Category: GEMA, GEMA Externship

Title:GEMA Externship: Where Are They Now? – Gabrielle Gold (C’14), Walt Disney Television

GEMA launched its annual Externship Program in 2003, a unique experience where Georgetown seniors and graduate students spend one week in Los Angeles or New York during spring break, meeting with a number of alumni from a variety of fields in entertainment and media. Over 200 students and more than 500 alumni have participated in the program over its first 18 years and many of the externs have gone on to roles across the media landscape. In our series The GEMA Externship: Where Are They Now?, we reconnect with past Externs to find out how their careers have progressed since graduation.

Gabrielle Gold (C ’14), Manager, Drama Development at Walt Disney Television

In our latest installment, we catch up with Gabrielle Gold. Previously, she worked as an executive assistant at Dreamworks Studios and for Chris Brancato, before joining Disney in 2017 as an Administrative Assistant in Drama Development, a Drama Development Coordinator, and now Manager.

What was your experience like attending Georgetown? Were there any particularly formative experiences that were special to you?

I met a lot of my best friends at Georgetown and I really felt like part of the community. I think Georgetown really emphasizes the idea of men and women for others and the idea of serving your community in whatever way you can. That’s definitely something that inspired me to go into entertainment and to expand on those concepts. I had fantastic professors throughout my time at Georgetown. I remember one class in particular where we would watch films once a week, and that was just really informative in analyzing films and showing the important themes that they were trying to communicate and the different devices and ways they communicated them. I also took a great class about films in the Cold War, and it just expanded and expounded upon me the idea that films are responding to what’s going on in the world and can help shape what’s happening in the world as well.

What was your first “big break” into your industry?

I was really fortunate enough through some of the alums I had met through the GEMA externship and just through Georgetown to meet someone who introduced me to someone who had heard of a job at DreamWorks studios. So I worked at DreamWorks studios assisting the CEO and the CFO at the time and it was a fantastic place to learn and grow and with a fantastic team and insight into the film industry. I was really fortunate to work there.

That was my first big break, it got me into the door. It was my first assistant position and showed me the industry and showed me a more macro view of the entertainment industry, working for those types of executives. It was really instructive on how the industry worked. In my next job I was able to transition to television, which was more of my focus going forward.

What did your career path to your current position look like?

I next worked for Chris Brancato, who is a writer, producer, and showrunner who co-created Narcos. I started working for him as his assistant. It was an incredible experience learning from an experienced writer and producer and seeing a show from start to finish. I learned a lot from Chris and got a real inside view into the television industry, and was able to form connections and grow into transitioning over to ABC Signature.

Since I’ve been at ABC Signature, I’ve been able to learn from my colleagues and my bosses and have worked for amazing people. It’s been a great experience learning how much the industry changes, but also how much we are dedicated to producing fantastic content. I’ve been able to grow from assistant to coordinator to now manager in the same department working on drama development.

What do you do in your job now?

We have fantastic overall deals that we work with: writers, directors, producers we’re fortunate enough to work with. I work with a certain amount of them with helping their drama development slate. They have development everywhere from Disney+, to ABC, to FX, to Hulu, etc. to put projects together to take to those places. So it’s helping those projects along the way. I’m also fortunate enough to meet with writers in the industry who may not have deals with us and form relationships with them as well.

What is your favorite part of your current position?

I really think it’s getting to just work with really talented creators and see their visions come to life. I love it — at the end of the day I love to read and kind of engross myself in storytelling, and this is a great way for me to do it.

What was the externship experience like for you? Did it have an influence on your career/help kickstart your career?

The externship was really informative and really instructive. I applied as a second semester junior as I graduated after my first semester of senior year. I was really fortunate to be selected to participate and met some great fellow Georgetown students, but it was also a fantastic opportunity to hear from alums on what they thought was important and their paths. I think it’s really important to learn from people who have been in this business who have come from Georgetown. It’s just an opportunity that you don’t really get elsewhere. One of the people I met I even now work with! I continued to form those relationships after the externship program and try to keep up with the people I met with as much as I can.

What part of the externship did you find most valuable?

I think for me it was just the opportunity to meet people across the industry. I was interested in current and development at the time as well as entertainment marketing, and it helped to inform me on what those jobs actually entailed and what might be more interesting to me or not. I grew up in the Los Angeles area but I didn’t really know people in the industry, and going to Georgetown was fantastic and the alums are great and I tried to take advantage of the alumni network. It was just putting a finer point on what I might be interested in.

What’s your advice for an undergraduate trying to break into your industry?

If you’re interested in entertainment, I think it’s helpful to inform yourself as much as possible on some of the industry trends and programs. I recommend looking at the trade websites like Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, The Ringer, Variety. I think it’s also important to talk to alumni, because that was really informative for me in figuring out what I was attracted to in a position and a company and what I maybe wasn’t as interested in. That helped shape me in that in DC, there are amazing opportunities, but at times the entertainment internship opportunities aren’t always as prevalent as they are in New York and Los Angeles. So, if you’re not fortunate enough to go to LA or New York or have one of those experiences in DC, I would really recommend talking to people reaching out through Hoya Gateway, reaching out through GEMA, reaching out through the Georgetown alumni network to help figure out what you’re interested in.

Have there been parts of the COVID-19 pandemic that have been super salient to the kind of strategy you’re doing in your position?

It definitely changed my work environment and I think it has cemented the importance of clear communication. But if anything, it’s shown me even more how storytelling can really impact people’s lives.