Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to make Hollywood’s glitzy and glamorous awards shows happen?

There’s extensive planning involved, such as collecting all the headshots and bios from publicists, working with the television networks, coordinating schedules and directing the talent to the different outlets on the day of the award show. 

Ryan Paul, a junior in Virginia Tech’s School of Communication, experienced all of this and more this summer as an Emmy Award talent and public relations intern. Since June, he’s helped put the pieces in place by acquiring the necessary information beforehand for the Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards all while prepping for the main event—the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony.

Paul’s journey to North Hollywood, California, with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences didn’t come easy.

Paul estimated that he applied for 75 internships during his sophomore year at Virginia Tech, including positions at Warner Media and Sony Pictures that looked promising, but ultimately didn’t happen. By this past April, Paul was still without a landing spot for the summer when he came across a position with the Emmy Awards on its website.

After applying, “I wasn’t expecting anything back because I was really discouraged from constant rejection from the other companies,” Paul said. “I got an email saying we would love to interview you, Ryan. I met with them, and the rest is history.” 

All the closed doors led to an open door. Paul experienced the opportunity of a lifetime in Hollywood.

“Ryan's innovative and creative spirit is what makes him stand out as an individual,” said Analiese Yu, former talent relations coordinator for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and Paul’s direct supervisor for the internship who has since moved on to Apple TV+. “He consistently shows his reliability and resourcefulness within his internship especially when we need to pivot at a moment's notice. Ryan has shown his excellent work ethic and rockstar attitude over the course of working with him and I will not be surprised when he is running things in the future in this industry.”

Paul, a public relations major who has always been interested in the entertainment industry, is using his knowledge from the classroom and applying it, surrounded by some of the best in the business.

“Being a PR major helps me understand the PR part of all the events,” Paul said. “Being really intentional about why we’re having this certain element. For me, when I do events or production, now I have a PR mindset of why do we need to do it and who are we targeting. I am utilizing what I learned from my PR classes to help me with that.”

He’s seeing the ins and outs of event management on one of the biggest stages. For instance, Paul, who also minors in event management and cinema production, has learned how nominations for the different awards occur. (Disclaimer: don’t get mad at the award shows themselves. They don’t actually choose the different nominees or winners.) 

LA Area Emmys
The Los Angeles Area Emmys. Photo courtesy of Ryan Paul.

Also, he experienced a bit of culture shock when moving to Hollywood and seeing the number of high dollar vehicles, and mansions surrounding him. He was living at the University of California at Los Angeles campus. His bus stop was Bel Air.

“It’s a different environment, but I love it,” he said. “It just inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing. Everything I want to do in my career is in California, some way and somehow.”

Paul already has proven his leadership abilities and go-getter drive as a Hokie. Paul is the director of programming for the 2022 Homecoming Board as well as the executive producer and director for the Homecoming Board 2022 Films—The Homecoming Experience.

“Being able to watch Ryan grow into his role as director of programming has been a true honor,” said Katelyn Marzo, the 2022 Homecoming Board president. “I have been on the board for almost four years and have a great understanding of all the positions, but Ryan has truly taken his role to a new level. He has reinvented the week of Homecoming and added a level of flair that I believe only he is capable of pulling off.”

And it doesn’t stop there. Paul served as a resident advisor last year and consults on public relations and production for Virginia Tech’s Black Cultural Center, all while elevating his own companies—Mosaïque Légacy Entertainment and Oceanscape Media. Mosaïque Légacy Entertainment is Paul’s event and film production brand, while he advises on event production, videography, public relations, visual design and creative strategy with Oceanscape Media.

“It’s fun to me,” Paul said. “I’m learning and it’s a process. I am figuring out how I want to brand myself and learn and fail now rather than starting a business 10 years down the road. With work and other ventures, it will be crazy then. That’s why I started my business now rather than waiting. It’ll be crazy then. That was my intention.” 

Fun. That’s the key word for Paul, and it wasn’t always the case. He admitted a lot of the work he did prior to Homecoming 2022 to prepare for his self-proclaimed “internship journey” left him feeling heavy. Now, he follows the insights of his role model and popular singer and songwriter, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and intentionally takes on projects that are meaningful to him.

“I was doing all this great stuff and it was awesome, but I didn’t really have fun,” Paul said. “ I don’t want to burn myself out before I get to a certain age and not want to do events or film anymore. I am pacing myself to be strategic and say, ‘I love it now and want to keep the momentum.’”

It’s all given Paul more purpose in his work. He’s more appreciative of those who have supported him every step of the way—his parents, family, and best friends. As a result, his confidence has skyrocketed.

Paul has a bright future ahead of him in the events and entertainment space. He wants to continue exploring film and production. There’s another part of him that’s intrigued by music and tours. Whatever path he takes, Paul is equipped with his Virginia Tech background, Emmys experience, personal businesses, and life lessons that could create many more opportunities. 

“We stress about things that we can’t control in this moment without realizing the life we’re in right now is what we used to look forward to,” Paul said. “Anytime I’m stressed with the Emmys, I think four months ago I was looking forward to this exact moment and that there is a blessing.”

Written by Cory Van Dyke