" Don’t define your success by comparing yourself to others. You’re not always going to be the best person in the room and that’s okay. Focus on what you bring to the table."
Hear Megan talk about her experience in the film industry, and how you can pursue it too!
Living out my dream of holding an Oscar at the Academy Gold orientation day.
My career roadmap has been all over the place.
Growing up I was interested in everything. I never knew quite what I wanted to do, but as I got older I started to hone in on science and engineering. I loved the idea of becoming a Disney Imagineer because it offered an opportunity to blend science with creativity.
I transferred to AOC my junior year. As I took more classes, my interests quickly shifted away from science and engineering. I found a real passion for politics and human rights issues and decided I wanted to pursue a degree in International Relations.
After graduating from AOC, I went on to attend Claremont McKenna College (CMC). I went in as an International Relations major and planned to later add a dual or double major in Economics. I was particularly focused on studying human rights.
Half way through my sophomore year, I decided to leave CMC and go study abroad for a year. I spent a semester in Buenos Aires studying social movements and human rights. After spending the summer traveling around Latin America, I moved to Prague to study film.
Upon returning to the States, I decided to commit to pursuing a career in film. I declared a dual major in Film Studies at CMC. During the summer, I started working as an on-set Production Assistant (PA) and interned at a documentary company focused on film distribution to educational outlets.
During my last semester at CMC I was offered an internship at the Walt Disney Studios. I knew I had to take the opportunity, so I worked with my college to set up a plan that would allow me to do the internship and still graduate on time.
While interning at Disney, my team nominated me for the Academy Gold Talent Development and Inclusion program. The program honestly changed my life. It launched my career, helped me establish connections with some of the top people in the industry, and introduced me to a great group of friends.
After graduating, I continued my internship at Disney. I reached a crossroads when I was offered a salaried position in systems and strategy with Disney’s Mastering group as well as a PA gig at Marvel. I chose to take a leap of faith and follow my passion for film production.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
ECo-founder of International Club
AOC Student Task Force
Volunteer at SRD Straightening Reins
Watched lots of movies (the easiest and most fun way to start your film education!)
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Conducted field work in Argentina and completed a capstone on film as a tool of collective memory in the wake of human rights abuses
Attended a semester at FAMU, a Czech film school, where I created a 16mm short film
Worked as an on-set PA for Blue Sky Films, LLC
Mastering Intern at The Walt Disney Studios
Academy Gold 2019 Intern
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
I recently wrapped production on Marvel’s Black Widow where I worked as a VFX Production Assistant. Soon, I will be transitioning to a post-production coordinating role within Marvel Studios. I plan to continue working in post-production management and learning the inner workings of the industry. In my opinion, film and television have the ability not only to entertain, but to empower and educate. I want to make sure that responsibility isn’t taken lightly and that I do my part in creating a more inclusive storytelling environment. I don’t know exactly what the future will hold, but I know that I will continue to work to tell stories that reflect who we are and who we should strive to be.
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: Stop worrying and start enjoying! Keep following your passions and embrace every opportunity that comes your way. I promise you that things will work out.
Advice #2: Don’t define your success by comparing yourself to others. You’re not always going to be the best person in the room and that’s okay. Focus on what you bring to the table.
Advice #3: Know your story. In the entertainment industry everyone will ask you the same three questions: Who are you? What do you do? And what do you really want to do? Know these answers and have your elevator pitch ready. This industry is all about storytelling, so always be ready to tell yours.
Advice #4: Build your network. When you first start out it will feel awkward building these connections, but it’s essential and gets easier each time you do it. And remember, don’t just network with those above you. Network with your peers. They’re the ones you will be working with in the future.
Advice #5: Find a support system. The entertainment industry can be brutal. Whether it's the long hours, creative burnout, or the inevitable PA experience of someone yelling at you that their coffee order isn’t right, you are going to have some bad days. Surround yourself with people that will lift you up and encourage you to keep chasing your dream.