Missed call from LA & First Day

In early June, I slid my phone open to a missed call and voicemail from Beverly Hills, California. Assuming it was a telemarketer, I thought it strange that they left a message. “Hello Grace, this is [name] from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and I’m wondering if you’d still be interested in the digital preservation internship here.”

YES, as a matter of fact, I was!! Since I hadn’t heard a peep from the Academy after submitting my application in March, I assumed the internship spots were full and my last-minute application didn’t make the cut. However, it turns out there was still a place for me! I wrapped up my first session summer courses, packed two suitcases, and moved to Studio City in Los Angeles, CA two weeks later. The first few days were spent getting accustomed to Los Angeles: taking the subway for the first time and trying In-N-Out burger (verdict: delicious).

My first day at the internship was a whirlwind of touring the Pickford Center building and meeting Academy staff, most of the names I have since forgotten. The Pickford Center houses:

  • Academy archives responsible for film preservation, access, and outreach
  • The Science and Technology Council which furthers the science and technology of filmmaking (my department)
  • The Nicholl Fellows office which recognizes outstanding new screenwriters, each year receiving approximately 700,000 applications
  • Oral Histories department, which I believe works in conjunction with the archives
  • The Dunn Theatre, which provides viewing access for Academy staff and invited guests

Walking through the Pickford Center on the first day, I realized how unique each department is on its own, and how each is crucial to the larger mission of preserving film and film materials into the future. In addition, the hallways are lined with blown-up images from the Academy Special Collections (housed at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills, CA). These images are photographs from sets, of actors, of movie scenes, etc.

During this day, I also met a fellow intern, Hannah, who studies animation design at Carnegie Mellon University. She is working with a colleague of my supervisor focusing on color and imaging technology. We sit in the imaging lab which contains four workstations and a projector, all faced toward a large screen. The room seems a bit like a dungeon, since the lights are typically kept dim, and its a bit chilly (librarian cardigan in tow daily). However, I work with Hannah and another Academy employee helping escape any solitary dungeon blues.