Alumni network helps recent graduate earn post-graduate internship

Jeena Cadigan
July 22, 2020

(Editor's Note: This is the sixth in a series of stories about students from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications completing summer internships.)

Connections are key for Bellisario College alumnus Leo Massey, who earned his bachelor’s degree in May and is on the hunt for full-time employment while completing a post-graduate internship.

Massey is currently working out of his home in Philadelphia as an intern with Giant Spoon, an advertising agency located in Los Angeles. He attributes his success landing the internship to Penn State's big, supportive alumni network.

Leo Massey, Hollywood sign

Leo Massey with Melanie Weltner (middle) and Emma Furry in Hollywood.

IMAGE: Photo Submitted

“I love just connecting with different people,” said Massey, a film major who participated in the Penn State Hollywood Program this past spring. “I got in touch with everyone in the Penn State Hollywood magazine — every Penn State alum in Hollywood and eventually the head of alumni relations, too.”

Massey is working as a strategy researcher for the Giant Spoon this summer and spends his days brainstorming ways to promote TV shows and movies for companies like NBC and Warner Brothers. Massey is also responsible for writing a biweekly newsletter, “Studio Scoop,” that gets distributed to production companies with updates and briefs.

Massey recognizes that working as a strategy researcher is a different job than what he intended with his film degree, but feels he is learning valuable lessons that can transition between disciplines. Also, he thinks the experience will help him when he progresses to make his own films and start his own production company.

“I’m definitely going to integrate this into filmmaking,” Massey said. “Having a marketing perspective and strategy in mind certainly helps when you consider film distribution. Having these different perspectives besides just going out and creating something for the fun of it will make me better.”

One of Massey’s favorite parts of his internship is conducting research for Square, a financial service company that asks him to collect research on different groups of people from all ages and backgrounds that small businesses can then use in their marketing efforts.

“It was just trying to figure out these different personas that I didn’t really think about before and having them in the back of my head,” Massey said. “They’re a different segment in markets that people try to aim toward when they’re getting ideas out there and who they’re advertising for.”

Massey was originally in California completing internships (one with Fox, one with Silver Pictures) as part of the Hollywood Program when the coronavirus pandemic hit and students started to be sent home early.

Massey returned to Philadelphia to spend time with family. He hopes to return to the West Coast. Until that’s possible, he’s making the most of his virtual internship. Massey said one of the bigger challenges of the internship is working around the time difference between him and his Giant Spoon manager, who is located in California.

“Because I'm on the East Coast now it's a little different,” Massey said. “What we’ve been doing is that she sends me things the night before, so I have something to work on in the morning.”

Massey said he looks forward to earning a paycheck with a full-time job soon and starting his own production company in the future.

He feels he will reach that goal by connecting with more companies like Giant Spoon and more Penn State alumni.

“Make sure you have a foundation for people that are also as motivated and as persistence as yourself,” Massey said. “People that bring you up.”

Last Updated July 31, 2020