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Mathewson Parks
August 31, 2023

Intern to Producer: How a Berry Grad Turned One Summer into a Future in Hollywood

A day in the life of Mathewson Parks ’23, now a producer on the West Coast, begins with research. During pre-production, he wakes up and hunts down experts to help tell the latest story of Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker Serena DC, founder of Elysium Media, a film and TV production company. Currently, he’s involved in the studio’s development of two UFO documentaries.

Parks relocated to LA after graduation when he secured a highly sought after internship with the Television Academy Foundation. He was then selected as one of the top 10 interns and received the Bob Bennett Future Leaders award, which financially supported his housing, transportation and continued professional development. 

“I landed in reality television and documentary work, and it has taught me so much,” says Parks. “I love working with Elysium Media, and I’m excited to stay with them as an active producer as my internship officially ends. They’re my community and have really invested in me.” 


Parks pursued the Television Academy Foundation internship in new media after his experience as the content producer for the Center for Personal and Professional Development at Berry. He produced a well-known campus web show, “Matt on the Street,” where he spread awareness about professional development resources at Berry. Parks says he applied for the new media internship, aspiring to improve elements of social media culture. 

But when he arrived in Hollywood, he was not shy about other goals and experiences he wanted out of the internship. Though hired for social media, he ended up on set as first assistant camera, setting up audio, putting up lights, etc., on his first day. Because he had used the same gear and knew industry etiquette, the studio quickly noticed he wasn’t green and gave him room to step in and step up. 

Other Berry opportunities prepared Parks for the future. He gained experience shooting five short films with industry professionals in a special summer practicum. He also worked with Brian Campbell, associate professor of anthropology and environmental studies, on two documentary films: one focused on a Native American corn resistance ceremony and another telling the story of a woman returning to her ancestral farm and facing the challenges of confronting a history marked by slavery.

Parks says, “Dr. Brian Campbell taught me the difference between working with actors and real people in the documentary world. He modeled sensitivity to other perspectives and cultures and prepared me for conversations I’m having in pre-production today.” 

 After completing the required film classes, he then explored courses outside the communication department that rounded out his film and writing experience. Along with digital storytelling and filmmaking courses, he took film classes in the English and anthropology departments. 

Although he produced his first short film in high school and started making YouTube videos at an early age, Parks says his passion turned into a career at Berry College: “The Berry education is a playground for anyone who knows what they want to do. Berry will let you tailor your experience, and you can get a job in your area of interest. Being paid for something you love is a different level of accountability than the classroom. I had spaces, like the student multimedia studio, where I could be creative while also having spaces that taught me to produce for a more specific audience and goal.” 

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