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Lights. Camera. Internship!
Not every college student knows how to turn an interest into a career, and Valerie Boucher ’20 admits that she didn’t either — until she took her passion for film and added some Bentley lessons: doing an internship to develop her strengths and mixing business with the arts and sciences. It wasn’t long until a star was born.
“I've always wanted to pursue a career in film and entertainment,” recalls Boucher, who is majoring in Information Design and Corporate Communication. “I decided that I wanted an internship in Los Angeles working in film to see if that was really the direction that I wanted to go with my degree.”
The very idea was far-reaching: an internship in the competitive Hollywood entertainment mecca — and for a business student no less. But Boucher found her big break when she scored a chance at an internship at a production company founded by the prominent actors/filmmakers Bradley Cooper and Todd Phillips.
Once she landed the interview, she relied on the preparation she had learned in Bentley’s career development introduction seminars.
“The mock interview that we did sophomore year showed me that anytime you’re interviewing with someone, that person of course deserves respect but they’re also just a normal person who probably feels awkward asking you a bunch of formal questions,” Boucher says. “If you carry yourself with confidence and make them feel like the agreement between you will be mutually beneficial, you’re much better off.”
To go a step further and ward off potential stage fright during the interview, Boucher met with Alyssa Hammond, Bentley’s director of undergraduate career education and outcomes. The preparation paid off when Boucher aced the interview.
During Boucher’s internship there, the company released the box-office hit A Star is Born. The company had also released the well-known films American Sniper and War Dogs. And Boucher’s work experience was just as incredible as the films being produced.
“My internship was really hands-on,” she says. “Every day I went in, I was reading and writing coverage on scripts or sitting in on company meetings where we discussed how to take a simple idea and turn it into a two-hour film or a successful television series. I never once left work feeling as though I hadn’t contributed something meaningful.”
After reading, summarizing and analyzing a 120-page script, Boucher had to “reset” before diving in to the next.
“The second I finished one script and moved on to another, I had to let go of every feeling I had just experienced reading the previous script,” she recalls. “That ability to stop, reset and start up a new script with a clear and open mind is vital. There’s no excuse to accidentally pass on a great TV or movie project because you were stuck in the negativity of the not-so-great script that you read right before it.”
Boucher says that Bentley’s rigorous coursework and her business background – though unusual for a Hollywood intern – prepared her well. “I chose Bentley because I wanted to not only create, but also be able to walk into a room full of suits with my projects and ideas and not be shut down because I don't know anything about the 'bottom-line' side of things.”
It gave her the confidence to jump into the movie industry and interact with top professionals and executives. Because a Los Angeles internship at a production company comes with “pinch-me moments,” like bumping into Clint Eastwood on a lunch break, as happened to Boucher.
Boucher says the internship not only reaffirmed her decision to work in film, but also expanded her goals.
“During my internship I worked in production, but I was lucky that many people I met worked in all areas of creating a film,” she says. “That inspired me and by the time I left, I wanted to be a screenwriter, producer and director. You name it and I want to do it!”