18 Aug CATCHING UP WITH FULLSCREEN CEO GEORGE STROMPOLOS
This summer, The Intern Project (TIP) connected 52 high school students from public schools across LA County to paid internships at prestigious firms like SpaceX, Participant Media, and Fullscreen. The Intern Project’s mission is to level the playing field for students in Los Angeles. TIP empowers student success; the students change the trajectory of their careers.
Fullscreen has been a corporate host since TIP began, three years ago. Each year, Fullscreen has hosted more interns than the previous year, and this year, they’re also sponsoring interns to work at 826LA, a nonprofit. Here, we speak with Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos about his company, who thrives there, and why he’s so committed to The Intern Project.
What is Fullscreen?
A next-generation studio that focuses on developing talent from the world of social media and creates original programming and live events in partnership with the brightest young creative minds on the internet.
What type of people thrive at Fullscreen?
Entrepreneurial. We’re looking for people who have started something and been the primary point of accountability for its success. We don’t care how successful they’ve been – but that they’ve tried.
We also look for people who tend to be comfortable with uncertainty and a dynamic work environment. We’re in the new media space. The rules and platforms and talent are changing on a regular basis; how you make money is changing. That could give people anxiety, or they could thrive in the boundless opportunity.
Highly creative. Our view on creativity isn’t limited to artistic creativity. We look for people who are creative problem solvers – who find a new way to solve a familiar problem, or who have figured out how to do more with less.
What has been your impression of The Intern Project interns? How are they different from your college interns?
They tend to be in a more exploratory phase in their life. Instead of trying to decide what job they’re going to get after college graduation, TIP students are coming in with eyes wide open. They tend to want to get a little understanding of what each department is doing – from talent to finance.
What do you think they gain from the internship?
There’s a relatability factor that hopefully comes off in our culture and atmosphere, that empowers them to feel the confidence that – “Hey, these people aren’t that much different from me,” and to consider a career at Fullscreen or a company like Fullscreen.
What has Fullscreen gotten out of The Intern Project?
One of the things we try to do is stay young in our point of view. Our audience is 35 and under, whereas most TV companies are geared at an audience that is 35 and up. Staying in tune with what the youth is experiencing, doing – what’s cool, what’s not – is really important.
We have our interns do a trend report. They present to executive staff on the latest trends that we should know about. It’s enlightening for us. As much as we think we know, there’s stuff we have no idea about.
We host about 50 high school and college interns each year. It’s wonderful to be able to play a role in their career path. In addition, if they have a good experience, they’ll tell their friends and future colleagues; it creates good word of mouth.
Why do you think internships are important?
In college I had two really valuable internships. Both were for failed dot com companies during the first dot com boom, so they don’t exist anymore, but I’m still in touch with some of my colleagues today. The relationships are still important. The internships gave me a better understanding of how companies work, and then of course, I started one. Now’s my chance to pay it forward.
Any words of wisdom for current or future interns?
Be curious. Know that the relationships you will build can last a lifetime – so invest in them, nurture them, even after the internship. And don’t be afraid to speak up – your opinion counts.
George Strompolos is an entrepreneur and digital media pioneer. He is the Founder and CEO of Fullscreen Media.