Hollywood Program FAQs
What are the dates of the Penn State Hollywood program?
The program takes place within the spring academic semester.
What kinds of internships will be available?
The entertainment industry provides a vast array of opportunities that would meet the interests of students in any Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications major. Students might intern in production or post-production. Many, if not most, of the television shows you enjoy are produced, at least in part, in the Los Angeles area. Of course, Hollywood is the film capital of the world. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Students majoring in public relations or journalism might find work in the entertainment publicity field working for a network, a particular show, a studio or an independent firm. Los Angeles is the second-largest TV market in the country, so student looking to work in television (including news) will find opportunities at several networks or network owned-and-operated TV stations. For those looking to get into the "business" behind the entertainment business, such as entertainment law, programming, talent agencies (just to name a few) myriad opportunities exist. Advertising majors looking for opportunities in the creative side of the field will find that Los Angeles is the site of much television commercial production -- and ad agencies and creative services divisions of television stations create a great deal of those spot. Again, this is just a glimpse of the opportunities available, and when music, online and video game opportunities are added to the mix, the possibilities are limitless.
Does the Penn State Hollywood Program guarantee students an internship?
Utilizing an enthusiastic network of alumni and internship partners in the Los Angeles area who appreciate the reputation of Penn State and the Bellisario College, the program has abundant interest from potential internship sites. As a result, the Penn State Hollywood Program places selected students into an internship role related to their professional field of interest. The scope of a student’s targeted professional field is determined during the application and interview processes. The Penn State Hollywood Program does not guarantee students internship roles at specific organizations because hiring decisions are made internally within each organization.
Are students required to receive academic credit for internships?
No, but some organizations may require students to take at least one internship credit in order to comply with labor laws if no other form of compensation is made available.
Are internships paid?
Many internships in the entertainment industry and related fields are unpaid and the internship coordinator does not use compensation as a criterion in student internship searches. Some students may receive small stipends for their work, but students should not expect them.
Are students able to work part time outside of their internships to earn extra money?
Yes. If it does not conflict with their internship commitment, Penn State Hollywood Program students may secure part-time work to generate income.
Where will students live?
Housing for the Penn State Hollywood Program will be at Oakwood Toluca Hills, 3600 Barham Boulevard, Los Angeles.
Are students required to use the housing provided by the program?
No. Students with close friends or relatives near Los Angeles can opt to live with them as a cost-saving measure. Students who choose to find their own housing cannot be included in the Hollywood Program housing at a later date after shopping around.
Will I need a car while living in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is a sprawling metropolitan area, and its reputation for having the worst traffic in the country is well-deserved. That said, having a car is a definite plus. Most people you talk to in Los Angeles will say it's an absolute necessity. (Of course, that's why the traffic is a nightmare!) Additionally, Los Angeles is lacking in the area of public transportation. While bus service is extensive and will get you to most places, often with transfers to other lines, rail service is limited. Buses obviously share the road with all other traffic so getting somewhere on time requires careful planning. That said, in researching what other university programs do, we found that while most students do not bring a vehicle to Los Angeles or procure one while they are there (you may be able to rent a vehicle for the semester), about a third of students rely on public transportation. Some carpool with students who have vehicles. In terms of full disclosure: Transportation is not easy -- but it's not impossible either, and the benefits of testing the waters of the entertainment industry in Hollywood through a low-risk, structured University program that provides an internship, housing and academic course opportunities far outweighs the inconvenience.
What does it cost to participate?
Students will pay their regular Penn State tuition (in-state/out-of-state) as if they were at University Park. There is also a $500 program fee. We negotiate the housing contract once we have our enrollment figures determined. The remaining costs (transportation, food, entertainment, etc.) are, in large part, up to students. Those costs will vary with each individual student. Obviously, the total semester costs will be greater than what you pay at University Park, but you should think about it as an investment in your future. If you have ever dreamed of working in the entertainment business in some capacity, this may be your only opportunity to determine if that lifestyle is really for you. Many people, including hundreds of Penn State alumni, have thrived in Hollywood and have discovered lives beyond their wildest imagination. Others have not enjoyed it and moved away as soon as they could. The greatest advantage of a program like the Penn State Hollywood Program is that it provides you a chance to see what the business ire really like -- from the trenches -- and not as glamorized in fiction. It is a difficult business, but it also is one that opens up tremendous opportunities for people who are willing to work hard at it.