LOS ANGELES – Since his days as a student at Ann Arbor’s Father Gabriel Richard High School, Christopher Putlock has taken the initiative in finding new ways to make creative projects happen for himself and his classmates.
From starting a digital media club at the high school where he assisted students in making their own content during his lunch hour to overseeing and coordinating around 50 projects a semester in college with the student production office at Loyola Marymount University, Putlock has now taken his talents to Hollywood.
Now a senior studying film and television production at Loyola Marymount, Putlock is one of just 12 students selected for the Television Academy Foundation Internship Program. The annual program provides eight-week paid internships at top Hollywood studios and production companies to college students nationwide.
This fall, Putlock, 20, is an unscripted intern at Magical Elves, an award-winning television production company in Los Angeles with a roster of unscripted TV hits including “Nailed It!,” “Top Chef” and “Last Comic Standing.”
The internship has been another step for Putlock toward realizing his goal of working in TV production, as he’s been able to gain experience in the world of television development by preparing shows to be shopped around to different studios and production companies.
“One thing that I’ve really been able to strengthen my skill in is pitching and developing new ideas and then taking those out and finding the right buyer for it,” said Putlock, a native of Canton.
During the internship, Putlock said daily discussion of and exposure to working with celebrities has made him become “sort of numb to celebrity in a way,” estimating there might be discussion of 20 to 30 people a day that come up for the studio’s projects that he would have recognized on TV.
“That sort of thing is pretty cool to just be working in the same space as people I used to only be able to see on TV,” he said.
Putlock became interested in pursuing a career in television and film production while a student at FGR, crediting Hockey Coach Clint Robert for giving him his first job producing videos for the team, eventually leading to working with more of the school’s sports teams and producing other promotional content.
He also found ways to make money during that time, operating a wedding videography business that also produced some commercials.
“That’s what sort of led me into wanting to do this post-high school, because I was able to make some money and I saw it as a viable career going forward,” he said.
That led Putlock to Loyola Marymount, where he has taken advantage of working in the student production office. He has helped a number of students go from project inception to getting greenlit to shoot, facilitating the process of getting permits, budgeting, scheduling and going through their script to see if he can make the student’s vision a reality within the confines of school sets and their budget.
While at LMU, Putlock has gained experience with a variety of other internships, including working with Brave Artists Management as a talent management intern, where he helped actors get roles and edit their film reels, showing him another side of the industry working the process of developing talent. He also worked this past summer as a general management intern at Partizan Entertainment.
Putlock hopes those experiences and his most recent internship working in unscripted television will be a springboard toward his goal of being a TV comedy producer.
A big inspiration for Putlock is Nathan Fielder, whose off-the-wall concepts and seemingly unscripted variety of comedy in “Nathan for You” and “The Rehearsal” are among the examples of the types of project concepts he’d eventually like to spend his time working on.
“Nathan specifically has been a big inspiration for me just because of the way that he interacts with people,” he said. “I think he really breaks down typical social expectations and that’s something that is not only enjoyable to watch, but it’s also interesting. There’s comedy that comes from the awkwardness, which is something that I think he does really well and a few other comedians do well, like John Wilson.”
Putlock says he currently is interviewing for another talent agency for a summer internship, as well as a few production companies for an internship this coming spring.
He hopes future experiences will bolster his resume and further his goal of working on all aspects of his own creative projects.
“Eventually I’d love to have created my own show and be involved with the production of that, and eventually own a company that does produce funny stuff,” he said.