Summer Job Diaries: Paramount TV Gig Offers Chance to Burnish Drafting Skills
Christopher “Chase” Turner ’19 is spending his summer as a business affairs intern at Paramount Television. There, he hones legal skills he developed as a first-year student. His tasks have included working on a rights agreement and checking credits for a show debuting on Netflix this fall.
Q: How did you land your summer job?
A: The best way to describe it is networking and good timing. I kept in touch with my former supervisor from my first-year summer because she regularly reached out to me to help her find venues for her networking events. I attended many of these events and was the only law student among 40-50 entertainment lawyers. In January 2018, she asked me if I could go to lunch with a fellow law student as a favor and I happily obliged. Not even a week later she asked if I was looking for a job and connected me with Paramount Television Business Affairs. I came to interview with the TV Business Affairs team the same day that I was having an informational interview with an attorney that I met at one of her networking events.
Q: What is the most interesting part of your job?
A: It is definitely getting to work on all the development projects. Working on these projects from the very beginning and watching them grow into an actual television series is exciting and elicits a sense of pride about my efforts. I have progressed from doing deal memos for the writers in the writers’ room, to the producers and directors to the performers in the series. Piece by piece, I am witnessing a series come together into a tangible product that the public will be able to appreciate.
Q: What has been your most challenging assignment thus far?
A: My most challenging assignment has been drafting a deal memo for a high-level writer/executive producer. The challenge is trying to discern the final deal points and putting them into a memo for legal affairs to use in order to draft the long-form contract. Reading these documents required understanding all of the nuances in television contracts. At some points, I felt like I was reading a different language! I had to take a step back, take the time to learn about what I was reading and refer to prior deals to try to understand it. Ultimately, I still didn’t get everything correct, but I emerged from the assignment with a better understanding of the material and my supervisor’s appreciation for attempting to figure it all out on my own.
Q: What new legal skill have you acquired during your summer job?
A: Working in this department has definitely reinforced being very detail-oriented. Whether it is comparing the approvals and restrictions language in each performer’s contact or drafting deal memos for all of the talent, I have learned to pay attention to every single word.
Q: What bit of legal knowledge have you been able to display?
A: I showed that I understand some deal terms. I have been fortunate enough to have several internships in entertainment, and I have experience working with television contracts. This background helped me pick up new information quickly and finish my assignments promptly and accurately.
Q: How has Loyola helped you map your career path?
A: I came to law school not knowing what I wanted to do. Loyola’s emphasis on networking was integral to shaping my path because it helped me discovered how interesting the entertainment law field is. Furthermore, the support I have received from my counselor Associate Director Marla Najbergier and my professors has been incredible. Whether it is giving me suggestions on internships I should take, encouraging me to continue in the industry, being there to answer my questions or listen to my concerns and frustrations. Not to mention, Loyola’s network in entertainment has been very beneficial. Loyola alumni have been some of my biggest mentors and I hope to do that for future students one day.