Internships are one of the best ways to gain experience and understanding of the film industry, hence their popularity among those wanting to start a career in the film industry. As a result, the major studios often run internships schemes throughout the year.
We wanted to put together our best advice to secure the internships that you are really interested in.
Where to Intern?
The film industry is extension and has lots of different sectors – everything from production, distribution, cinemas, rental business and more. Hence, there’s a lot of choice when it comes to internships.
Certain sectors are more popular than others, most notably is the production field. An production intern will get a first-hand perspective of the work that goes into preparing and conducting a shoot. While they’ll often support a production with more menial tasks – collect meals or coffee, pick up gear or track down props.
There are many businesses that supply productions, whether its catering, health and security or gear rental, and these may offer internships. While you’ll be on the fringes of a production, you’ll gain extensive knowledge of the specific sector.
Applying for Internships
Here at Action Media Jobs, we keep an up-to-date list of internships with the major US studios, plus you can filter on internships on our Jobs page.
Major studios like Disney, Warner Bros and Universal publish their internship programmes in Autumn, and will always include these in our internships page.
If you know what companies you would like to intern at, be sure to regular check their website and social media for any vacancies or internship positions. Many smaller production companies will call on interns to scale up their crew when they’re due to go into production – its all hands to the deck.
While you’ll often carry out admin or runner tasks, the experience you can gain in those few weeks will set your CV apart from the rest.
Contacting – Emails and Calls
If you’re particularly confident, you may want to reach out to those companies if you can identify the relevant staff members at the production company. We recommend reaching out to the talent or HR personnel, else contacting a generic email will usually get picked up by someone in the company.
Persistence and timing is crucial with this approach. A production company’s workload can vary heavily through the year – if they are planning a production, that’s less workload than an active production where they’re juggling schedules, budgets and filming. Therefore, you may email at the wrong time and they won’t have internship opportunities available.
Hence, timing is important. If you’ve emailed previously, be sure to follow up a few months after. Also keep an eye on the trade publications, which will report on the latest films going into production. Those companies behind projects will start production in the following few months and will be on the lookout for additional people to support it.
Many executives express concern that new staff in the film industry lack an understanding of how it works, so internships are a great way to gain knowledge of the film industry and really give you that head start developing a career in the industry. While it can be difficult to secure an internship, those that do are often highly sought for their next steps in their career.