Student, intern, pro
Issue: November 1, 2010

Student, intern, pro

Imagine being a college senior during these economic times. The opportunities to work in your area of interest upon graduation are most likely few and far between, but if your area of interest happens to be the post and production industry? Even in the best of times, competition is fierce. 

Some young people are taking internships right out of school with hopes of impressing their temporary employer enough that a full-time opportunity might grow. Others are waiting tables, waiting  for the economy to turn or for their work to be noticed above others.

While it’s tough out there for those entering the workforce, studios have a terrific opportunity to weed out the weak and hang on to the strong. Here is what some post house executives look for in interns. (See page 32 for more on this topic.)

“When we look for interns, we always consider their long-term potential,” says Yfat Neev, senior executive producer at New York’s Gravity. “We don’t just bring them in to work on one project. We have them collaborate and interact with our teams of artists on multiple projects. This gives us the opportunity to see how well they perform individually and as part of a creative group. If an intern shows his commitment, professionalism, performs above expectations and to his supervisor’s satisfaction, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll be hired. Since our industry is also about group dynamics, spending long days and nights together, it’s really important to us there is the ability for our people to communicate and get along.”  

Chris Valentino, partner/executive creative director at New York’s Motive, got his start in the industry as an intern. “I know well the importance of having a strong creative and nurturing environment. We have always offered internships as a way for students and grads to get a sense of the business and first-hand experience, but also for us to engage with fresh creative and passionate people. We make it a priority to give them structure and guidelines and to offer opportunities. As a company we expect interns to be on time, to be ready to work, and to bring their best ideas.”

Valentino has often hired from within. “Many of the people I work with today began working for me as interns,” he says. “In the past, a majority of my production staff consisted of college students, who have since become a resource I regularly turn to today. We have had interns move on and come back to work with us and have also engaged interns in long-term positions.”

Just because you have a degree in hand and a reel, doesn’t mean you are going to land a full-time job. Internships, more than ever, are entrée into the real-world and real work.