“I never would have thought I’d see the day,” Christina Coleman said about her internship at Cannes International Film Festival this past May.
The glamorous internship was only the latest of many recent milestones for this 25 year old.
Coleman, a grad student in Drexel’s Television Management program, has worked with large-scale event planners Done+Dusted (the company behind the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show), which hooked her up with White Cherry Entertainment (producers of the Tony Awards).
“It was great, I was living the dream,” Coleman said about interning with Done+Dusted in New York. “I was their first and only intern because I literally called them up and said, ‘Hey, I know about your company, do you need an intern?’ and the coordinator was like, ‘Yeah, I guess so.’”
Coleman has also worked with Comedy Central, 3 Ball Productions, 6ABC and NFL Films.
And it doesn’t stop there. Coleman recently accepted an Emmy Foundation internship to work with DreamWorks in Los Angeles this summer on an animated episodic series.
The South Jersey native has a few more months until she will graduate from Drexel—with her third degree. She already has a bachelor’s in producing for film and TV from Emerson College and a bachelor’s in business communications from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
What drew Coleman to Drexel, she said, was the unique one-year intensive master’s program that combined her two undergraduate degrees.
“You’re looking at the business side of television and a little bit of the creative side,” Coleman said. “So we’re taking courses like audience measurement and media programming, media sales, things like that, which, to me, are not as creative intensive as I would like, but definitely are things that impact the creative process.”
Coleman’s path to Cannes began with a poster. Every day for three months she said she walked past a poster that read: “Work an Internship, Make a Movie, Launch Your Career.”
“I don’t know what happened but something just hit me to look online at the program,” Coleman said. It didn’t take long to figure out how perfect the opportunity would be for her.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” she said. “The companies that they have access to and the testimonial video is pretty epic in itself; it makes you want to be a part of this program.”
The admissions deadline was only one week away. That didn’t deter her. She whipped everything together (her resume, essay questions, a short film submission, a letter of recommendation and a video introduction) and applied just in time.
The day before Thanksgiving, she was accepted with a partial scholarship.
After making arrangements with her professors, she attended the festival May 13 through May 27. She stayed in downtown Cannes, France—just a few miles away from the festival with a beautiful view of the ocean, she said.
Coleman was placed to work with Wild Bunch Distributions, a production and distribution company responsible for award-winning films such as The Artist, The Wrestler, Bachelorette and Woody Allen’s Vicky, Christina, Barcelona. Her main task in Cannes was to read scripts for Wild Bunch’s acquisitions team.
“This helped me because I’ve always wanted to break into development and I never really knew how, so being able to have someone sit you down and say, ‘read these scripts and tell us what you think,’ it was great,” Coleman said. “It really provided me an insight as to how the acquisition executives think and probably how agents would think in general. Those would be important things to keep in mind for when I’d like to venture off into creating my own TV show or film.”
She also often sat in on meetings with executives, attended film screenings and distributed party tickets.
So what’s next for Coleman?
“In terms of school—I’m pretty schooled out,” Coleman said. “For now.”
And her dream job is hard to pinpoint because of the evolving industry.
So, she’s using an open mind to job search in New York and Los Angeles. France is an option, too.
Coleman said she can’t stress enough the importance of taking advantage of co-op or internship programs while in school.
“At times it will get overwhelming and your priorities will definitely shift, but you will know your schedule,” she said. “You know what you’re signing up for, it’s just a matter of balancing everything out.”
Coleman also encourages students to “march to the beat of your own drum.” She said a lot of industry professionals have told her she doesn’t need a master’s degree, let alone three degrees, to be in TV and film.
“But personally, I’ve always been surrounded by people who are all about empowering yourself with knowledge and always improving yourself,” she said. “It’s just about being prepared in life.”