Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs graduate lands coveted spot in Television Academy Foundation internship

Saratoga Springs High School graduate Elizabeth Fox

Saratoga Springs High School graduate Elizabeth Fox

Saratoga Springs High School graduate Elizabeth Fox has always wanted to be a storyteller, and this unwavering desire has taken her to new places — even as far as Los Angeles.

The Stanford University student was one of just 40 students chosen for the distinguished Television Academy Foundation Internship program this summer.

Fox waited anxiously for several months before finding out she was selected.

“I’ll be honest and tell you that I gave up a little bit at a certain point. But it was worth the wait,” said Fox, a 2018 graduate of Saratoga Springs High.

Fox is currently in LA, where she will spend eight weeks at Valhalla Entertainment, the film and television production company that produces “The Walking Dead” series.

So far, she has been immersed in professional workshops that focus on resume and brand building and also networking.

Fox is also glad to see that the company prioritizes the need for an accepting work environment.

“They have a focus on diversity and inclusion too, which is important to me and not something that’s always a commitment of internships like these,” she said. “Their connections are usually pretty powerful.”

Fox’s main role is to vet the incoming scripts and write reports on whether the executives should read and consider them for production.

“So I’m kind of like the first line of judgment when a script gets submitted to the company,” she said.

Her sound discernment stems from her many years of inquisitive love for film.

“I always loved movies and TV and I think their visual storytelling is a really powerful medium,” Fox said. “So that’s how I got into screenwriting. It’s a passion that I’ve had for a long time. I knew by high school that that’s what I wanted to do.”.

Fox fed her passion in any way she could, even if that meant taking the initiative on her own to find endeavors outside of her high school — which didn’t offer students many film-related opportunities.

This enrichment came in the form of leisurely free-writing and participating in a summer program that taught the conventions of screenwriting.

Fox also had the opportunity to assist Jon Dorflinger — long-time friend and mentor — in his educational film programming for kids and teens through his company, the Saratoga Film Academy.

In more recent years, Fox has worked as Dorflinger’s writing assistant on his various projects and Dorflinger has remained confident in her ability to full-fill this role.

“She’s very bright,” Dorflinger said. “She carefully thinks about what she wants to share in terms of creativity and everything she shares is very on-point. She has a really strong understanding of story and screenwriting, which is why I wanted to work with her.”

Fox was prepared to bring her all to the LA studio, even if it meant venturing into uncharted territory.

“I’ve never lived in LA,” she said. “I had never been to LA before last summer, when I came down here to work. It’s a different world and it’s exciting to finally be in the space that I’ve imagined myself in for a long time.”

Being from Saratoga and moving out to LA to pursue similar interests himself, Dorflinger is happy to see a fellow Saratogian excel.

“It’s always great to see someone from our hometown be able to chase their dreams and move to a big city like that, whether it’s New York or Los Angeles,” Dorflinger said.

And chasing dreams is what Fox intends to do — while also keeping an open, realistic mindset about where in the competitive film industry she may land a job.

Fortunately, the aspiring screenwriter has explored many different paths during her time at Stanford and found several areas of study that intrigue her.

Fox started as an English major, but realized she didn’t want to pursue analytic literature so she switched to science — another topic she was engrossed in while growing up. Fox dabbled in physics, but she found that she didn’t want to be an engineer, so she switched once more and landed on philosophy of science — and it stuck.

“It’s a less technical approach to science, which I think was perfect for me because I still get to feed that passion while learning it through a humanities lens. A lot of what I do learn in my major inspires what I write,” Fox said.

Naturally, she picked up a film and media studies minor, along with a screenwriting minor.

“I’ve become a lot more aware of my wants and needs,” Fox said. “I’ve become a lot more aware of the genres that I’m interested in exploring. I think the characters that I write as well have become a lot more developed as I’ve gotten older and gained more life experience. I think my writing in general has developed to reflect my life experience and a lot of maturing that’s had to come with complete college. I’m certainly not the person that I was when I first went to Stanford.”

Dorflinger has seen Fox carve out a path for herself — something he encourages his students to do early on.

“If you’re really passionate about this field [the film industry] and you want to get into it, it’s important to identify what aspect of the industry you want to be a part of,” he said. “There’s the creative side, there’s the physical side, production side. If you want to be an artist, like a writer, an actor, director, producer, then you want to decide that as early as possible because that’s the path you want to get yourself on.”

Fox “walked the stage” for Stanford’s graduation ceremony this past June, but is on track to officially complete her degree in December.

Looking back on how far she has come and where she is headed next, Fox acknowledges the mindset that has helped her succeed.

“I would say have patience and passion, and never forget the value of those two things,” she said. “ I know I sort of applied to this internship on a whim because a professor had recommended it to me, and I am so pleased with where I am now.”

“I think you just never know, and you have to apply to everything,” Fox said. “It can get super discouraging. I’ve applied to probably 100 different opportunities since I’ve been at college and I’ve only gotten a handful of those. But I think patience and passion and applying to everything are the keys.”

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