LAVA BEAR Conclusion

My internship has come to a close! Unlike in my other posts, I feel at a loss for words. This experience at Lava Bear was everything I had hoped it would be. In my exit interview, I pretty much delivered heaps upon heaps of effusive praise. Lava Bear is a great company – it was sheer serendipity that this place was perfect for me. The last few days have been rough, acclimating to the responsibilities of “real life” and accepting that my time in Los Angeles has come to a close (or at least a hiatus).

The viewof Lava Bear through the garage
The view of Lava Bear through the garage

Spending these last few days reflecting, I feel that I accomplished my many goals. I now know that I could happily live in LA. I now know that I could work in development. I now know that I could read scripts for a living. This summer was not necessarily revelatory (it was too lifelike for that) but it was an incredibly important step in my career. I now know that I want to learn more about film budgeting and the Massachusetts Film Commission (potential future internship site?). I have developed a deeper love of screenwriting that I cannot really expound upon; again, my confidentiality agreement heeds, but I must say that one of the highlights of my summer was sorting through tens of fascinating and individualistic scripts that I cannot tell you about.

I was just discussing with a friend whether I thought reading such a dense volume of scripts improved my writing. While I don’t think it stoked my creative side, I feel my analytical work will be much stronger now. My wit is definitely more acerbic, that’s for sure! I will definitely be able to apply these skills during my final year at Brandeis. On the way out, one of the higher-ups told me I should start a blog. What a thought! I discussed with my coworkers the possibility of moving out here; all of them seemed willing (even eager) to help me locate a job. Writing thank-you notes was easy. I feel blessed and happy that I was able to make this dream a reality (with the help of others). Moreover, I made contact with a bevy of independent artists in the community. The friends I have made in California have been wonderful. I feel satisfied with the networking I did, and furthermore, I believe I developed my skills in networking.

I walked past this street art every day on the day to work
I walked past this street art every day on the day to work

My thoughts on film have shifted, particularly my thoughts on screenwriting. I feel pretty confident that I could work various vocations, from a suit to a creative. Now I have this year to make some decisions about the niche I want to occupy. Thanks to the WOW, I feel certain that I could compete in this landscape. I encourage anyone looking to work in film to simply start networking immediately. Networking is vital and you cannot make film without the assistance of others. That is what I love about film art, that it requires collaboration. I took particular joy in showing the work of Brandeis Television, a club I’m on the E-board of, to my employers and artistic friends. This is also not a shill, but I strongly recommend taking advantage of the resources the Hiatt Career Center has to offer. I used Hiatt offices to conduct my multiple phone interviews, have my resume checked, and the advice of my Hiatt liaison has been vital throughout the process. Keep working, keep pushing, because really, what else is there to life besides kindness and art-making?

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog posts, my intermittent Carriemoments. Bonne chance, Brandesians and future WOW’ers!

-Alex Weick, Brandeis 2015


A few days ago we had a staff dinner on a rooftop overlooking Venice boardwalk at the Hotel Irwin. The sunset and vertical slope transformed what is otherwise a dingy, vulgar area into an aesthetic utopia. Enjoying the sunset with my kind coworkers was a joy as I scarfed down (too many) fish tacos. A good friend of mine was visiting and able to attend. A compatriot in weirdness, introducing him to my new professional sphere was exciting. I could see our occupational imaginations merge as my friend (and collaborator) imagined himself working in this lovely city. This is the compelling beauty of Los Angeles, as disparate, global peoples unify in a visual practice as commercial as it is creative. As a favorite song of mine echoed from the well-curated rooftop DJ setup, I celebrated friendship and work, entities slowly but surely melting into one.

20140717_194553My internship supervisor and I. Forgive the glasses, it’s that LA sun.

As a reminder, I am working as a general intern and script-reader at Lava Bear Films in Los Angeles. After many weeks, my experience of script-reading has remained consistent, but my skills have developed. Occasionally coverage can become an echo chamber, but it is comforting to know that my opinions often align with those of my more business-minded coworkers. It’s also fun how a bad script can be great fodder for nuanced (and gleefully literary) critique. I am sometimes reminded of my art-house preferences but I consider that par for the course. Fortunately, there has been an influx of engaging material and assignments in the last few weeks, so my writing has been more chipper. The only downside is that I’ve developed a slight reputation for a critical lens, but people have told me that they respect it.

In that vein, perhaps my most valuable learning experience occurred recently after reading a frustrating script. The plot, the characters, the tone all rubbed me the wrong way. Within 50 pages I knew had serious disdain for the work and I wrote accordingly scathing coverage. I ended up meeting with one of the head-honchos about my coverage; they had felt a kernel of worth was subsumed within the script’s cluster of issues, issues that dominated my personal opinion. Their critique of my coverage produced the most beneficial dialogue I’ve had here. They cited my disdain as valid, but also a factor that foreclosed subtlety when I relied on a negative approach. In retrospect, I completely agree with them. We also discussed generational preferences, a productive exchange for both parties. It was one of those utterly intimidating but beneficial experiences you fall into in life. I could feel my brain resetting as my perspective matured. That one conversation has led me to necessarily re-evaluate my coverage technique and criteria for script quality. I feel very fortunate that the people at Lava Bear take the time to engage me in this way.

For me, the highlight of each week (funny as I think the staff finds them mostly mundane) is the weekly Monday meeting. During them, we evaluate scripts read over the weekend. I can feel my presentation skills improve in these meetings. Pitching, something that terrified me before this summer, now feels accessible and natural. My analytical perception of scripts has shifted radically since I began. In the past I ha arbitrarily referenced box office and saleability, but I now feel genuinely informed. I’ve noticed that I now place a lot more value on concept. I often appreciate a script based on concept or core alone, whereas writing style and conventions usually reigned supreme in my old evaluations. This may come across as a subtle change, but it is paradigm-shifting for me, as a person who engages in critical analysis near-constantly. I look forward to exercising these skills in my filmic endeavors throughout senior year (and beyond!).

I am learning an immense amount, making a lot of progress on my goals. I cannot emphasize enough how expansive this experiential learning has been, compared to my classroom and self-taught knowledge. I’ve been taking meetings with many of my coworkers, more seriously discussing future career options. These choices are daunting (development or production, location, etc.) but these are the serious thoughts I came here to engage. Talking to different members of the staff has given me wide insight: young creative execs paint me pictures of career beginnings, financial overseers explain shareholder meetings and film slates, and industry vets teach me how best to evaluate talent. Comprehensive clarity about my career still eludes me, but I certainly feel much more informed. Witnessing the clockwork of film development has given me confidence that I could work in this field after graduating.


LA has begun to feel less idyllic and more like a simple, exciting city that I am merely inhabiting. Thus I have accomplished my goal of vetting Los Angeles’ viability; thanks to the WOW, I know now that I could happily move here. Some of my lesser goals, of course, have been slightly neglected. Goals of networking have mutated, once I discovered that virtually all connections (beyond the office space) are valuable, but in different ways. I’ve been writing less recreationally, an expected fatigue after reading writing and then writing about writing, all day, every day. My thesis remains a radioactive, untouchable fellow, but that is the reality of a 9-5 job, again, precisely the real-world experience I came here to attain.

In addition to my experiences at Lava Bear, I’ve invested in the local performance art community, gone to a bevy of screenings, and become a regular at a few locales. I’ve not lost sight of fields close to my heart. I’ve even met a few minor idols of mine (I shall keep them anonymous, I don’t ingratiate and tell!). I love the community here. I love the artists, the filmmakers, the writers, the executives, the Lyft drivers, and the people who run the food trucks. Okay, I hate the people who run the 711 next to my apartment, but they also sell gummy sharks, and where else am I going to get them at 2 AM?!


Alex Weick


This is Alex Weick touching down from Lava Bear Films in Los Angeles! More specifically Culver City: the film company where I am working this summer is couched in a creative adaptive reuse project, a “campus,” where the plants are deep green and the food trucks are sumptuous. Lava Bear Films is a production and film financing company.

I have various internship responsibilities, but my predominant obligation is to do Script Coverage. Coverage is when you write a synopsis of a script and give your feedback, suggesting whether it be produced, pursued, or thrown in the trash. The ideal is to separate the wheat from the chaff so that higher-ups don’t have to bother with the subpar work agents submit. I pride myself on being both a benevolent giver of constructive criticism and a vicious critic who eviscerates soulful, sentimental work, thus the work is apt. You would be shocked at the amount of typos professional screenwriters submit; rest assured, I believe I could definitely forge a career in this.

I wish I could tell you all more about what I’ve been reading, but it’s all top-secret! I had to sign a waiver and everything! Although part of me wishes I could share, feeling privy to the internal machinations of the film industry is an exciting feeling that I actually relish. This sensation of exclusivity, seeing the gears which modulate Hollywood and the star machine…it is fascinating and inspiring for someone who loves film deeply.

I located my internship through a friend, but I earned the job through my coverage. I encourage people to locate studios which produce work they really appreciate. Be persistent and responsible in your application process. If you want a career in entertainment, there aren’t any other options than to pull out the stops, locate the work you enjoy and find the people facilitating it.

The first week was interesting. Day one I was excited, I can be a tiny bit nervous when I’m excited about an opportunity. Fortunately, it all worked out beautifully. The staff is lovely, diverse, intimately sized (my mentoring is dedicated, hands-on), and my supervisor is wonderful. She’s helpful, she answers all my questions, and is eminently concerned that I am learning and growing during this process. AND she has fabulous music taste!

My humble intern hideaway

I’ve learned a fair amount about how business deals are made (hint: lots of discussion) and I’ve re-learnt a cursory life lesson: the necessity of brevity. I, of course, am the queen of redundancy and tangents, but I’ve managed to become more succinct in the coverage I’ve completed so far. You simply can’t afford to babble when there are more important goals to accomplish. Moreover, I think it will help me when I’m trying to produce creative projects and understand how to better pitch and sell stories.

My overarching goals are manifold. First and foremost, I want to further understand what professional niche I intend to occupy. One can only get a limited idea of what a film-career might look if they rely on screenwriting books and hearsay. Being present is vital: seeing who pulls what weight or how I might someday take on responsibilities. Furthermore, I want to build a network in the area. My coworkers have been very supportive about the prospect of a future career here.

Another goal was to figure if I could imagine living in L.A., and let me tell you, I definitely could! The greenery and weather are glorious, the clubs are exponentially better than any in Boston, and the food is delicious (albeit expensive, but c’mon, it’s L.A.!). It feels incredible to be in a community of artists and people who appreciate art. I feel so whole being around tenacious and creatively engaged citizens, even tangentially and indirectly. I could do without the overabundance of fedoras (which are apparently in style here?) but eh, you take the good with the bad.

My final purpose was to do research that will inform my thesis and future writing and certainly, this all will. The density of scripts I’m reading and the coverage I’m writing are improving my writing, particularly my ability to balance literary economies of purpose, production and expression. In the middle of week one, I had a brain surge that revolutionized my thesis. I feel very in touch with my creative soul in The City of Angels.

I even got to go to Lava Bear’s first film premiere! The Rover, starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, is excellent. Go see it! The movie’s harsh realism was right up my alley. I feel so fortunate to have located a production studio that supports independent, innovative, alternative talent. Also: I made eye contact with Zac Efron at the premiere. It’s puerile of me, but I could have burst into tears. I looked right into the abyss and it inexplicably stared back, filled with promise and potentialities of realizing dreams. I feel confident this is where I should be and fortunate that the WOW has helped make it happen.

So long, WOW’ers and readers. I will return soon to regale you with stories of my travails, and ideally, more celebrity sightings.

Outside the Lava Bear office

Alex Weick — Brandeis University 2015