When Sophie Allen was deciding which Drexel University co-op internship *** to choose, she knew one thing: She wanted hands-on experience and no stuffy clerical work.
Expressway Cinema Rentals has had the pleasure of working with many co-op students and interns over the years. This year Allen, a senior Film and Television major, has taken the reins. Over the past six months, Allen has fully immersed herself in our grip and electric department, where she spends her days packing trucks, checking orders in and out, and even doing on-set crew work.
“The only experience I had before working here was just in classes,” says Allen.
“I felt lucky to get on some features and shorts through Expressway. It feels like you are getting your foot in the door in the Philly scene.”
Before Allen came to Expressway, her experience with grip and electric was minimal. She had prior knowledge from an advanced lighting class but primarily worked in the sound department.
“It was nice to come into a place where I was reassured that I was knowledgeable,” says Allen. “Everyone here was really supportive. If I did not know something, it was not something I was made to be ashamed of. It was just, ‘if you do not know it, we will teach it to you.’”
Allen had specific requirements she wanted from a co-op. She wanted her work to be an entry to the production industry and to pick up practical skills along the way. After she toured Expressway’s campus, she knew it was the perfect place to achieve those goals.
Her instincts were right. In just six short months her internship transformed her into a grip and electric guru.
“I learned how to service things and how to figure out how to fix gear,” says Allen. “Now I feel comfortable opening up a piece of equipment breaks.”
This skill makes Allen a valuable asset to any film set.
“I feel like if something stops working on set, I can fix it and get that train back in motion,” says Allen. “Plus, I would not be nervous to grab a piece of gear because I would recognize what it is.”
While Allen has worked hard in the grip and electric warehouse, she has also found time to bond with her peers and forge long-lasting connections.
“I realized that I did not tell anyone it was my birthday,” she says.
“When my coworker found out, he went out and got cake for us to celebrate. That was one of those moments where I realized I was not looked at as an intern. I was fully welcomed into the company.”
After her co-op, Allen will continue working with Expressway while she finishes her studies. She is eager to welcome Expressway’s next co-op and share some sage advice with them.
“Do not be afraid to ask questions,” she says.
“Take the opportunity, go full force with it, get a back brace and bring a big ass water bottle.”
Come work with us! Expressway routinely seeks current students and recent graduates for various positions like internships, part-time work, and co-ops. Keep an eye out on our website to see all current available positions.
***Drexel University requires its undergraduate students to complete at least one 6-month period of cooperative education. Think of it as an internship, except instead of making coffee runs students get a chance to gain hands-on experience.