Sunday, June 8, 2014

Beware of the 10 Red Flags for Fake "Development Internships"

Arguably the most common entertainment internship is the Development internship. Ideally, interns work in the development department at a Studio/Production Company and learn about the process in which films/tv shows are aquired and put through PreProduction. Normal development tasks should include sitting in on meetings, writing coverage, creating casting wish lists, and writing treatments/ loglines. These tasks give you marketable skills, allow you to understand the process, and allow you to network with other employees.



However, this is not always the case with Development Internships. In recent years there has been a steady rise in "Development Internships" being listed on Entertainment Careers that aren't development internships at all. These internships are best described as "assistants-in-training" and are most common at smaller-level production companies centered around a "star". They often involved numerous runs and I'm not just talking about the midmorning Starbucks run. They are always unpaid, interns often are more numerous than actual employees, and they might not even be in an actual office (some based in the back of the star's house).



These companies post their internships after the end of the "internship application season". They prey on first-time interns and those that missed the major deadlines at other companies.

In case you were not aware, the internship application seasons are as followed:
Fall: May-August 15th
Spring: September- October 30th
Summer: December- Feburary 28th

These internships, while giving you a name on your resume, are not worth your time or the money you spend commuting to their "office". While smaller production companies are essential for major studio internships, their are a THOUSAND other production companies that will treat you better and allow you a better experience.

10 Red Flags for Fake "Development Internships" 

1. Posted on Entertainment Careers After the Typical Application Season: This means they care little about their interns and do not seek "the best of the best." They also are likely not well-connected with studios and unfamilar with current state requirements for Interns. 

2. No Lunch Break. CA law requires a 30-min lunch break for 6 hours of work. If this is not the case, they are breaking the law!

3. Unpaid and Do Not Offer a Letter of Recommendation or College Credit. CA law also requires interns to be paid or recive college credit. Again, if they do not, they are breaking the law! Why do you think there has been so many suits for backend wages at companies like this one.

4. Interns out number actual paid employees. How do you think that's going to help with networking?

5. Runs. Runs. All the Runs! Hint: If you are picking up mail, drycleaning, and driving all around town to get the perfect beef jerky- that's not okay. 

6. Any Personal Tasks: Such as driving the CEO's girlfriend to a date. 

7. Centered around a "Star" (i.e. a famous producer, actress, writer)

8. Small. Small. Small. Less than 10 people is a no go Ghost Rider. 

9. Hostile Work Environment or Supervisor. 

10. No real "office." The company is based in the back of a house or 7-Eleven or something. 

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© No Experience Required Maira Gall.