A weeklong internship on the set of a new TV series provided four Shenandoah University film production students with the invaluable experience of shadowing a professional crew.
The quartet of Elijah Immanuel ’23, Rachel Apostolico ’22, Madelyn Claire Turner ’24, and Shannon Forbes ’25 traveled to Atlanta in October to watch the workings of the upcoming series, “Wolf Pack,” starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, which is being created for the Paramount+ streaming service (premieres January 26). The show’s producers include Joe Genier and Mike Elliott of Capital Arts Entertainment, which has co-produced two feature films with Shenandoah: “Santa Girl,” and “Cupid for Christmas.” Both films provided Shenandoah students with filmmaking experience as cast and crew members.
Genier opened the door to the Shenandoah students for “Wolf Pack,” said Paul DiFranco, director of the Film Studio at Shenandoah, who hopes the existing relationship with Capital Arts will lead to other, similar internship opportunities for students in the future.
Apostolico, a film studies major and psychology minor who is set to graduate in December 2022, said she took the internship because it provided her with an opportunity to put her education into action. She hopes to be a script supervisor or involved in camera work, and in Atlanta, she learned more about the tools and software script supervisors use. She also gained insight into camera work.
“My favorite part of this internship was shadowing Sterling Wiggins, the 1st AC (assistant camera) to camera A,” she said. “He was so knowledgable and willing to teach us no matter how stupid our questions were. By the second day, Sterling and his team were teaching us things without us even asking a question about it.”
Turner, a junior film production student, also enjoyed working with Wiggins. “[He] let me pull focus for a scene and roll and cut the camera, which was an amazing experience,” she said.
Turner added that she also talked with the film’s director of photography on occasion, and also hung out with digital imaging technician Chad Oliver, who let her practice with his gear.
The connections made during the short internship may have long-term impacts for Shenandoah’s students.
“This experience will definitely help me in my future career/job search,” Apostolico said. “Getting a job in the film industry is 90% about who you know, and now I know some of the best camera people who have worked on countless successful projects. This experience gave me the opportunity to begin building a network of people who I can later reference when I am looking for a job.
“The best way to learn the way it really works is to see it for yourself, and there’s no experience more fulfilling and worth learning from than that,” Turner added. “I am so inspired and feel like I have the tools and the knowledge I need to take the steps I need to take to become a director of photography in the future some day.”
“I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this and I am so grateful to Paul DiFranco for making this trip even happen,” Apostolico said. “I am hopeful this trip was only the first, and that many more film students will get to experience this in the future.”
Featured photo above: SU film majors enjoy breakfast with Joseph P. Genier, executive producer of the Paramount+ show, “Wolf Pack,” premiering this January. Elijah Immanuel, Rachel Apostolico, Madelyn Claire Turner and Shannon Forbes spent a week as interns on the show, experiencing life on set in the professional film and TV world.