By Zoë Eitel
Ronan Morrissey took a very direct approach to land a couple internships with companies he was interested in: He found their information on IMDbPro and contacted them directly to see if they were open to taking on an intern. Luckily for Ronin, the phone call to Thunder Road Pictures and the email to Don Kee Productions panned out and he was able to intern for two companies that had worked on movies he liked.
“I’ve always wanted to get more experience with film development so I knew that doing an internship with companies like this would be a great way to meet cool people and read a lot of scripts that are floating around Hollywood,” Ronan says.
For these internships, Ronan was responsible for providing coverage on scripts as well as project research and tracking along with other special assignments that came up.
Ronan also learned about the multiple reasons why companies might pass on a script, regardless of how good the story is.
Development Intern at Thunder Road Pictures and Don Kee Productions
BA Film & Television Directing 2021
“Sometimes the company that is reading it isn’t able to produce it given their resources so they might have to pass on producing a good script,” he says. “Or at least put it on the back burner until they can get a big name attached.”
While Ronan enjoyed being able to work at his own pace with a remote work environment, he feels he did miss out on some of the benefits of working in an in-person setting, like being able to spend time networking with his fellow interns or his supervisors.
“I’ve always wanted to get more experience with film development so I knew that doing an internship with companies like this would be a great way to meet cool people and read a lot of scripts that are floating around Hollywood.”
“It’s harder to prove how good of a worker you are when you are remote sometimes,” he says. “If this was in person, you would be doing more stuff in the office, which gives you more opportunity to show how great you are. But both of them made the most out of being a remote internship and I learned a ton from them. They offered a bunch of resources to make up for everything being online.”
Despite the drawbacks of remote work, Ronan was glad to be able to work with professionals in the industry and ask them questions and get advice.
“It saved me spring quarter because I was working at both of those companies at the same time, which means I had to cut down my hours at work to only a day a week to focus on my internship work,” he says.
After his unpaid internships, however, Ronan would prefer to never work for free again, but is willing to do so in order to get where he wants to be in his field. And with his experiences with Thunder Road and Don Kee, which are both companies with around 20 employees, Ronan has found he prefers to work with small companies.
“It’s a lot easier for you to meet people, learn more about the business and get assigned more work to do,” he says. “I wanted to do as much work as possible, not just to prove to my managers how well I can do it, but also to get experience doing that kind of work so when I got another job, I could say that I’ve done it.”
Since graduating, Ronan has been working as a production assistant on the sets of some TV shows and commercials. He has enjoyed getting on-set experience and his goal is to find work with a talent agency and then with another production company.
“I want to learn more about that end of the industry so I have a better understanding of how everything works for when I go to direct my own stuff,” Ronan says. “My big objective is to direct feature films/tv shows. By working in development and at an agency, I’m hoping it gives me enough time on the weekends to practice my craft, write shorts and really just get more practice with all that.”