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English major Eric Armstrong ’02 (Lexington, Mass.) went behind the scenes in Hollywood during an internship at a company known for its special effects work in Titanic, Apollo 13, and Fight Club.

Armstrong interned this past summer at Digital Domain in Venice, Calif., where he fielded calls from the stars as well as read scripts and shared his opinions of them.

“I decided on the internship because film has always interested me, and it seemed like a great opportunity,” says Armstrong. “The internship exceeded all of my expectations, largely due to the feared Actors Guild strike and cutbacks throughout Hollywood.”

As a result of those, the student says he got to take on more “real” work than would ordinarily be the case for an intern. Armstrong didn’t work in special effects, but rather in the company’s Feature Film Development branch, where a large part of his tasks included reading scripts, writing notes and reports, and clerical duties.

“My favorite part of the internship was reading the scripts, envisioning them as films and knowing that my opinion or the opinion of the company had the potential of creating a visually loaded blockbuster from the words printed on bland sheets of paper,” says Armstrong.

“Also, reading scripts, taking phone calls from Michael Keaton, Jackie Chan, and Ray Liotta, and spending my lunch breaks sun-bathing on Venice Beach is not all that bad of a job,” he adds.

Armstrong spent about 75 percent of the time reading scripts and writing reports on them. He also handled some scheduling tasks, did Internet research, and tracked talent.

“Interns are also encouraged to express themselves creatively by bringing their own ideas and perspectives to the biweekly story meetings,” says Taemi Lim company spokesman.

Digital Domain believes internships offer students strong, practical professional experience, forcing them to set priorities quickly when dealing with other industry professionals.

“Also, at a company like Digital Domain, interns are exposed to other areas of the business such as commercial production and post-production for high-profile feature films,” says Lim.

Armstrong believes that Lafayette’s liberal arts curriculum significantly improves his marketability, since his education isn’t limited to reading and writing.

“I came to the school as a computer science major and will graduate as an English major,” he notes. “That’s interesting considering that I worked at a company that specialized in computerized graphics for movies, in the Film Development department, which required my English skills.”

A graduate of Lexington High School, Armstrong is a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and played baseball in his first two years at Lafayette.

Categorized in: Academic News