This summer, three aspiring screenwriters studying creative writing in the UCF Department of English had an opportunity to dive into the entertainment industry thanks to an innovative internship launched by department lecturer Jason Gregory ‘19MFA.
Gregory partnered with Roadmap Writers, a platform that connects aspiring screenwriters with education, tools and training. In creating the internships, he aimed to provide his students with hands-on experience in the screenwriting industry to bolster their future careers.
“My goal for this program is to give them hands-on experience with what they learn in the classroom, allow them to network with industry professionals and literally give them a ‘roadmap’ for their screenwriting career,” Gregory explains. “We want to create a pipeline into the industry and open up opportunities for our students to become screenwriters and producers.”
Beyond establishing the program, Gregory served as a mentor to the participating interns, encouraging them to seize the opportunity and providing support along the way.
“In addition to trusting his advice and the opportunities he gives his students, his dedication to us and his passion to help us succeed convinced me that this internship was the next step I needed to take toward achieving my goals,” shares Jennifer Musser, a senior and intern with the program. “I was incredibly thankful to receive the opportunity, especially knowing that he would be rooting for me along the way.”
The interns’ daily responsibilities included assisting with screenwriting competitions by reading scripts and sitting in on interviews, as well as reviewing pitch reports that contain feedback from industry executives for screenwriters. Looking back on their experiences, all three interns felt they grew both professionally and personally:
When Megan Lee first learned of the opportunity to intern with Roadmap Writers, she jumped at the chance to gain hands-on experience in the industry. While reading scripts and reviewing pitches, she honed her craft and gained a stronger understanding of what it takes to succeed as a screenwriter.
“It would have taken me so long to gain the experience this internship offered,” she says. “I’ve also made industry connections that will help me as I continue to develop my career. I feel so much more confident in my understanding of industry standards and best practices for future career opportunities.”
As a senior, Jennifer Musser knew she wanted to gain experience in the entertainment industry before graduating. Her internship with Roadmap Writers allowed her to do just that, as she assessed and provided feedback on scripts, established her own voice as a writer and gained new confidence in her abilities.
“I developed new skills, strengthened old ones and discovered mistakes I had been making without realizing,” she shares. “Before the internship, making a mistake in the workplace would have shaken my confidence, but because of the team’s supportive nature, I was able to reframe my thinking and look at mistakes as just growing pains.”
For Chevy Harrington, participating in the Roadmap Writers internship program was an obvious choice thanks to the encouragement of Gregory. Looking back, she found the experience to be a catalyst for growth, both as a screenwriter and personally.
“The insight we gained from this experience has put us interns years ahead on the business side of this industry, and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful and excited for what’s to come,” she shares. “When I graduate in December of 2021, I have every intention to move out to Los Angeles and pursue both screenwriting and acting. I have both Professor Gregory and the Roadmap team to thank for this opportunity and warm welcome into the industry.”
By the end of their internships, Lee, Musser and Harrington came away with more than just valuable career experience: they were hired as script readers for the organization’s screenwriting competitions, marking the first step of their professional journeys.
“I feel honored to have the opportunity to continue my journey with Roadmap Writers, and both the internship and the job have provided me with such confidence, clarity and security for who I am as a developing writer,” says Musser. “I cannot wait to continue developing into who I have always wanted to be.”
To learn more about studying English at UCF, click here.