Internship advice

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by FroColin, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. FroColin macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2008
    I'm 17 years old (soon to be 18) and I have quite a bit of experience with film making and editing and generally post production. I was thinking that this summer it would be excellent to intern at a production house or post production house or something similar. I don't need to be paid because I still live at home and it would look good on my resume and maybe they would hire me once summer is done or something (this may be woefully optimistic but I don't know haha). I'm in seattle so there are quite a few such places but I was wondering if anyone had any advice as to how to obtain something like this. Should I visit the building and bring a resume and a demo reel of my work? Should I email? Do I need a demo reel? What are they looking for? Is this feasible at all? A resume would be pretty lame considering I'm 17 and have no true work in video under my belt. I did professional theater for a bunch of years so that would be all that was on there. Should I write them an email explaining what I have experience in?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
  2. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Walk into every post house in town with a resume or a sample reel and tell them you're there to learn and will work for free. Any post house dumb enough to turn down free work from an enthusiastic kid isn't worth working for. Tell them you'll log footage, transcribe interviews, whatever it takes. I would never tell someone to work for free, but if you're 17, and have no NEED to get paid, you don't have much of a choice. I never did an internship when I was in high school or college because I was lucky enough to get picked up as an editor for a TV series as a freshman in college so I didn't see the point in working for free.

    But if and when you get in, make sure you listen in on every conversation about organization, digital asset management, workflow, and process. Those are the key things you'll need as an editor/filmmaker later. Once you get in, you can drop hints that you know how to edit, or shoot, or this and that. With any luck, they'll send you off with crews, or let you sit in on edit sessions.

    Be prepared to be a "gopher"...(i.e. go for this, go for that, get paper, get coffee, etc) But the key thing is to absorb information and knowledge, and MEET PEOPLE. Those connections will go so much further than spending $30k/year at film school later on.
  3. alph45 macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2010
    1. make a short-list of the production houses you want to intern in, say 5.
    2. go to their websites, they will probably have an employment/internship link. follow their application procedure. if they don't have one call and ask.
    3. make a resume, if you've done something in video production put it in, they know your 17.
    4. write a cover-letter stating your general interests and why you want to intern at company X. make each cover-letter specific to the co. your applying to (i.e. research them a bit on the web).

    the cover-letter is the most important.
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    First off I'd see if your school has an internship program. If they do they might already have contacts/relationships with some TV stations or post/production facilities in your area.

    Second, research all the facilities in your area (including TV stations, PBS affiliates, and cable access) and email them about internships, volunteer, and/or part time work. Depending on how strictly they adhere to the rules they might only do internships that are attached to school credit which is why you should check w/your school first.

    Third, when you email them keep it concise and mention something specific about work that business does so it doesn't sound like you are sending out a form letter.

    Fourth, make a reel in case anyone asks for one but don't expect anyone to ask for one.

    Fifth, don't worry about not having anything video related on your resume. They know you are 17 and looking experience. Whatever work experience you have (theater stuff is great, IMO) put on there so you don't look like some kind of slacker.

    Sixth, if they Google your name and look for you on FB or Twitter will anything show up that will make them not want to hire you?

    I don't know what the vibe is like in Seattle but in LA if you just cold call you are likely just to piss someone off. When I was younger and in the Midwest I'd cold call but in my town there were maybe a dozen facilities (and that included 4 TV stations and a PBS affiliate).

    If you get an interview shoot the person an email after the interview thanking them for their time, and reminding them about some of your good points (especially if there's something you wanted to mention but forgot to). I use to mail brief thank you letters but mail (even if it's delivered next day) seems to be too slow these days, at least for LA. After the interview I'd wait a day then call and touch base with them.

    Be persistant but not annoying.

  5. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Just wanted to say how useful this is. Will definitely use these tips come September when I am looking for more work.

    Anyone have any UK specific advice?
  6. macuser453787 macrumors 6502a

    May 19, 2012
    Galatians 3:13-14
    Also it might not be best to assume on the front end that all internships are unpaid. You may not *need* the money, but it can be icing on the cake for you. Whole point being, consider that you don't necessarily have to mention your willingness to work for free unless they state that up front. Companies sometimes pay their interns. When I was in high school, I had two paid internships (both of them through my school) in the desktop publishing and advertising fields. They were minimum wage IIRC, but they were both paid internships. As it was in my case, your experience thus far may be of some value to them and could mean that you get paid for what you enjoy doing. All I'm saying is, I wouldn't summarily dismiss the thought of being paid for an internship if your potential employers haven't said one way or the other. :)

    Pairing that with what LW said above, consider also finding out whether or not your school offers a work study program (which could very likely be tied in to an internship program if they have one). I was a part of my school's work study program for my second internship, and it allowed me to leave school for the last two periods of each school day and go to my internship. It was like getting paid to go to school! Actually the second internship started in the summer before my senior year, and I was able to continue it through my entire senior year by becoming part of my school's work study program. It was such a wonderful experience! :)
  7. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Just to point out, I assume you are in the US, but here in the UK if the position is called an internship then by law it is required to be paid job.

    The other options are apprenticeships which require half minimum wage and work placements which have no requirements for pay however, placements usually involve shadowing and not really completing any work that would be used by the company for financial gain.
  8. macuser453787 macrumors 6502a

    May 19, 2012
    Galatians 3:13-14
    How about that! I wasn't aware of those things, and yes, I'm in the US. Of course I assumed the OP is too. :)
  9. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    There are similar laws in the US although I think the minimum requirement is that the internship goes towards some sort of university/college credit if unpaid. I may be wrong as I've known others to get internships after getting their degrees (not every place does things by the book though).

    Either way, an internship is a great way to build knowledge and network. Almost everyone I know that's had an internship has been given a job by them or someone in the industry (mine is the audio industry).
  10. 2LMedia macrumors member

    Agreed. Check your school first, but if you're lucky, there are a few production houses in your area you can approach.
  11. FroColin thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2008
    Thanks for all the advice :)

    Actually, my highschool is over. I graduated so none of that will work and they wouldn't have done that anyway though it's a nice idea that I wish I had pursued. I'll have the summer before I feel as though I should start making real money.

    Yes I am in the US and I never thought about the fact that they might have to pay and I can't imagine that anyone would hire an inexperienced teenager.

    What quality level of work should go on the resume in regards to video. I ran sound for some productions of things that won an award of some kind and I ran sound and did color grading for some production that wasn't teenagers at all, it was some guys who's second job was some form of video production (I just did it because a friend was involved and he called me in and I ended up doing a bunch of work so it wasn't very official. Should I put that kind of thing in a resume? It seems kind of tacky but then... idk?
  12. Mercury macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2003
    Unfortunately, it will likely be illegal for you to simply "volunteer" with a film house. However, that may not be the case if you work for a non-profit or charity. Alternatively, enroll in a community college film program and try to get internship credit.
  13. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Agree with enrolling in a community college program. We had a lady come to talk to us about this very thing a few years back and she told us NOT to go seeking for internships on our own. 1) Because it won't count towards credit, 2) They can pretty sit you at a desk and leave you to do their dirty filing work, and 3) For safety reasons. I had a friend who took one around that same time and they never gave her anything to do, so it was a waste of time.

    The schools have a few staff who will go out and look at most of these facilities and decide whether or not they want to send students there. They will make sure that the environment is safe, that the people working there will be respectful towards you, and that they have appropriate papers for insurance, etc. They will also make sure that you won't just get stuck as being the person who picks up trash or makes the coffee and that you're doing something that relates to your study.

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