What. A. Summer.
Another internship under my belt and I feel that I can officially call myself an Internship Queen. Are you looking for an internship or wanting to learn more about your chosen field? Below are my tips and tricks that have been useful to me these past three years of interning!
But first… A brief summary of my experiences:
- 2 weeks as a Production Assistant for a couple of commercial sets in Las Vegas. I would be on set from 8:00pm-8:00am, sleep during the day, and do it all again. As a young actor it was a really great hands-on learning experience to see how commercial sets worked! I set up the craft services table (aka FOOD), took actors check in photos and documents, secured holding areas, and made sure pedestrians weren’t interfering with camera shots! One time they needed me to sit in an actor’s place at the blackjack table so they could focus the camera and the director and I got to chat for a bit!
- 1 month at Channel 3 News Las Vegas. I did a lot of article research, got to sit in on morning staff meetings and offer story ideas, I went on trips with reporters in the big camera truck and got to watch them cover a live story, and basically just be around to help whenever I could! Coolest perk: on my last day, I got to go in early and film my own mock news story at the big desk with all the teleprompters! My high school news anchor days came in handy for that!
- 7 months at a New York City talent agency. This one I found through my school’s email blasts! I was studying abroad in Dublin at the time and saw an internship opportunity and sent my resume and cover letter in right away. I had a Skype interview the next week and was offered the position at the end of the call! I was so excited and truly learned so many valuable things about the entertainment industry. This internship was originally supposed to be 3 months long, but after 1 month I knew I loved it so much and wanted to learn more so I asked if I could stay on longer, and my bosses said, “Are you kidding? It’s yours!”
- 3 months at a New York City television casting office. This one I got through my bosses at the talent agency! At the end of my time there, I mentioned that I wanted to learn about casting and without hesitation my bosses were making calls to set me up on a couple of interviews! I got both gigs and chose between the two, and again, learned so many important things. Hands-on learning is the best!
- And now 2 and half months at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Again, so many new things that I’ve learned or worked on, and I got to put my past internship experiences to work: I was a reader for NY talent agents and casting directors and had to tape the sessions as well! I’ve learned that I’m organized in some ways and need to be better at other things, and I’ve learned that I love being the person that others can come to for help or just a chat.
PROS OF INTERNING
- Learning a new facet of your chosen field without the pressure of failing miserably is a pretty great situation to be in …well, don’t suck at it, but they know you’re here to learn and will probably make a few mistakes along the way as you get your bearings. I have made plenty of mistakes at my internships but always recovered and learned from them.
- I’m an actor who has always been curious about other things within the theatre industry and have loved dabbling in different areas over the past 3 years. My vocabulary and understanding of the business has expanded and I am always excited to learn more.
- You work alongside professionals who who are full of knowledge and insight!
- You get to ask as many questions as you want! I personally love asking questions (out of curiosity/for clarification/to learn as much as I can) so being the intern means that you’re encouraged to ask anything that piques your interest!
- You make new business contacts who can hopefully be your reference for future job opportunities!
- You might learn that you actually aren’t interested in this specific facet of your field, but how would you have known if you didn’t give it a try?! Just keep an open mind.
HOW NOT TO INTERN
- Don’t do it just for the resume credit… Do it because you’re genuinely interested in learning more. No one wants a half-asser in their office so don’t be that person.
- Don’t be late. Just don’t do it. Show up on time and ready to work. Of course, sh*t happens, but try to always be on time!
- Don’t just nod and agree. If you have a question, ask! If you’re confused about something, ask for clarification.
- Don’t feel that you need to be in the office 24/7 since you’re “just the intern”. Make sure you take your lunch break. Go get some fresh air. Walk around the building or block to stretch your legs out. You’re there to help and learn, but you need to take care of yourself, too.
HOW TO FIND AN INTERNSHIP
- Ask around! I asked my professors, family friends, and old bosses if they knew anyone who needed an extra pair of hands in their office.
- The Internet! What a great tool… I searched Playbill for job opportunities and straight up Google’d “NYC Theatre Internships,” which then brought me to the New York theater internships at Signature, Roundabout, MTC, The Public, etc.
- Just apply! I tracked down phone numbers and email addresses to talent agencies in New York and I gave them a call and asked if they were looking for/accepting intern applications. And if no one answered, I just emailed them my cover letter and resume expressing my interest. Who knows what could happen!
- Create a class schedule that allows for a part-time internship! I made sure that when I was planning my following semester courses, I crafted a schedule that gave me 2 days off a week so I could use that time for an internship!
If you have any questions or are seeking more advice, shoot me an email on my contact page! I’d be happy to help!