“I think there are two things the students gain from this program,” said Cooper. “One is confidence. They gain confidence by being out in the big city of LA and working in the entertainment capital of the world. They learn that Ohio University students can compete with anybody. We have hundreds of alums out here that are doing extremely well. The other thing is they gain life experience. Coming out of COVID, where we were all so insular, and being in a big city, doing the things we do and meeting the people we meet, those experiences are invaluable and help season our students for future success."

The program started May 28 and runs through August 10.

“It’s a full 10 weeks,” said Cooper. “We do a big sibs program with alumni and pair students with a professional alum that is in LA doing something that the students aspire to do. The classes are filled with guest speakers because an important part of the program is to have students hear from professionals working in LA. At the end, alumni screen our short films. Students learn how to use their time effectively and efficiently.”

June 7, 2024
Cheri Russo