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A conversation with: Sky Robinson

A film student lives her dream of working on a major film with A-list actors

RACHEL ENGLISH

Robinson's film experience landed her an internship on a feature film. This aspiring director didn't let the stars faze her.

October 4, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Glitzy Hollywood spread some of its pixie dust on Stephens College student Sky Robinson this summer as she worked with stars such as Steve Carell and Maya Rudolph on their upcoming feature film, The Way, Way Back (2013).

After applying for countless internships and resigning herself to living in Columbia for the summer, Robinson finally heard back from the film crew one Thursday in late June. She had a shot at her dream internship — if she could be on set by the following Monday.

That’s how Robinson wound up making a two-day drive to Boston for what she refers to as the best summer of her life.

This wasn’t Robinson’s film debut. She has assisted with the Citizen Jane Film Festival, was a production assistant on a documentary episode for National Geographic and even directed a short film called Confession.

Robinson’s passion for film grew out of a love of story and writing. Her ambition is to write and direct a feature film just like the directors she worked under this summer.

The Way, Way Back is an independent film written and directed by the award-winning writers of The Descendents. The film follows a teenage boy and his coming-of-age story as he struggles to deal with a wrecked home life but finds companionship at his summer job at a water park. During her internship, Robinson rose from the intern-who-grabs-the-coffee to production assistant.

What exactly did your job consist of on the film?
I worked specifically with the actors. I made sure they were where they needed to be on set and on time for hair and wardrobe. I just had to wrangle the stars.

What was going through your mind on the first day?
I guess I was nervous. We had to use walkie-talkies, and so we had an earpiece. It took a while to get used to — I messed up on that the first day. It was a long day, and by the end of it, I couldn’t believe it had only been a day.

Is working with movie stars as glamorous as it seems?
Not really. After a while you just start seeing them as actors; they have a job to do like everyone else. And, I mean, my job wasn’t glamorous at all. Half of the time I was holding umbrellas for actors. But they were all just nice, real people.

What was it about this film that made your experience so great?
Just to see the type of story they told. This was a small-budget film, so everyone that was involved in this was very passionate, and they wanted to be there because of the directors and because of the script. I hope that someday my scripts will inspire that.

What was the biggest thing you learned this summer?
It was really reaffirming that I want to be on set the rest of my life. I just felt like I was where I belong. I can’t wait to get back on set after graduation.

Were you sad to see it end?
The last day was very bittersweet because it was a mix of everything we had accomplished and saying goodbye. We literally became a family in six weeks.

How excited are you for the movie’s premiere?
It was actually raining the other day, and I was thinking I would love to pop in The Way, Way Back right now. But it’s something I’ll have to get used to. Films have such a longer life span than we realize.

What are your aspirations for your future in film?
I know that now is not the time for me to tell my story. I have a long way to go to what my dream is, but I think I am headed in the right direction. I’d love to continue doing production assistant work and eventually gain all the tools I need to make a feature film. And win an Oscar, of course. That’s the ultimate dream … and I think I’m going to do it.

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