Pierre Karam is a second-year Media & Screen Studies and Political Science combined major, with a Business Administration Minor, at Northeastern. He is currently on co-op with Easy Rider Films in Paris, France. We caught up with Pierre to find out how his global co-op experience as a Production Assistant has been. Read more below.
What does a typical day working at Easy Rider Films, in Paris, look like for you?
My responsibilities at Easy Rider Films varied daily. Easy Riders is a startup so there is a lot of communication work to handle such as maintaining the website, updating social media, etc. Besides the communication portion of it, I also read incoming scripts and write summaries called ‘reading sheets’ for my employers to save them some time. Additionally, I manage the company’s calendar, do translation-work, and prepare festival applications. Before starting my co-op, I knew my work would be diverse, but I did not realize how quickly I would be learning so many various things.
How did you prepare for role at Easy Rider Films, especially since it is a global co-op?
I opted to do a co-op with Easy Riders in Paris, France, as I knew it was not going to experience cultural shock. I spent a lot of my time in Paris growing up, where an important part of my family lives. I knew that by choosing a city that I’m already familiar with I would rapidly be able to focus on my co-op.
What’s one of the most valuable things you’ve learned at Easy Rider Films thus far?
I am lucky to be able to take part in many of my company’s professional meetings, which is something completely new to me. This definitely helped me gain a deeper understanding of the ways networking work in the film industry. In fact, what might look and sound like a very casual meeting can actually be a crucial and valuable networking opportunity or business interaction. During the Berlinale festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, I got the chance to network with professionals from all around the world.
What are some challenges, highlights, or other notable facets of living and working abroad?
Again, Paris is not a foreign city for me, however, this is the first time I’m technically living here, and spending so much time in the city. I integrated places I love, such as the French Cinematheque, or Partisan Café, into my daily routine and the city also allows me to practice one of my favorite hobbies which is photography. Another highlight for me is attending the Berlinale Festival. Our schedule was completely full – we had meetings and events all day (and night) and as an intern I was able to take part in professional company meetings, which was something completely new to me.
What interests you in particular about the film industry, and/or what inspired you to pursue this career path?
I have always loved film since I was a kid after my father introduced me to cinema. I find film’s capacity to transcend time and space to be specially powerful – more so than with any other singular medium – film encompasses multiple mediums which I enjoy (photography, music, literature…) – both on their own and combined! What I like most about film is probably its “magical” aspect. There are some films that are able to touch me profoundly, yet I will always be unable to explain why they did. David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return is a good example of this phenomenon. As of right now, I’m still exploring different aspects of the industry since I am not exactly sure which field of film I would like to pursue in the future but production in particular really interests me because it makes use of my Media and Screen Major and my Business Administration Minor.
Tell us more about your experience at the Boston International Film Festival!
Last year, my friend Sully told me he found an interesting opportunity in Boston, the Boston International Film Festival. I joined him and we worked with the festival for four months. I was able to learn the behind-the-scenes functioning of film festivals and was able to take part in many pre-selection screenings. We even had the chance to set up films in the screening booth! This experience was definitely enriching, but I felt like I needed to immerse myself more deeply into the industry – hence my co-op choice.
Any advice to students who are thinking of going abroad for either a co-op or study abroad experience?
Depending on where you go, this might be a difficult challenge. However, it will most likely be worth it.
I do believe that exploring new environments and cultures is the best way to grow and understand ourselves and the world around us.
I am from Lebanon, and deciding to study in Boston was not an obvious education choice. I am however already seeing the benefits of it!