Student Internship Series: Santiago Arenas (CFA’22)

My Internship at Speakeasy Stage Company and Creator Up

In CFA’s Student Internship Series, music, theatre, and visual arts students at BU share their internship experiences. These Terriers express how the resources at BU prepared them for success beyond the classroom.

Being an advocate for themselves has opened multiple doors for BFA Acting major Santiago “Santi” Arenas (CFA’22). The Dallas, Texas native and soon-to-be graduate from BU College of Fine Arts had two internships during their time at BU. One at Speakeasy Stage Company in Boston over summer 2020 and one with Creator Up, a video production company based in Los Angeles. The internships allowed Santiago to discover a new interest in literary management and helped them get a better sense of what the Film and Television industry looks like, respectively. Read on to hear from Santi as they share their internship experiences with CFA and how they look forward to working in the producing side of arts and entertainment.

Photo by Ken Yotsukura

What’s your role in the internship? What are your responsibilities?

At Speakeasy, I was initially hired to help as a Marketing Intern for the summer of 2020. However, due to circumstances with COVID-19 at the time, I worked with multiple departments remotely. Namely, I did a lot of literary management work, reading through and analyzing scripts in order to help the company craft its next season of shows. I also got to help promote their audio play podcast series by helping draft press releases and other promotional materials. Then in spring 2021, I interned at Creator Up, working in the post-production department, providing script supervision to video editors in order to ensure that the productions fulfilled the guidelines given by clients. In addition, I helped manage the contact database of artists and specialists that work with the company.

How did you find out about the internship?

For Speakeasy, I learned about the internship through the company’s website. Once I found out about it, I was asked to give three letters of recommendation, which prompted me to reach out to three mentors of mine within CFA. I learned about the post-production internship at Creator Up through the BU in LA abroad program. Because my class was not granted the opportunity to study abroad outside of Boston, this opportunity became part of my pivot plan for the Spring 2021 semester. In order to secure the internship, I went through a typical application and interview process. Although I had an initial interview with my supervisors that went really well and made it seem I was a perfect fit for the position, I didn’t get the internship at first. However, immediately after I was given the news I didn’t get it, I was persistent and emailed back to ask what I could do to boost my resume for future opportunities. This must’ve made a good impression because my supervisors really wanted to work with me, and an additional internship spot was negotiated for me to fulfill.

Any notable accomplishments from the internship?

During my time at Speakeasy Stage, I was able to form meaningful connections with theatre professionals in Boston and begin to create a network of professional artists outside of CFA. In addition, I was able to gain skills in season selection and knowing how to choose material for a given audience. At Creator Up, I gained a lot more knowledge about the post-production world and the important language needed to be able to talk to editors.

Did resources at CFA or BU help you prepare for the internship?

The BU in LA staff were very helpful in teaching me and other interns in the program the proper etiquette and professional protocol for my internship at Creator Up.

How did the coursework at CFA connect with your internship?

I would say that the dramatic literature curriculum in the School of Theatre definitely prepared me to have in-depth conversations about scripts while I was at Speakeasy. On my first day of literary management meetings, I was so grateful for the tools that Dr. Kristin Leahey, assistant professor of dramatic literature & dramaturgy, provided in those courses. I think that the consistent collaboration skills that are required of me as a theatre student lent themselves very well to my intern meetings at Creator Up. There were definitely moments when our supervisors wanted us as interns to work together and the collaborative work from specifically my Theatre Ensemble and Directing classes definitely prepared me for those moments.

In what ways do you think the internship has prepared you for your work beyond BU?

As an Arts Leadership minor, I am extremely interested in working in the producing side of arts and entertainment. My time at Speakeasy definitely prepared me to understand how exactly a professional theatre company operates, as well as the internship opened my eyes to a newfound interest in literary management work post-grad. Even though I am a theatre student, I really want to work in Film and Television. My work at Creator Up has definitely given me tools to work in an entry-level post-production job as well as, despite the internship being remote, give me more of an idea of what the industry looks like in Los Angeles, a city I am considering moving to sometime after I graduate.

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout both of these experiences, I learned that I am a very adaptable person and that I do a very good job at picking up skills or learning how to do tasks that are thrown my way. In addition, I learned that the extroverted and personable nature that I walk into a room with is greatly appreciated in any professional environment.

Any advice for current CFA students beginning the internship process?

I would say that it’s totally okay to be nervous or feel unqualified in an internship setting, as it just means you have more room to grow and learn. Furthermore, I would recommend using internships to explore interests outside of your major.

What’s next for you?

After graduating this May, I will hopefully be moving to LA or NYC. As an acting major, I would love to sign with an agent or gain some sort of representation before doing so, but I also have already started looking for and applying for production management jobs in both cities.

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