UGA: Share a little bit about your time interning with Tyler Perry Studios.
Jamilla Johnson: It was truly a life-changing experience. I was a production assistant for If Loving You is Wrong and Love Thy Neighbor, two of Tyler Perry’s television shows. One of the main reasons I loved working there is because no two days were alike. Although the hours were long, time flew by because it was enjoyable. Being in such a fast-paced atmosphere and being surrounded by hard-working people who have years of experience were definitely attributes of the internship that contributed to it being a great learning environment. And I loved meeting the talent, of course.
How did that internship fit into your academic interests or major? How did a UGA faculty member help you with it?
Because I am a marketing major, many people are surprised to hear about my involvement at the studios as a production assistant. Truth is, I found my studies to be very relevant to my experience there. Marketing has so many forms, making it applicable to many, if not, all interests. I used it in the way I completed my tasks, the way I engaged with people and the way I thought about the many processes involved in the production life. Plus, my main area of interest is the entertainment industry, so this was a great opportunity in which I was able to combine the two. Many of my marketing professors were the ones who prepared me for such an internship. All the practice with presentations has allowed me to readily, effectively and professionally present myself in the business world.
How did that internship help clarify your future plans?
Before this opportunity, I wasn’t all that familiar with the TV/film industry, nor was it a main interest of mine. Now, I know for sure I can see myself working in that environment. I still have plenty of learning to do, but I at least know I like what goes on behind the camera. In addition, I was also able to become familiar with terminology and concepts surrounding contracts, deals and negotiations.
What were the benefits of doing that internship?
I was able to network with professionals from every angle of the TV/film industry, who eventually became mentors and people I can now call family. I had the opportunity to show them firsthand my work ethic and different skill sets. And to work for such a well-known company is one thing, but to leave there knowing I have real, hands-on experience under my belt is another.
How did that experience change you?
Well, for one, my work ethic has surely improved. I’ve had jobs before, but nothing as demanding as being a production assistant. In addition, I would say it also made me a more confident person, especially when applying to jobs or speaking in an interview. Lastly, my drive is stronger. After working at the studios, I became even more motivated and determined to get out there and find that career that will have me smiling on Monday mornings.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will be moving to Los Angeles to work at the headquarters of Creative Artists Agency, the world’s leading talent agency.