Junior Health and Societies major Rayne Harris spent a month on a movie set this summer in Seattle, working as a producer’s assistant. She (probably) still wants to be a pediatric cardiologist but was excited to talk to Street about dabbling in the world of film.
Street: Where did you work this summer, and how did the internship come about?
Rayne Harris: This summer I worked in Seattle with an L.A.–based film crew. I was hired as an intern on a movie called “One Square Mile,” and I fully expected to run errands and fetch coffee. To my pleasant surprise, after just one day in the production office I was promoted to the main producer’s assistant. From that point on I was in charge of everything from assembling teams of potential cast members to keeping up with schedules and making sure the actors and actresses were comfortable.
Street: What did you do on a daily basis? What projects was the company working on?
RH: The movie was about a young man who rose above adversity to become a track star. I contacted local schools in an effort to secure track team members to work as actors/actresses on the movie. I emailed universities (including Penn) to request approval for the use of their jerseys to be worn by the actors in the actual collegiate race that was to be filmed as part of the movie. I also contacted local businesses and vendors to obtain items to be given to the cast and crew members as gifts.
Street: Did you meet anyone cool? Who was the most interesting person you spent time with?
RH: The entire cast and crew were amazing. I learned volumes about the inner workings of producing a movie and the amount of money, time, effort and cooperation that go into creating such a spectacular project. I met Kelly Blatz (“Prom Night”), Analeigh Tipton (“America’s Next Top Model”), Richard Jenkins (“The Visitor”), Cam Gigandet (“Twilight”) and Rhys Coiro (“Entourage”).
One of the coolest people I met was one of the producers of the movie. She was my boss, Deborah Moore. Mrs. Moore has produced over 85 movies during her career as a moviemaker, including “Dumb and Dumber” and “Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Mrs. Moore is a driven, hard working, passionate filmmaker who pays attention to every detail of her job. She, along with her co-producer Dane Lilliegard, taught me the ropes of how to be a great producer.
Street: What surprised you most about how the production company functioned?
RH: I believe the aspect of filmmaking that I found most surprising was the way that everyone was important on and off the set. No job was too small. The director treated his camera crew the same way he treated the caterer. Everyone became so close that it was very hard and sad to leave knowing this same team of people would probably never be together again. It was also interesting to see that the real power in making movies is in the hands of the producers. There can be multiple producers on any one movie; these are the people that bring the investors to the table. All this time I thought that the directors and the actors were the ones who called the shots. I learned, through this experience, that the producers are the ones who create the teams that make the movies.
Street: What was the biggest challenge you and/or your colleagues faced?
RH: The biggest challenge was honestly leaving at the end of the shoot. I was in Seattle for over a month but I was not ready to leave the city, the people or the job. My colleagues and I were given an unbelievable opportunity to live and breathe the Hollywood experience with actors, directors and producers that were the same age or a little older than us. We got to experience first hand what it was like to be behind the scenes in the world of production. I learned how much time it takes for a good movie to be made and how much work people put into making that final product shine.
Street: If you had to highlight one specific experience from the summer, what would it be?
RH: If I had to highlight one specific experience, it would probably be seeing my hard work come to fruition on the track scene days. I assembled teams [of runners] from across the state to be in the Regional, State and National track scenes. Seeing them all come together to fill out the shot was amazing. I had the wonderful opportunity of getting to know the college kids that came out to make up the main character’s team. They worked on multiple days, and each day they came in excited, ready and willing to run. In all of the work I did I can honestly say I made at least fifty new friends and/or connections for the future.