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Internship Questions

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Jason WhitmoreInternship Questions
by on Jan 21, 2008 at 5:14:58 am

Hello Creative Cow Community,
I am huge fan of everything that Creative Cow does, everyone has been a huge help with answering my questions about everything in this industry. I am hoping that somebody will be able to help me out with these questions.

I am a film student in Michigan and I am looking for a summer internship. I am trying to find a quality internship because its going to be a big ordeal to come out to LA from the Midwest and I was hoping to find an internship that would a great learning experience.

I am trying to figure out where I should apply. I would like to work as a Production Assistant or something of the like on a feature film. Does anyone know of any good places to intern at? Are there any particular studios that really have great internships? In looking for an internship, are the studio internships more about paperwork than production? I feel kind of lost as where to look because my school is so far away from Hollywood, it isn't much help in the internship area. So I am looking to the people at the Cow for advice, they have never steered me wrong before. Thanks again!

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David Roth WeissRe: Internship Questions
by on Jan 21, 2008 at 9:33:25 am


If you want to intern in L.A. you'll have to come to school here or move here. This is after all the film and television capital of the world, and competition is fierce, even for unpaid internships.

Besides the fact that everyone would like to come here for a cool summer job, the fact is, P.A.s and interns have to know their way around the city, because much of what they do is gopher work, you know, go for this and go for that. So, seldom does anyone just visiting get those gigs, because its not practical.

In addition, the writer's strike also presents a problem right now. There are many people in the business who are out of work at the present time, all of whom are vying for any open position, and interns are part of the mix. Its not a great time to be establishing one's self here just now.

Sorry, I wish I had a more optimistic answer for you...


David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.

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walter biscardiRe: Internship Questions
by on Jan 21, 2008 at 11:21:30 am

[Jason Whitmore] "I am a film student in Michigan and I am looking for a summer internship."

Have you spoken to your Career Placement department, or whatever they call it at your school? Whenever I'm looking for interns or entry level positions, I notify all the colleges and universities in my area that have production departments.

That department is a great first place to check.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

Read my Blog!

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Mick HaenslerRe: Internship Questions
by on Jan 21, 2008 at 4:28:39 pm

[Jason Whitmore] "I was hoping to find an internship that would a great learning experience."

Please don't take this the wrong way Jason. And I by no means am perfect when it comes to what I'm about to say.

Keep in mind, this industry is wrought with people just like you. Hungry, enthusiastic, talented, and willing to work cheap or for free to get experience. Everything you do, every correspondence, every email, every forum post, must reflect your professionalism and attention to detail. I recieved an email not to long ago from a fellow who wanted to work for me. He was willing to work for cheap to get the experience. His email to me was loaded with typos and bad grammar. Against my better judgement I used him on a shoot. His shooting was worse than his writing skills. I will not be using him again. Amazingly, when he wrote me, I thought he was a recent college grad. Imagine my surprise when this bald, middle aged guy walked through the door. This forum has a preview post feature, try it out.

Man I hop this pot don't have know tipe o's

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media

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eric pautschRe: Internship Questions
by on Jan 21, 2008 at 5:56:46 pm

Hi Jason

Craigslist might be a good place to start..It's just a thought.

Also, Can you hold off your internship after all your classes are complete? Not sure your situation but it might be wise to do an internship when your ready to move out here and not go back.

So finish up your classes, save enough money for 3-4 months rent, then move out to find a job and internship. When you finish with the internship, you get your diploma and your already out here. :) Talk to your advisor.

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Jason WhitmoreRe: Internship Questions
by on Jan 21, 2008 at 7:50:55 pm

Thank you everyone for responding. All of you have given me some great advice that I am definitely going to keep in mind. In response to the post about asking my University about film internships, our school is more geared toward news broadcasting and I was told that if I wanted a film internship, I was going to have to find it on my own. So they haven't been too much help there. I may look into some advertisement agencies that produce commercials that are more local. Also, it sounds like it might not be a good time to come out to LA for only a summer not knowing the city combined with the writer's strike situation. Maybe LA will have to wait, at least for now. Thanks again, the information has been invaluable.


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Mick HaenslerRe: Internship Questions
by on Jan 21, 2008 at 9:50:20 pm

[Jason Whitmore] "Maybe LA will have to wait, at least for now."

My main shooter was supposed to move out to LA this Spring. But because of the strike, all his buddies out there are bartending or worse just trying to make ends meet until this thing is over. Which is fine by me as I will have a heck of a time trying to replace him until he goes.

Best of luck.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media

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Mark SuszkoRe: Internship Questions
by on Jan 22, 2008 at 1:11:33 am

I think there is something to be said for the contrarian; the person who zigs when the rest of the crowd zags. Plus, I have to admit I've always been intimidated by the coasts and the enormous over-abundance of competition and talent there. In that vein, while I know that the conventional wisdom and most popular opinion here will probably still be "go to LA", I just want to point out that there is no law that says all film production can only be IN LA.

You kind of insinuated you want an internship in theatrical films of the big studio type.

That's all fine but of course the competition for that is brutal, more so since the strike.

What if you could be a bigger fish in a slightly smaller pond? Like Florida, North Carolina, Detroit Michigan and Chicago Illinois?

I'm thinking, working thru advertising agencies in the Midwest, you might be able to find an internship with the agency using a small studio doing commercials on film, or training or marketing or educational films. A perusal of the various state's film production guides as a search of internships at ad agencies could turn up opportunities that the thundering herd have ignored on their stampede to NY or LA. And being an intern on these smaller projects means you will probably have more hands-on and higher-level experiences than you would in a comparable coastal situation. Another possibility is to get an internship working with LA film crews shooting in YOUR area on location. Chicago would be a good place to try for this, google the Illinois and Chicago film producer's guide books/production resource guides. Also the FIlm 411 series of guide books.

I didn't get into film, but here's the super-short version of my internship experience, it might inspire you. The rest of the class got internships in all the big Chicago "O&O" stations, the flagships for CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. I did not get as lucky, I thought. Due to living and travel situations, I took an internship at a suburban cable outlet closer to home.

Comes the end of the summer, the class gathers to compare notes. The student that worked at WBBM, the CBS affiliate, had worked under Bill Kurtis and had a nice letter of introduction/recommendation to show at job interviews. And nothing else.

Because of union rules, she had not handled any production gear, had not shot, edited, etc. anything. She'd been a glorified temp secretary and learned to make copies, faxes and a damnfine cup of cappuccino. ( had to look that word up, I don't drink it or make it) The others from the big agencies and stations had similar reports: tantalizing glimpes into the inner workings and great contacts, but no hands-on skills to make them marketable or immediately employable.

My turn to report: I was line producer for a PM-Magazine type show at the non-union cable place (Continental Cablevision of Elmhurst), I was responsible for everything to do with each Wednesday's show (other interns each handled a different day episode each week). I researched and picked topics, found and pre-interviewed guests, wrote scripts, assistant-directed and TD'd sometimes, ran crew positions for the other day's shows, I went out with gear and a crew and lit, shot, edited, and reported my own stand-ups and VSOT interview packages. I worked in and with the multicam remote truck... basically hands-on everything but the satellite dish, which was "holy". Had practice shooting multicam sports, variety shows, parades. I had a long list of tech gear I was qualified to run, and best of all, a reel of the actual aired programs I had made myself. This is my 24th or so year of making a living in the business, nothing too fancy, but successful in it's own way. All built on those initial skills.

Small can be beautiful. So maybe find a small documentary maker in the midwest and spend the summer shooting film of Eagles, or work on shooting second unit for car commercials, or for location spots for "E.R." when they come up in the summer, things like that. The skills are all the same, only the perceived glamor may be missing.

But you might find a career of your dreams in the unlikeliest of places. So look where nobody else is looking, is my suggestion.

"Oh, you wanted to RECORD that?"

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Jason WhitmoreRe: Internship Questions
by on Jan 22, 2008 at 2:53:43 am

Thanks a lot Mark, it makes me feel a little more at ease knowing that I don't need a big studio to intern at to possibly end up at one someday. I think I am going to look more locally, it will be an easier financially and travel wise. Plus, it sounds like I might get more hands on experience rather than a copier at a studio. Thanks!


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Anthony MarzilliRe: Internship Questions
by on Mar 3, 2008 at 4:03:36 pm

Where do you go to school? I just graduated from CMU and work at a post house in Southfield. I interned down here as well and know a lot of good people to get in touch with for possibilities.

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Jason WhitmoreRe: Internship Questions
by on Mar 3, 2008 at 10:00:11 pm

I also go to CMU. I would love to hear about your experiences and what you have to say.

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Anthony MarzilliRe: Internship Questions
by on Mar 3, 2008 at 11:00:09 pm

Email me at and ill write you stuff i know there. I do more audio then video but can still get you at least a basic start or help you out a bit.

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