“This Is a Job I Could See Myself Loving”: Psychology Major Letitia Thym ’23 Considers a Career in the Entertainment Industry

“This Is a Job I Could See Myself Loving”: Psychology Major Letitia Thym ’23 Considers a Career in the Entertainment Industry

Academics, Internships, Testimonials

May 10, 2023

“This Is a Job I Could See Myself Loving”: Psychology Major Letitia Thym ’23 Considers a Career in the Entertainment Industry Letttie Thym

Letitia Thym ’23 is someone who likes to plan ahead, so it isn’t surprising that as she began her senior year at Hollins, the psychology major and theatre minor had a detailed strategy in place for what she wanted to do after graduating this spring.

“My plan was to go into counseling,” she explains. “I love that field and mental health advocacy has always been a passion of mine. I wanted to get some real-world experience after graduation and then pursue a master’s degree.”

But as the academic year progressed and graduation drew closer, it dawned on Thym that “maybe there was something else I might be interested in. I was talking with some Hollins alumnae last semester, and they told me, ‘Your career path is probably going to change three or four times before you find the right one.’ They encouraged me to look at my twenties as ‘your time to take risks.’”

This past December, Thym and her mother, Katherine Preston Thym ‘84 (Letitia’s sister and aunt are also Hollins alumnae), were watching a movie together. “My mom said, ‘The person who produced this is a friend of mine,’” Thym recalls.

The producer was Ellen Goldsmith-Vein ’84, founder and CEO of The Gotham Group, a major Hollywood management/production company representing a number of top directors, writers, and producers. Goldsmith-Vein and The Gotham Group have also developed a prestigious slate of film and television projects. “I am a film buff and have always loved watching movies,” Thym says. “Every weekend growing up, my mom and I would watch a TV show, a new movie that had just come out, or an older movie that my mom loved and wanted me to see. It’s a world I had been interested in, but never gave myself room to explore.”

Thym decided to “take a step into the unknown” and asked her mother if she could put her in touch with her former classmate to talk about working in the business. A Zoom call was arranged, culminating in Goldsmith-Vein (whom Thym says is “an inspiration”) offering her an internship with The Gotham Group during the January 2023 Short Term. “This was a complete 180 from what I was planning on doing, but I had sort of an epiphany – what’s the worst that could happen? If I like it, then great. But if I don’t, then I’ll just go back to my previous plan.”

Within two weeks at The Gotham Group, the Nashville native had fallen in love with the entertainment industry. Thym and her fellow interns were assigned to help review the voluminous number of books and scripts submitted to the company on an ongoing basis to determine if there were any potential projects for movie adaptation.

“What we do is read over the material and provide what is called ‘coverage,’ basically a synopsis, and also offer opinions and critiques on the book’s viability as a possible film project.”

Thym says she did a lot of reading, but the company also gave her ample opportunity to attend weekly meetings and ask lots of questions about the industry. Networking within the company is also strongly encouraged.

“Another great thing is that interns work with high-level mentors within the organization who are experienced and have been in the business for a long time. My mentor was wonderful, and I had opportunities to learn and to be challenged.”

The Gotham Group interns were given a practice assignment where they had to identify and research a book, article, podcast, or other material and pitch it to a meeting of company executives as a possible film project. “I had no idea what I was doing, and it was an intimidating exercise, but luckily I had people there to help me and offer advice,” Thym says. “I scoured the Internet for any sort of idea, and I ended up finding something really interesting. I was very enthusiastic about it, and I got great feedback from that.”

Thym was also gratified when she learned that her idea and the actual article it was based upon had actually been suggested by another employee to a producer. “I think this is a job that I could see myself loving.”

The J-Term experience went so well that Thym was invited to continue her internship into the spring term. After graduating from Hollins, she aspires to land an assistant’s position with an agency or management company in the film industry in Los Angeles. Thym feels confident in finding a position after graduation, stating that “Gotham has given me an incredible opportunity and has encouraged me to move forward in this field.”

Even though she’s now transitioning from a counseling career to working in movies and television, Thym believes her major will continue to serve her well. “I’ve always kept in touch with Hollywood and what’s going on there, but I didn’t have as much of an appreciation of it as I do now. I see it as so much more than an art form. It goes hand-in-hand with psychology: storytelling is such an important part of life. It’s what inspires us. It’s what motivates us. That to me is such an important part of how society runs and it’s a crucial part of people’s lives.”

Thym credits her major and Hollins in general for giving her the confidence to embark on this new adventure. “The Lettie that graduated high school four years ago would not have made this jump into unknown territory with this internship. But Hollins has prepared me for so much. When I made that pitch in front of that group of important producers, I was nervous from adrenaline, but I felt comfortable expressing my ideas and I know that was because of Hollins. It’s because of the classes, it’s because of my relationship with my professors, being able to talk to them, and it’s feeling like this is a safe place to express my opinions and getting tons of practice in doing that. Hollins has given me immense life skills.”

In addition to working with The Gotham Group, an array of other internship opportunities has provided Thym with a solid experiential foundation. Those included doing policy work with the National Down Syndrome Society, serving as an intake specialist with the nonprofit Insight Counseling Centers, and conducting statistical inquiry for a research and design company while studying abroad in London. “I hear from a lot of my friends at other schools who have had internships that they just get coffee. I got to do real work. It was my first step into the professional world, and I learned so much from it.”

Finally, Thym emphasizes that the past four years have given her a profound appreciation and understanding of the power of networking. “Building those contacts among alumnae/i and within my internships, I wouldn’t have known how to do that without Hollins.”

Even though she does not have a post-graduation job lined up just yet, Thym is certain she is destined for a fulfilling career. “I consider my time here as being a success story, and I don’t have to know right now what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. There’s more for me to discover and explore.”