Issue: September 1, 2009


Graduating from college always comes with a range of emotions — the two biggies are excitement and fear. And,  sadly, these days with the economy being the way it is and the job market so tight, the latter might be a bit more ubiquitous.
In our "Transitioning From Student to Pro" feature this month (page 28), I spoke with four young people whose journeys had a happy ending, but that's not always the case, as we know.
Zack Wolder ( graduated from SUNY Fredonia back in May. His major was Communications with a concentration in TV and Digital Film Production — he is trained in Avid and Final Cut. And even though he has two  industry internships under his belt, paying jobs have been difficult to come by. He ended up taking an unpaid internship at Shellac NYC, where he has gotten some footage to work with, but for the most part is doing typical intern-type work.
"I was basically spending my days on and other sites replying to job postings and going on interviews only to find out that they found someone more qualified to fill the position. All I could find were internships, most of them unpaid."
That is another problem these young people face — competition from more seasoned vets who are willing to work for a bit less than they had been and who come with a wealth of real-world industry experience.
"I chose to do the non-paying internship because it will keep me in the industry and keep me active as an editor, because I am around other editors and constantly learning new things," he says. "Although I'm not getting paid with money, I'm getting paid with knowledge and contacts, which in the end will lead to a paying job. I think of internships as long training sessions. Companies teach you what you need to know and the specific way they as a company do things, and when it comes time to hire someone, you are already a top candidate."
David Blemur ( is a recent DAVE School grad I met on the plane returning from SIGGRAPH. He was at the show with his reel, trying to find work. He is an animator trained in all the major animation packages, plus Fusion, Nuke, many plug-ins and Final Cut.
While there have been a couple of freelance jobs, Blemur has experienced what Wolder has in terms of full-time gigs. "A far as the job search, it is slow going, but I made lots of connections at SIGGRAPH and I hope to hear back from them sometime in the middle to late of September."
Also like Wolder, Blemur would consider a non-paying internship. "Freelance jobs are few and far between. I would take an internship if it allowed me to hone my craft, make contacts and keep growing as an artist."