Concept to Completion

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Ajani Wilhelm, WH ’19, recipient of the Rich Ross Summer Funding Award in Entertainment

This summer I had the opportunity to intern at ESM Productions, a production company based in center city Philadelphia. ESM Productions is a ‘concept-to-completion’ business, meaning they work with clients from their most abstract ideas to develop a production for them. In addition to tasks like that, ESM also co-produces many events and works within teams to assist in other productions.

As an intern, I screened all the phone calls that came into the office, directing clients and vendors alike. During meetings, I kept the meeting minutes and listened to important strategy formulation plans. Us interns also acted as office managers, maintaining the conference room, running errands, and keeping inventory of our equipment and supplies. Aside from traditional office duties, I also got hands on experience with multiple production-related projects. Event production requires a lot of flexibility, so many of my projects tested various areas of expertise. My largest project, however, did not involve an actual production. My task was to create a presentation pitching the company to potential clients, as ESM secures many of their jobs through bids. My presentation detailed the history, mission, and objectives of ESM while also showing off several of their most distinguished clients. In the production business, past clients are very useful tools when choosing producers. ESM, having produced events for everyone from Jay-Z to President Obama, takes great pride in their reputation as a top-tier production company.

I had the opportunity to work on multiple productions this summer with ESM. I prepared schedules and created a directory along with the team for the Drexel Convocation, I assisted the camera crew in planning for the meadows festival, and I created production directories for the cities of Milan and San Francisco. These were the most significant projects of mine, but there were many to choose from. So much of what I learned about the production business is best taught through experience. I only experienced a summer with ESM, and I can tell that there is still a lot for me to learn. This was a great way for me to get my foot in the door and see what production really looks like, behind the stage doors.

Things that I will truly cherish from this summer are the relationships I have made with other people. The connections I secured with interns, staff, senior staff, contractors, and alumni have been instrumental in the success of this summer. Only through candid speech and personal experience can you really see the impact stressful jobs such as this create. The people I interacted with also helped me get an idea for what company culture looks like in businesses that aren’t as formal as those on wall street. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to come to work in shorts or a polo as opposed to a full suit.

Overall, I enjoyed interning at ESM productions very much. Their relaxed atmosphere, valuable business acumen, and star-studded list of clients are just parts of what makes ESM a premier production company. Being able to develop relationships here at ESM should help me pursue my career in this direction, possibly with ESM’s partner company RocNation.

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.