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Friday, July 29, 2011

USI senior lands Los Angeles Film Festival internship

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USI senior Adam Poulisse at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
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Adam Poulisse wanted an internship experience in entertainment reporting before graduating from college. He'd had experience as news director of The Edge, the University of Southern Indiana radio station, and he'd held an internship with the city paper. He'd even worked as a freelance writer. But the USI senior from Greenwood, Indiana, wanted experience in his chosen career field of entertainment reporting. His attempts to secure an internship with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences were unsuccessful, but he pursued other openings.

Poulisse gained his coveted internship after applying online. In June he moved to California and served as a ticket intern for the Los Angeles Film Festival. It wasn't entertainment reporting, but the festival offered the opportunity to be in the city known as the Entertainment Capital of the World.

The festival, in its 17th year, showcases the best in new American and international cinema and provides the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world.

An admitted celebrity hound, Poulisse treasures photos he took of Jack Black, who plays the role of Bernie Tiede in the festival's opening night film Bernie. Later Poulisse learned it was unprofessional for interns to take photos of the personalities, but he and other interns were introduced to that rule after he'd had photos on file in his phone. He also saw Shirley McClaine, who plays a rich widow in the film and Matthew McConaughey, the district attorney in the film.

Intern's life

Festival crowd control and assistance with rush lines became daily routines for Poulisse. A ticket rush line opens 30 minutes before a performance for tickets to remaining seats in the theatre.

Students from UCLA, Occidental College, and other local post-secondary schools held most of the internships. Poulisse was the only intern from Indiana, and he was welcomed by the program's staff and other interns.

"I feel like I got my foot in the door, and I learned how a successful film festival is run," said Poulisse. "That will help when I host the Mayday Film Festival, a USI Filmmaker's Club event."

Interns could attend some of the films. Poulisse saw Green Lantern, an adaptation from the comic strip of the same name, and his favorite film, A Better Life. Following the showing, Michelle, another intern, introduced him to one of the actors in A Better Life who had been in an acting class with her. "The young actor was soft spoken and so unlike the character he played," Poulisse said. As chair of the film committee for USI's Activities Programming Board, Poulisse hopes is to bring A Better Life to a USI screen.

He lived in Highland Park between Pasadena and Chinatown in a house with 11 other people. Throughout his days he had little time to himself. He was with crowds during the day and returned to a packed home. "Even if I only got two hours of sleep a night, I'd wake up ready to return to work," he said. "The high energy of the people I worked with and the environment of the film industry made every day an adventure."

"The networking was the best part of the internship," he offered.

Trailing an entertainment reporter

A serendipitous moment is how Poulisse explains his chance to go along for an interview of Colin Hanks, the 32-year-old son of American actor and director Tom Hanks. Because of Poulisse's desire to job shadow an entertainment writer, he contacted the web writers of thesevensees.com on Facebook. He was able to join writer Gerrad Hall for the Hanks interview. Hall, who graduated from Ball State University, included Poulisse as they planned interview questions. Only a spectator during the interview, Poulisse remembers the conversation as the highlight of his weeks in California. "Because of my RTV classes at USI, I understood terms they used for equipment and lighting.

"The Seven Sees writers Hall and Jonathan Ratliff work from a home office. I was invited to their apartment to watch a Skype interview they did on movies out that week including The Zookeeper and Horrible Bosses."

Now back in Evansville, Poulisse is planning to follow LA writers' advice to start a blog. He's thinking about how he can use Skype to interview entertainment people.

Introduced to journalism in high school, Poulisse will remember USI as the place that honed his journalism talents. He will graduate in December 2011. He is grateful for the grant money he received from the College of Liberal Arts to help finance his California trip, and he'll remember the film festival as the event that continued his quest for a job as an entertainment reporter.



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