Seniors end their Emerson college career with a Hollywood internship

by Beacon Staff • March 17, 2011


Name:  Ida Michelsen

Major: Marketing Communication

Year:  Senior

Internship:  Symphony 19

Senior Ida Michelsen never expected to find herself in Katy Perry’s mansion when she moved to Los Angeles, Calif. for a semester.

During her first week as an intern at Symphony 19, the production company was in the early stages of producing  Perry’s latest music video. Michelsen said the company needed a “humble” female to jump on board the team and work with Perry. Thus, the marketing communication major found herself in Perry’s mansion doing the popstars assistant work.

The following week, she found out that Kanye West would also be featured in the video.

“A couple weeks ago I was in snowy Norway and now I’m in LA hanging out with Katy Perry and Kanye West,” she said. “Life is strange.”

Michelsen said she was then chosen to be in the video as a hand-model picking up a pair of glasses. Executive Producer at Symphony 19, Kelly Sarno, said Michelsen has been enthusiastic about her internship since day one.

“Ida has been great,” said Sarno in an e-mail to the Beacon. “She was thrown into learning about the ins and outs of production very quickly as the Katy Perry job came up just after she started. I think her work is stellar.”


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Name:  Courtney Stefancyk

Major: Print and Multimedia Journalism

Year:  Senior

Internship:  Us Weekly

Senior Courtney Stefancyk said she spent Oscar Awards Sunday in the lounge of a posh Hollywood hotel, furtively eying rockstar John Mellencamp and actor Meg Ryan as she dined on her company’s tab.

And to think, the print and multimedia journalism said she expected to be making coffee runs during her semester-long internship with Us Weekly magazine.

Stefancyk said her short tenure as a paparazzo in Los Angeles beefed up her portfolio with reporting on much-discussed celebrity gossip.

“I feel kind of bad for celebs, like I’m stalking them,” Stefancyk said. “But it is pretty cool.”

Since starting her three-day a week internship, she has tracked down actors Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, drove to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center the morning actor Charlie Sheen was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, and reported from the courthouse during diva Lindsay Lohan’s trial.

“I was inches away from her and I saw her white dress,” Stefancyk said, referring to the tight-fitting designer outfit that made headlines when she wore it to a felony grand theft arraignment last month. “I didn’t think it was that trashy.”


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Name:  Molly Zervoulis

Major:  Theater Education

Year:  Senior

Internship:  Clear Talent Group

Rolling down Sunset Boulevard in her black Honda SUV, senior Molly Zervoulis said she spends 28 hours a week at Clear Talent Group, an agency particularly well known for representing child stars — such as Rico from Modern Family)

She said this hearkens to her career plans.

“I’m leaning toward working with kids after college,” the theater education major said. “There are so many kids that think they can just get jobs being cute, [at my internship] I’m learning what people are looking for [in child actors].”

While her primary responsibility is answering phone calls, Zervoulis said she feels she is learning a lot at Clear Talent.

“The office I’m in is really open, so it’s kinda like I’m a fly on the wall,” the theater education major said.

Zervoulis adds that she digs the weather in Los Angeles but doesn’t plan to stay for long.

“For me it was like a study abroad thing,” said Zervoulis, who is also one of three resident assistants working in the Oakwoods. “But a lot of people plan to live here after [the program].”


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Name:  Tim Pratt

Major: Marketing Communication

Year:  Senior

Internship:  Focus Features

For senior Tim Pratt, the towering palm trees, freeway traffic, and constant sunshine took some getting used to.

But after starting work on the an advertising campaign for actor Anne Hathaway’s next movie--and acquiring a bronze tint to his skin--the Maine-native said Los Angeles feels like home.

“I’m from the East Coast, so it’s weird not to walk around everywhere and traffic is a nightmare,” said the marketing communication major, lounging shirtless by the pool in his apartment complex. “But I know of jobs out here that I want, and I want to move out here.”

After interning for WGBH, New England’s biggest public broadcaster on television, Pratt said he applied to study in the college’s Los Angeles program.

“It’s kind of like a trial-run,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d want to live in LA until now.”

Now, Pratt works as a creative advertising intern at Focus Features, a production and distribution offshoot of NBC, where he said he develops marketing strategies for upcoming films.


-Alexander Kaufman, Anum Hussain, Taylor Gearhat/Beacon Staff