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November 2014
Issue: July 1, 2008

GETTING A FOOT IN THE DOOR

By: Marc Loftus
I remember my first internship. Right after graduating college, I started volunteering at my local PBS station on Long Island. I had visions of working with cameras and capturing sound, but the reality was that I spent more time in their mailroom, stuffing umbrellas and coffee mugs into padded envelopes for shipping to the station’s donors.

Still, I got to see how a television station worked. I gained an understanding for how they acquired programming, how they produced their own, and the challenges they faced in raising money to pay for both. I even got to man the phones during their regular on-air telethons.

The people over there always seemed happy to see me, and I could tell they appreciated me taking on some of the more menial tasks that allowed them to focus on the bigger issues at hand. This month, I spoke to a number of different studios that host their own internship programs. (See page 50)

I also had a chat with film composer Harry Gregson-Williams, who recently scored The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (page 6), and whose credits include the first Narnia release — The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — as well as Shrek the Third, among other films. Gregson-Williams hosts interns regularly at his Wavecrest studio in Venice, CA, and noted how he goes about selecting candidates, some of whom reach out to him from across the globe.

“I take it very seriously,” he says of internships. “It should not be a waste of time. Everybody should be able to get something out of it.”

This summer, he’s hosting a candidate from Denmark who has a unique skill set that the studio can immediately put to use. “He has an interest and the ability to work with the program Sibelius,” notes the composer. They will use the composing/arranging/publishing tool to catalog Gregson-Williams’ assets, which number some 50 scores from the past decade.

At the same time, the intern will have a chance to observe Gregson-Williams as he scores Tony Scott’s upcoming film, The Taking of Pelham 123. “I try to get it so it is some particular task,” he notes of the arrangement, “not ‘coffee and donuts.’”