Friday, December 20, 2013

How to Find a (Great) Hollywood Internship

Looking for your first ever Hollywood internship?

You came to the right place.

Where to find internships? 
I wouldn't recommend applying to the TOP Media Companies (ABC, TimeWarner, NBC, CBS) as your first internship since they require previous internship experience and are lengthy applications. Instead, check these sites on a weekly basis and send a cover letter in the body of the email along with your resume attached.

1. Entertainment Careers- Industry standard site. However, bad internships are not vetted. 
 
2. The Hollywood Temp Diaries: Industry job list. Scroll to the bottom for internships. Bad internships are not vetted. 

Not all internships are created equal!
Don't get stuck in the Devil Wears Prada Hollywood Internship. Here's how to determine if an internship is worth your time:
1. Do they pay? Though it is very rare to find a paid internship in Hollywood, its really a sign of a company's respect toward their interns. Interns doing entry level work is expected, yet its no secret that they should be paid for the entry level work. Due to recent law suits, the major companies have instituted a policy of paying their interns. However, as a first internship, you will likely be unpaid.
 2. Are they a reputable company? Check their IMBD page. Do they have recent titles? Award winning titles? Check Deadline. Do they have current deals? Connections with other companies? First look deals? Do your research. 

3. Talk to a Past Intern. Due to confidentiality agreements, you are unlikely to find an intern having published their experience online unless you know someone who has held a position at a company you are applying to. However, you can use Linkedin to communicate with past interns who are likely to be more communicative one-on-one.
4. Check the Responsibilities listed. Though its hard to evaluate a company for a listing, check the responsibilities they list. These are the words to look out for as they often lead to bad/ slave-like internships:
  • Runs/ Have Own Car/Mileage Reimbursed. Though interns in Hollywood often have to do runs, this shouldn't be a major factor of their internship. Interns should be spending as much time in the office, LEARNING. Rather than grabbing coffee, beef jerky, or lunch for their boss. If an employer chooses to add runs as a major job requirement, their is likely a high frequency of runs and therefore a low respect for the intern. 
  • Rolling Calls. Interns in Hollywood often do office tasks: filling, mailing, answering phones. However, rolling calls is industry speak for connecting two important parties, listening in on the call, and often taking notes. It is an assistant duty (and a thankless stressful one) that you shouldn't need to do. 
  • Confidential.  Don't apply to a company who says its a reputable company but doesn't say its name in its listing. It means it's not a reputable company or its a celebrity's company. Either way, you don't want to work there. Celebrity= Assistant-like internship. 
  • Remotely. If you never actually meet the person you're working for, they have no idea who you are. You also learn less and come away with just a name on your resume and no connections. Also often do not have an office space, which likely means they are not reputable. 
  • More than 4 month commitment. 3 months is standard in Hollywood. More than 4 months is a huge commitment and shows that it is difficult for them to keep interns. In fact, any mention of a "commitment" is a warning sign. Fall internships should run: Late August- Early December. Spring Internships: Late January- Early May. Summer: Late May- Early August. Anything other than this is a warning sign. 
  • Full time. No intern should be working full time- ESPECIALLY FOR FREE! If you are free to work full time, I would suggest to find two internships. 
  • 3+ Days a Week. The standard is 2 days a week for part-time internships.
5. Is it an agency? Your first internship shouldn't be at an agency. The majority are ruthless and its hard to figure out which are not. They have a strong habit of treating interns like slaves.

See tips on coverletters and resumes in future posts.

If you have anything to add, please comment or email hollywoodinterndiaries@gmail.com.

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© No Experience Required Maira Gall.