Friday, August 29, 2014

Important Info If You Want to Intern at Disney or ABC in Spring 2015

Disney is jumping on the Spring internship bandwagon super early this year.

It's not even September and they have plenty of internships posted on Disney Careers, are updating their Facebook page like nobody's business, and even have a live chat with a recruiter coming up on September 4th. This is likley due to the large amount of internships they must process and interview per year, more than any other company.

What Does This Mean?

Now this is kind of freaky since they are completely ignoring the standard Internship Application Seasons for the first time ever. But what's freaky for me is both a good and bad thing for you.

The good is that you can apply for Disney internships early this year and take special care with the applications. The bad being that I have no idea when the internship you want is going to be posted. Which may mean you will have to check DisneyCareers everyday for the next month and a half.

The "When" of Disney Internship Postings

The internships currently posted are mostly centered in the Orlando area and deal with the Theme Parks. There are a couple internships posted for CA Theme Parks as well, and one for Imagineering. So if you're intrested in that, I would apply right away. The applications are expected to close and interview much sooner than usual, due to their early posting.

I feel that ABC, Marvel, ESPN, and other DATG (Disney ABC Televison Group) internships won't be posted till at least the 2nd week of September. However, due to their vering off schedule, I have no idea. When I hear about them, they will be posted in our annual Spring Internships Applications list. So not to worry.

What to Do Now?

If you are planning to apply, I would suggest checking out the live chat on September 4th at 1-2 EST.  Their facebook page even includes an easier way to search their huge application database for internships, which I would check out as well.

Personal Note

I was a Disney Intern at ABC and it was one of the best internships I've ever had. They have a very social internship program with lots of fun events, weekly intern lunches, and a true support staff. I would highly reccomend a Disney Professional Internship to anyone willing to do real work and make an impact at a company. You will not be getting coffee here. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Prepare For Spring Internship Applications Now!

There's no time like the present!

I know you just finished an exhausting fall application season, or summer internship, or....not. Either way, now is the best time to make sure you have everything prepared for the second most competitive internship season- Spring.

Spring Internship Season stars in October, so it may seem like we're jumping the gun. We're not. Fall semester can get a bit crazy, espically if you are taking 300 or 400 level classes for the first time (holla fellow Juniors and Seniors). Before you know it, it will be deep into October and you may even miss internship deadlines. We've all done it.

Now, fresh over your summer internship and before school (or another internship) starts, is the best time to work on getting everything prepped for spring internship applications. To do so, it's best to think in threes:
1. Branding
2. Updating
3. Polishing 

The Essentials

Scary words! I know. However, it's really simple. You just need to focus on four things: your resume, your website, your cover letter, your business cards, and your linkedin. If you only have two or three of those things, less work for you. Just kidding! Make sure you get a personal website, business cards, and a linkedin if you haven't already. If you need help on how to do that or what these should look like, check out our posts on building a FREE personal website and getting some professional business cards. 

1. Branding

First thing first, branding. You can have an awesome resume, linkedin, website, and business card. However, if they aren't matching it can make you seem a bit scatter minded to an employer. For example:

You see how that comes across? Messy, no attention to detail, design crazy. All things you don't want to portray to a future employer- espically in your first impression.

To avoid this, make sure your resume, cover letter, website, and business cards match. Yes, that means buying (hello etsy) or creating a design, color sceme, or typeface that will exist across all platforms. Think of yourself as a product you're trying to sell. What if McDonalds have a different logo in every city? You would never be able to pull over off the interstate and treat yourself to a McFlurry and some fries. Creating a personal brand, is the same idea.

The simplest way to do this is picking a single bold font, a color sceme, or (if you're more design inclined) your own logo- a circle, a location/globe, etc.

It will make a major difference in how you come across to future employeers. We'll use my personal branding as an example:


Business Card:

Business Cards:

Soon, we'll be lauching complete branding packages on our etsy page. If that interests you, check us out.  However, you can always do this yourself by just making the top bar of your resume, website, and business cards pink or blue or green.

2. Updating

Make sure you update your resume. Thinks to consider updating are:
  1. Experience on Both Your Resume and Linkedin. Though this may seem like a bit of a "duh" addition. Consider taking the OWN recuriters advice and updating your bullets to acomplishments rather than duties. It gives your experience a much stronger edge. You can see I have done the same in my resume above. Make sure whatever changes you make are reflected in your Linkedin.
  2. Delete Non-Relevant Experience: The more experience you get the less you need that camp counselor position on your resume. Though your linkedin can have a more complete list of your positions. Keep your resume streamlined with only your best, relevant, and more recent positions. Normally, this is about 5-6 positions. 
  3. Skills. If you've learned Final Cut Pro, Pro Tools, or the agency databases, make sure you write that on your resume. Tip: Use industry lingo like "rolling calls". 
  4. Links/ Email. Please make sure all your links and emails are up to date. If you have an address, and I hope you don't, make sure that is up to date as well.
  5. Production Experience. Update your list with your most recent films. However, if you have more than 8 films, select the ones that have notarity, won awards, shown at film festivals, or have the best sounding position (i.e. director, production designer). You can even note if it's shown at a high-ranking film festival- as I have done.
  6. Study Abroad: Be sure to include if you've studied abroad. It can give you that international edge that is so important in the industry.

3. Polishing

Give your resume to a friend, a past supervisor, or even a HR contact you have. Tell them to give you ideas on the design, experience bullet points, and just proofread your work. It will ensure you have the perfect resume and branding package to wow the recuriters in October. 

Best of luck!
More information about Spring Internships to come in September. Check back then, and update update update!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Housing Hunt: The Problems With Subleasing

Now, I'm what you call an expert subleaser. As a former RA, exchange student, and Craigslist connoisseur, I can't remember the last time my name was actually on any sort of lease. However, none of that could prepare me for a summer of living in east LA with 6 complete and total strangers.

That some-what trying experience has let me clearly see the problems with subleasing. Despite my obvious past subleasing love, I've started to long for a lease and apartment of my own- even though I've signed a sublease until next Summer. 

Let's just say I look up studio apartments on a pretty regular basis. But if you are moving somewhere (LA/NY) for as semester-long internship, it's your best bet for affordable housing. 

Problem #1: You Are Not On The Lease

Now, this is equal parts obvious equal parts surprising. Let me explain, you are not on the lease. That partly means the Landlord might not even know you're there! 

It also means, you can't call with maintenance issues. Cause, they'll be like "who the hell are you?" 

You can also really get into trouble. If for instance, the lease the person you're subleasing from doesn't allow subleasers. Or you don't know the rules of the place you're living in if the person doesn't tell you. For instance no pets, no couples sharing a room, or no overnight stays. 

Just be sure to ask these questions about these issues when you sublease. And always go for the sublease that requires a credit check and a meeting with the landlord, it just adds that sense of legitimacy. However, I've done it both ways and never had any crazy problems with it. Although the maintenance issue did come up and I may or may not used the name of the person I was subleasing from (a much older Asian girl). 

Problem #2: You Have No Say

Since you are not on the lease, not in charge of getting the rent payment in time, and just a "temporary resident"- you really don't have a say in a lot of real issues. A sample of these real issues are dishes in the sink, all standards of cleanliness, boyfriends everywhere (seriously everywhere),  and people breaking the rules (pets, couples sharing a room). 

Along with this comes with a general inconsiderateness towards the subleaser or worse, when everyone is a stranger, towards everyone in the house/apartment.

This can lead to a lot of passive aggression on your part. This is your home as well! 

The best way to deal with this is having a roommate meeting. This serves to discuss the problems, standards of living, and allows you to gain equal footing. This is especially effective in environments where everyone or most people are fellow subleasers. 

For environments where you come in to an existing roommate situation. You might just have a to adapt to their environment and standards. If you really have a problem, just discuss it with the roommate you feel closest too. They likely want you to feel comfortable in the home as well, but are often not as open to compromise. 

Problem #3: You Don't Know These People

Another problem with subleasing, the root of the problem if you will, is that you don't know these people. The person you are closest too, the one subleasing the apartment, will not be there to ease the transition. 

You may be lucky if you get to stalk them on Facebook, much less get to meet these people before you move in. In fact, I hate to admit this, I didn't even learn all my roommates names despite living with them for 3 months. 

The very fact that you are living with strangers leads to lack of confrontation, lack of communication (my roommate moved out and gave her keys to a friend without telling us), and inconsiderateness.

Also, since the situation is awkward, most people keep to themselves. No pow-wow's or movie nights for the most part. Which was actually a huge disappointment if you are coming to LA/NY, not knowing anyone. If you each have your own rooms, the living room will likely become a barren storage unit.

They also might be crazy, loud, or just terrible people- and you're stuck in a sublease for 3 months. I mean, you're not going to move again with only a couple months left. 

The best way to avoid terrible roommates is to just ask as many questions as you can before you sign the lease. Get there names, stalk them on Facebook. If they live a party lifestyle and you would rather just watch Netflix, it might not be a great match. Even if it's only for a couple months. 

Problem #4: Stuff if Everywhere

If you are living in a space with 4+ roommates, there will be stuff everywhere. Especially if most of these people are subleasers, dragging their stuff from their previous fully furnished apartments. This is fine in the majority of the rooms in the house: your room and shared bathrooms. However, the living room and kitchen areas tend to EXPLODE with things. I mean four sets of pops and pans, utensils everywhere, food everywhere. 

As much as I hate to suggest it, the only way to combat this is to designate storage places in the apartment in order to whittle the pots and pans down to one set. You also should collaborate on buying food essentials, more so if you only have one fridge. That means one person buys the butter one week, another buys milk, another buys eggs. Three sets of eggs, milk, and butter fill up a fridge very fast. 

If you can't keep all of your stuff in your bedroom, you'll have to get rid of some of your stuff or get a storage unit. Please please please do not dump it in the living room and say "sorry". You have everything you need in your room and you will never need those things. Preventing your roommates from using the living room is not cool. 

Problem #5: Borrow and Ruin

If you have a lot of roommates, it can be very easy for people to borrow your things without blame. I mean, how will you know who did it? You aren't Sherlock. 

This no-fault borrowing can unfortunately lead to them not taking very good care of your things. For me, this happened with my brand new pans. They are burned, charred, and dirty despite my constant efforts in cleaning them. I honestly do not know how this happened or who did it. 

I've found this happens the most with kitchen items and essentials like dish soap, filtered water, and sponges. I would recommend just keeping your kitchenware packed away and "polite-borrowing" theirs, especially if you are only subleasing for 3 months. 


Subleasing can be a great way to find affordable housing in major cities, however it can also turn into a misinformed nightmare. The best way to avoid this is do your research, go in with a friend as a roommate, or just ask lots of questions. Having your own room and bathroom helps too! 

My sublease experience wasn't all bad, despite the above problems. Although the storage and kitchen problems were a little disheartening, I did make small personal connections with some of my six roommates. Overall, it was fine and livable- even if it wasn't the ideal experience. 

I hope I've given you the worst case scenario of what to expect, here's hoping your sublease experience will be perfect!

Need a Resume? Check out our new Etsy store and get a new resume instantly. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Buy or Lease a Car? #PostGradProblems

If you're moving to LA for the summer or post-grad, you're going to need a car. Sure there's rumors of public transportation, but trust me it's incredibly inconvenient and may leave you stranded on the seedy part of Hollywood Blvd in the middle of the night- not the best place to be. On this post we'll give you the low down on your options of buying or leasing a car and that tricky tricky auto insurance you are now responsible for. 

That Buying or Leasing Conundrum 

It's a choice that's up to the individual, of course. However, The Hollywood Intern Diaries is here to make the decision just a bit easier. 

  • Leasing Gets You A New Car: If you want a new car, a lease would likely be your best bet. As a post grad, you likely don't have the money to spend on buying a new car. Plus, with a lease you can have a new car every three years or even every year. With a bought new car, you will be stuck with the car for much much longer. 
  • Leasing= Lower Payments: Unlikley car payments where are you buying the whole car, leasing payments are cheaper. You are only paying for the difference in the car's value now v.s. its value at the end of the lease. That means the longer the lease, the lower the monthly payments. 
  • Leasing Payments Never End: That being said, lease payments NEVER end. Whereas, with a bought car, the payments will initially end. This allows you to save money in the long run (providing the cost of repairs doesn't exceed money saved). 
  • Leasing Means No Cost Repairs: Leases will be under warranty for the entirety of your lease. They will also be new and will likely not require much repair work or trips to the dealer. Bought cars on the other hand, will only be under warranty for about two years or less. Repair trips also become more frequent the older the cars become. 
  • Leasing Restrictions: Leases also have restrictions such as charging you an extra fee if you drive too many miles (a problem in LA). When you own your own car, the world is you're oyster. Who is up for a road trip to Vegas? 

Want to lease? Remember these three things. 
1. "Can't Go Lower" is a lie. Be sure to shop around and get multiple quotes. 
2. "Capitalized Costs" means the amount to be financed. 
3. "Residual value" is a fancy word for the value of your car at the end of the lease. 

If you want to learn more about auto insurance or about that awkward transition to adulthood, look out more of our #PostGradProblems articles. Need a Resume? Check out our new Etsy store and get a new resume instantly. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Response to the Weinstein Company's Internship Auction and the Media Coverage

The Weinstein Company recently auctioned off a 3-month internship for a well-endowed college student. The closing non-transferable bid was upwards of $26,000, a large sum but one that is short of the Weinstein Company's estimated value of $50,000.

Now, this is for "charity". The beneficiary being both the "student", who can receive college credit, and the American Repertory Theatre- where the co-founder of Weinstein is staging his passion project Finding Neverland next year. Funny how that works out.

What is Hollywood Intern Diaries response? Glad you asked. I would just like to illustrate, quickly, the fact that no reporters sought a comment from any source that represents or works with entertainment interns. 

This controversy is notable for the ridiculousness of the situation- paying to work. However, it is also notable because it's a window into the perception of interns at both the studio/production company level and at major media outlets.

Thanks to the Black Swan lawsuit, first filed in 2011 by former interns at 21st Century Fox, internship programs at the major studios have been quietly switching to paid structured internship programs. This, strangely, has not even been remotely covered in the media and goes unnoticed by such giants as Business Insider who states:

"The now infamous "Black Swan" lawsuit was originally thought to be game changer for the industry, but nothing has changed." 
You can read the rest of their article on The Weinstein Company stunt, here. If you'd like.

Getting internships in the entertainment industry is hard. There is even a perception that if you know enough people or have enough cash it's easier to land one of the coveted spots. This internship auction only helps further this idea- for the media and the industry as a whole. However, it is not impossible to get an entertainment internship. I have no connections nor heaps of money to speak of, yet I managed to land an internship at a local news station then a famed production company my sophomore year of college. It is all about the work you put into your applications, refusing to be defeated when you never hear back, stressing as the first day of the semester approaches and you think you may not have an internship this semester after all. I've been there.

As for the unpaid internship system. Business Insider is right in saying it's not ideal and still used by a major of production companies, admittedly they forgot to mention that almost all the major production companies (Fox, ABC Productions, CBS, NBCUniversal) have all transitioned to paid internship models. 

However, Business Insider is completely wrong in saying "it's nearly impossible to defend the unpaid internship structure." They use statistics like only 37% of interns end up working for their employer. Now this statistic is the result of a research survey that applies to all industries (business, accounting, mining, etc) and not just the entertainment industry. But, even worse, this illustrates a complete and utter MISUNDERSTANDING of the entire point of entertainment internships. 

The point of internships in the entertainment industry is to learn as much as you can about different studios, companies, departments, in addition to learning the skill set (rolling calls, terminology, software) required to get a job. It is not about getting hired at a small production company at the end of your internship, which likely isn't hiring anyway. It's about developing a complete understanding of the industry and becoming a valuable employee- a stark difference from a fresh faced film school grad who has spent the past years in film studies classes. Most entertainment interns move from interning at smaller production company, usually unpaid, to larger companies with defined and paid internship programs. This phenomena is all but absent in all reporting on the subject.

 As Business Insider reports, "35.2% of grads without internships receive job offers following graduation." However that is again, across all industries in the world. We all know plenty of education and accounting majors who graduated college and were employed right away. However, I know tons of film kids who spent their semesters smoking pot and making artsy short films who are skill looking for work. Now, compare that to the 100% rate of employment for those I know who graduated with 2 or more entertainment internships, you start to realize that entertainment internships are not casual wastes of time. 

Business insider is missing a statistic. Where's the statistic for the percentage of employed entertainment interns with 2 or more internships under their belt? It doesn't exist. Why? Because the media is so focused on the idea of unpaid internships being a bad thing they refuse to acknowledge that it is not only a worthwhile experience for college students but also EXPECTED by recuriters. 

Yes, not all unpaid internships are good. But the industry is changing, maybe not over at the Weinstein Company, but it is changing! Even in the past two years I have seen tremendous growth in the number of paid interns and the formation of structured internship programs designed to allow the intern to grow as a potential employee.

Blacklight Media, a small transmedia production company, has set weekly programs for interns including lunch with the CEO, a discussion of a different genre each week, and a final pitch of an independent project the intern has prepared. Even OWN, a cable network, offers interns resume workshops, lunch with the President (not Oprah, sadly), and has a dedicated HR team to insure the interns are fully supported.

Although the days of coffee "assistant" internships are not gone by any means. Hell, I've had one myself. The "tough skin", Business Insider scoffs at, is extremely essential to your success if you plan on working in an agency or hard-hitting development team.

However, that brings up an interesting point. One of the reasons I created Hollywood Intern Diaries was to prevent you from having to toil in one of these internships. On that note, may we recommend staying away from the Weinstein Company? The coffee assistant internships will help you with a tough skin and a resume booster (which I would have to argue may be worth about $50,000 in the long run), but it will not allow you to learn which department you want to work and specialize in. My internships have allowed me to learn so much about digital media, I am even on my way to becoming an expert in the digital media research field. However, none of that would have been possible without the name of that horrible coffee internship. At least the media is right about one thing, name recognition goes a long way in Hollywood.

But it is not, and never will be, worth paying for. 

Interns deserve to be respected and not looked down upon by the media or a select few production companies that skill don't understand their place or what they can do to assist these young college students who just want to work in film/ television. We are not "overworked" as Business Insider states, in fact most interns I know don't have enough to do and create projects out of the blue in order to assist a company they are so grateful for.

Maybe it would be a better story if I told you that unpaid internships aren't worth your time and that the entire joint entertainment and internship industry, one that I'm frankly an expert on, should change.  However, I already know it's changing for the better and the press would too if they would look deeper into the matter or just ask for some sort of comment from an expert like me. More and more interns are doing real live entry-level work, getting support from HR partners, and getting paid and hired than ever before. The internship is now an expectation to gain work post-grad and in an ideal world everyone would get a great one and be paid. But the entertainment industry is far from ideal, but with perseverance and hard work, I truly believe everyone can make it here. 

However, it you want to rely on money and connections to make it. The Weinstein Company is sure to have another successful bid on an internship soon. That is, until they realize that they are going to have to hire another 30k/a year assistant to babysit the spoiled brats who paid money to sit in their development office in "either NY or LA." And, I bet you anything, that assistant is a former entertainment industry intern. 

Auto Insurance for First Timers #PostGradProblems

Don't worry! Auto Insurance isn't as scary and complicated as it seems.

Leasing: If you are getting a lease, you will get screwed on insurance premiums. This is because you don't own the car, therefore it is up to the leasing company. They usually require more than minimum state auto insurance standards so be sure to factor that into cost comparison!

Buying Your Own Auto Insurance: Deep breath. It will be okay, I'm going to walk you through all the weird numbers and terms. You'll have to go shopping on your own, but you'll be much less likely to end up paying way to much.

  • It Depends On Your State: Each state has different standards and laws for auto insurance. 
    • Other states require no-fault insurance, which means your insurance covers your bodily injury and property damage no matter who caused the accident. 
    • IN CA, this is not required! In California, you are only required to have insurance that will cover damage to OTHERS who are not at fault in an accident. That means you don't have to worry about insurance that covers your medical bills and repairs. However, I would probably recommend that considering the amount of accidents I see everyday on the LA freeways.

  • The Basic Types of Insurance:
    • Bodily Injury Liability: This basically means your insurance pays for injuries you cause to someone else. 
      • This is REQUIRED in CA, and most states. 
    • Personal Injury Protection: This insurance covers the injuries to the driver and passenger in your car. 
      • NOT REQUIRED in CA. 
    • Property Damage Liability: Pays for damages you inflicted on someone else's car, mailbox, garage, etc. 
      • This is REQUIRED in CA. 
    • Collision: This pays for your car repairs when you get into a wreck. 
      • This is NOT REQUIRED in CA.
      • Hint: I would recommend this in LA, unless you have a clunker.  You would end up spending more money in coverage than the car is worth.
    • Comprehensive: This pays for your car repairs when anything happens, from theft, to earthquakes, to Sharknados. 
      • This is NOT REQUIRED in CA.
    • Uninsured Motorist: This pays for your injuries if you get into an accident with someone who isn't insured. 

  • Understanding Insurance Policies
    • Most insurance policies use this fancy and confusing number thing that looks a bit like this: 20/40/10. Don't freak out, it's very simple. 
      • The first number refers to "Bodily Injury Liability"per person injured in the accident. In this case, "20" refers to the fact that $20,000 of medical bills per person are covered by your insurance. 
        • In CA, the minimum is 15, or $15,000 per person in an accident. 
      • The second number refers to "Bodily Injury Liability PER ACCIDENT. That is, the total amount the insurance will cover in medical bills per accident, no matter how many people are injured. 
        • In CA, the minimum is 30, or $30,000 per accident. 
      • The third number refers to the property damage maximum PER ACCIDENT. 
        • In CA, the minimum is 5, or $5,000 per accident. 
Tips for Purchasing Insurance: 

1. Get quotes from multiple companies. Never settle and always haggle. Just some words to live by. 

2. If you are coming from another state, except to see a huge price hike in your auto insurance. Due to the high number of accidents, theft, and crime in Southern California- auto insurance is pricey because of risk. Insurance companies make money when you don't have an accident, and that is very unlikely in SoCal. 

3. Insurance can y even depend on where you live in LA. If you live in Santa Monica, your auto insurance will be cheaper than if you live in East LA or Downtown where there is a lot of break-in's. 

4. If you are under 25, your rate will be higher. 

5. If you have had an accident, theft, or any insurance problem (even at a different insurance company), you will have higher premiums. 

6. The type of car also matters! Convertibles and older cars have higher insuance rates. 

Consider Per Mile Insurance: 

I recently came across this new insurance company that is designed for millennials and offers "per-mile insurance." It's called Metromile and I'm very intrigued with how easy they make insurance. It's designed for people who drive less than 10,000 miles a year. Perfect if you stay and never leave LA, especially if you live and work in the same neighborhood or side (holla at the east siders!). Although, if you want to take a road trip, you don't pay for miles over a certian amount a day. 

You plug in this little gadget into your car and it tracks your miles (in addition to giving you diagnostic info on possible problems with your car). You pay a low base rate per month and then a per mile rate that is mere cents. Your rate is determined by the deductible you choose and the liability coverage you choose. It covers every type of insurance we talked about above, which is pretty impressive- no need to pick and choose. 

I went ahead and entered all my information to get a quote. I drive a used convertiable from 2007 and have never been in an accident. I also live in the East LA "ghetto", so your quote may be cheaper if you live in Santa Monica or Burbank, etc. 

Here's my quote: 

My advice, you consider per-mile insurance if you drive only a small amount to work and spend much of your time in the same neighborhood/side of LA. If you are commuting from the OC or even Burbank to Santa Monica, maybe it's not for you. 
Need a Resume? Check out our new Etsy store and get a new resume instantly. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to Get Past Security

It's an awesome feeling being able to go past the pearly gates of a studio lot or getting access to private offices. It's like a secret world waiting to be discovered. All you need to do is get past security.

Now before you start going all Danny Ocean trying to figure out how to get past them, I'd like to provide a few tips. Most of these will probably common knowledge, but they bear repeating.

Here a few tips:

1. Go with the flow.
Security frequently deals with people who are trying to get into lots and offices and have no reason to be there. You wouldn't like it if someone tried to crash your film set or your meeting with Jennifer Lawrence, would you?

Having your ID, invite to the lot (i.e. email confirmation), a pleasant info and answers to all their questions ready makes their job a lot easier and they are more inclined to let you through. If there is an issue, don't freak out and get angry with security. It will get resolved.

2. Arrive early.
Arrive 5-10 minutes early since sometimes security may not have a pass ready for you (playing the "I'm late" card will not get you anywhere). I once had a internship interview on a studio lot but there wasn't a pass available for me when I pulled up to the gate. Although I was a bit concerned, the security guard instructed me to pull over to the side and call the interviewer. When that didn't work, security gave me the number for the pass office, who quickly sorted everything out.

3. Know your security team.
Get to know the security staff on a first-name basis, especially if you're interning at a smaller venue with a regular security team. They will eventually know your face and let you through without the huge security check. Plus, they will probably be more inclined to help you if you're running late or need authorization to get to another part of the venue - by talking with them they will know your delirium is probably from waking at 5 AM for your internship, not from being an obsessive fan.

Realize that security can be intimidating, but they're only there to keep trespassers out and they're not looking to get you specifically (unless you have been banned for bad behavior repeated trespassing, or are simply just trying to get a peek at an actor...although I'm assuming this doesn't apply to you). If you have legitimate business, you have nothing to fear. Just be calm, friendly, and open and you'll be fine.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Moving is Hard, We Make It Easier #PostGradProblems

Moving is a part of life, no matter how much it sucks. And as college kids and recent grads, we do it a lot. Some of you might even be moving across the country following graduation, to your home towns or even to a big city (can you say New York 4 story walk-up). Hell, even if you’re moving from east to west LA, you’re in for a doozy.

But it doesn’t have to be so back breakingly hard! As someone who has moved three times in the past year (and is about to move to England for a semester), I have a few tips up my sleeve.

Now since we don’t have a lot of money (we are college kids), we’re probably gonna have to move ourselves - unless you happen to have a grand piano. I’m gonna go through the best ways this can happen and how you can save money at every turn.

Professionals: For the Ones With the Money and Local Moves

However, if you do happen to have money (or better yet your new company is paying for relocation), you can hire movers. Just a quick tip, any boxes that YOU PACK are not insured in the move. So if you are leaving it up to the professionals, leave it up to the professionals.

Moving company I recommend for local moves (CALI ONLY): Meathead Movers. 

They’re student athletes, they’re local, and they’re buff. What more could you want? 

Moving company I recommend for long-distance moves: Two Men and a Truck

Rent a Truck: For Dorm Rooms, Singles, College Towns and Local Moves

Cost: Now this is great for the majority of moves, provided you aren’t moving a ton of furniture. I recently rented a UHAL Cargo Van and moved my dorm room in Orange County to my apartment in LA. It cost about a $100 miles for one trip (which had everything). You just have to keep in mind milage, gas refill, and insurance ($10) jacks up that $30 base price.

Which Truck Should I Get: Cargo Vans are great for dorm rooms, but if you have a bit more furniture (a desk, a bed frame, or a queen mattress) I’d go with the smallest truck they have. They cost a similar amount, and due to mileage you want to do it in one trip and one day if possible.

Driving Skills: Trucks are also great for long distance moves. Just be sure you are comfortable driving the truck or cargo van on the freeway, for long distances, and in your departure and arrival city. For instance, driving on the LA freeways without a window in the back was terrifying and the 1 ½ drive was just long enough for me to kiss the ground when I got out. Also, you may be comfortable driving the truck through the desert- but what about NEW YORK CITY. Exactly.

Get the Best Deal: The national self-moving companies are Budget, U-Haul, and Penske. In my experience, Uhal offered the best price. However you can always try to negotiate your rate, yes this means calling the company and not just ordering the truck online (numbers are listed below). Every rental company wants your business and will do their best to get it, including slashing their base prices.  Call every company, get your best quote, then call again and other companies may slash their prices to compete.

 Afterwards, be sure to call the local pick up office to guarantee the rate and that the truck is available. Pick a local pick up office close to your old apartment, you don’t want to waste millage and gas- you’re paying for it. Also, you are often not allowed to leave your car on the lot- so park nearby and make sure you’re in a place where you won’t get towed.

Of course, you can always just book the standard price online. But let’s be smart about this, okay?
Budget: 800-462-8343
U-Haul: 800-468-4285
Penske 800-222-0277

When to Reserve: Reserve early! The days at the beginning and end of the month are busy as that’s when leases end. Also, consider the times around when school starts and ends are also pretty busy in college towns. You will also have better pricing and options.

The Pod Storage/Moving: For the People Studying Abroad, Moving Long Distances

I recently discovered the POD system of moving, and I must say that I’m in love. Instead of having to load things into a truck, drive the truck down the scary 405, and then unload everything, I just need to put my stuff in front of my home in a fancy giant box!

The system works in that they drop the storage pod (it’s a huge box) in front of your house/apartment. You then fill up the box with your entire room- each one fits a room full of stuff- and they come back, take it away, and drop it off at your new place. It’s perfect for long distance moves and local moves where you don’t want to deal with all the hassle.

The best part about this is they offer storage as well! That’s right, no moving truck to storage unit to apartment for you. This is especially great for people studying abroad and for those people moving across the country- but taking a month vacation before that. They store it for prices similar to that charged by standard storage companies.

Best for Local Moves in Califorina: Box-N-Go

Best for Cross Country Moves:PODS 

New City Cross Country

If you are moving across country to a new city (i.e. LA to NYC), it might be best to leave most of your stuff in storage or sell it. It can be expensive to transport your furniture in particular, and it might not even fit into your new space. Talk about a waste of money.

I would recommend just packing your comforter and your wardrobe. Then you have a touch of home and all your best clothes, all on the plane to your new city.

Packing Materials

Never, and I mean never, buy your boxes directly from the moving company. They are often $5 dollars a box! You can find cheap materials at home depot or lowes (about $1.25 a box) or at the back of your grocery store.

Moving Tax Deduction: 

If you are moving post-grad or you pay your own taxes, did you know you can get a tax break for expenses your employer doesn’t pick up.

Now there are a couple rules. You must move more than 50 miles from your former home, need to be employed for 39 out of the next 52 weeks, can count cost of lodging and moving van but not meals. If you’re interested, see tax form 3903. You can google it.

Plus, you don’t have to itemize to use them, you just add them to your standard deduction. This means it’s easier. We’ll go over that more later.

I hope this helped make the complicated stressful moving process just a bit easier for all of you. Be on the look out for more BEFORE YOUR FIRST DAY series where we make adulthood just a little bit simpler.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Networking 101: References and Letters of Recommendation

  Last month we discussed the basics of networking. The ability to network is a powerful skill and knowing how to use it can reap many rewards in the long run. Now let’s delve deeper into this and examine one of the benefits of having a strong network: references and letters of recommendations.  

   References and letters of recommendation are a vital element in, both, getting into an internship and leaving an internship. In other words, it could take a good letter or reference to get you an internship, and it could take a good internship to get you a good letter. Here are six tips that can make this process much easier.

1. Choose Wisely

   Much like forming a resume, choosing your references can require some specificity. Depending on the internship you are aiming for, certain references can be better than others. Some may have had more exposure to your teamwork skills, while others may have seen your abilities to work alone when needed. Go back and look at the duties you have held in your previous positions and see which skill are highlighted by which job and which references have seen that skill at its best. One more important aspect to consider how well your reference can “sell” you. Choosing a more outgoing and energetic person can help make you sound like a much more enticing candidate for the job. Consider these factors when making your list and then move on to the next step.

2. Give Prior Notice

   The obvious, but sometimes missed step of using references is letting the reference know that they are on your list. Always ask for permission before turning in the list to a future employer. If they agree, then give them ample time to prepare for the inevitable call. Just a simple e-mail, call or meeting about your current interview process should suffice. Let the reference know what they have to prepare for and why you believe they are the best person to do this. (You will make them feel appreciated, as well as strengthen your connection with that person).

   For letters of recommendation, the general time frame to give your references use to be two weeks before you needed the letter. However, people are getting busier and busier and, now, two weeks is too short. A month prior to deadline should be a good amount of time to get your letter. Also  during the month, make sure to frequently contact your references and check-in to see how the writing is going. And to not seem like a pest, try to make your reason for contact about something other than the letter and then slip it in later in the conversation.

3. Arm You References

   In the war that is the interview process, other candidates will try their best to put themselves above the competition. You cannot walk into war with unarmed units. Although your references may have some recollection of your skills,  it will not hurt to give them more ammo. Email them a copy of your most recent resume. You may even feel inclined to write a short bio about yourself. Doing this gives them a more positive image of yourself, as well as refresh their memory. It can also help with the letter of recommendation as it gives more material for the writer to use.

4. Have a Back-Up Plan

This one is more for the letter of recommendation.

Sometimes life takes a swing and tasks pile up to the point where your letter gets pushed to the bottom of the list. In an event that this should happen, let your reference know that you appreciate the attempt, and that there is always another time where he/she can help you. Reassure them and hint towards future interactions in order to not weaken any connections. This happens a lot, as I said earlier, people are getting busier and busier. This is why checking in is very useful. If the reference is hinting at not completing the task, ask if they have the time to write the letter and that you understand and it is okay if they do not. Have a back-up reference ready and let them know as soon as possible so they can prepare.

5. Follow Up

Let your references know the results of your endeavors and that you appreciate their contribution, no matter what the outcome was. This goes all the way back to networking and ensuring future contact. It creates a team-like spirit when you let them know the outcome, as they can either celebrate with you on your accomplishment, or give you words of encouragement on your setback.

6. Do Not Leave Empty Handed

Once you get the internship, remember that you are working towards getting future employment. Work your hardest and be as friendly as you can be. Before leaving the internship see if you can get/give contacts from any co-workers and supervisors. This builds your network, as well as opens up more options for you when you need a fresh reference for your next job/internship. Always leave a good lasting impression on someone, because you never know when you are going need their recommendation.


Just make sure a letter of recommendation is requested in the job description. Do not just attach a letter haphazardly along with your cover letter and resume to email applications. The hiring manager might get confused with which is your cover letter. Only submit if it is asked for or as an extra thing on the major studio applications (there is usually a box for it). 

Also do not list "references available upon request" on your resume. Obviously, everyone has references. 

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

FIRST DAY: What the Hell is a 401(k)?

The 401(K) is like the best thing ever, seriously. It’s a company-sponsored plan that helps you save your money with a bunch of other perks. You might have heard it called a retirement account or fund.

On your first day of work, for your entry-level peeps (and some interns at Disney, etc.), you will be asked what percentage of your paycheck you’d like to invest in your 401(k). This is especially true if you are part of a major company, they breath the 401(k).

What is it?

You basically take a certain dollar amount per year and put it in a metaphorical “special box” where you’ll keep mutual funds UNTAXED until you turn 59 1/2.

If you want to make it more complicated, the special box is really a mutual fund investment provided by your employer.

 But don’t worry about that mumbo jumbo. You are basically just setting aside money so it grows tax-free and hence more quickly than your taxed saving accounts and paychecks.


The benefit is that money comes out of your paycheck before you even see it. That way, you hardly even notice you’re saving for your future! You’re saving money without even doing it, especially important because you are going to spend a lot of money in your 20’s and 30’s.

Fine Print

Again, you can’t take your money out until you are 59 ½, at which time it will get taxed. It’s pretty much a birthday present to yourself for turning 60- look how thoughtful you are.

Matched 401(k)

Some large companies will even offer something called a matched 401(k), mostly for salary negotiations or advancement opportunities.

This means your company will “match” the amount of money you put into your 401(k) every year. If you add $100, they’ll add $100. What a deal! If you’re into lingo, that’s a 100% return on your investment. It’s also, not technically, a free raise with no work.

There’s usually some fun limitations, like they will only match 3% of your salary, but who cares! Make it rain! Make it rain! Make it rain!

Hope that helped you figure out some of those forms and adulthood!
Keep reading to find out more about the transition into adulthood tips and explanations. Cause #internlife is hard but #adultlife is harder.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

LAST CHANCE FOR A FALL INTERNSHIP: Best of Entertainment Careers August 1-7

In semi-weekly feature, here's the most promising postings of this past week.  This is our MEGA edition.

Note: This is the result of my best judgement after evaluating their listings. I cannot guarantee these companies treat their interns with respect. 

HR Wants You!
Human Resources Intern             CBS Sports Network- New York City 8/4

For the Development Nerds
Intern                              Echo Lake Entertainment- LA 8/6
TV Development Internship             Superfine Films- LA 8/1

For the Future Talk Show Producer
Digital Media Intern     The Bill Cunningham Show- New York City   8/6
Production Intern          Above Average- New York City  8/6 
Audience Intern              Dr. Phil Show- Hollywood, CA  8/1 

For the Mad Men Inspired
Fall Intern- Writer                            B2+- North Hollywood, CA 8/5 (Best of the Week) 
Celebrity Brand Partnership         Artistic and Brand Management- LA 8/5  

Calling the Music Obsessed
Creative Department Intern  Downtown Music Publishing- LA 8/5
Music Intern                          Awesomeness TV- Santa Monica, CA 8/4

For the Production and Sports Loves (get it?)
Production Intern (Fall)           Tennis Channel - Santa Monica, CA 8/5 

Digital Media is the BEST! We watch YouTube for a living. 
Youtube Network Fall Intern  StyleHaul- LA 8/5

Have a listing to add? Email or comment below. 

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

FIRST DAY: What the Hell is a W-4 Form and How Do I Fill It Out?

On your first day of your internship or job, you will be asked to fill out a W-4 tax form. I know, I know...taxes are scary! Trust me, they scare me too. But this form is nothing to be afraid of! Basically the W-4 form lets you decide when you want to pay your taxes. Yes, you’re in control!

You can decide whether you want the government to take too much taxes out of each paycheck and then get a refund on Tax Day, April 15th, or if you want the government to talk too little so you’ll owe them some in April. Basically, the tax score will be settled in April.

Personal Allowances Worksheet

The top half of the form, called the Personal Allowances Worksheet, is just for you. It gives you a hint of suggestions for filling out the bottom of the form. For most interns and entry level peeps (holla!) the only two lines that apply to you are lines A and B. If you have children, are married, or are a bit futher along in your career, check out those other lines too.

Line A

Line A is basically asking if you are paying the bills for rent and food. That is, do you still depend on someone else (a family member or guardian) for your lifestyle. If you are in college and your parents are paying for it, they are likely claiming you as a DEPENDENT. Congrats! You will put down a 0 on this line.

However, if you have just graduated with your first/second job and your own bills, you’re parents are likely not claiming you as a dependent on their taxes anymore. So you will put down 1. Just, maybe check with your parents to make sure.

If you are paying your way through college, you can decide which one to put down: 0 or a 1. I would recommend 0-1 allowances, so 0 would still be acceptable. Don’t worry we’ll get into that more later.

Line B

Line B is less wanky and more simple. You are probably single (marital single, not bf/gf single) and therefore will put down a 1.

If you are married (congrats by the way) and your spouse works, you’ll have to enter a 0 and continue down to the rest of the lines. Sorry!

Allowances- The Biggie

It’s important to realize that the above worksheet is merely a suggestion. You can put down anything you want within reason. But most of you interns or recent college grads will put down between 0-2 allowances. I almost always put down one. Here’s how to decide.

If you put down 1: You will pay an accurate amount of taxes from each paycheck. This mean no big refund at the end of the year, but also an overall less hassle for your parents (if you are dependent) and more money for you in each paycheck. This is what I recommend for interns espically.

If you put down 2: You will underpay your taxes. That means you will get a large paycheck but have to pay back Uncle Sam at the end of the year. If you don’t do your own taxes (i.e. a dependent), this might be a burden for your parents. I would recommend this only to financially sound entry-level job seekers.

If you put down 0: You will get a refund because you have been overpaying for taxes. However, if you are a dependent, your parents will get the money you earned in their tax package. And that’s no fun at all. I wouldn’t really recommend this to anyone, unless you are an entry-level worked who loves getting money back in April. But seriously, don’t you want to spend the money when you earn it? You also won’t get the interest the government earned on your money all year, which isn’t cool!

Part- Year Tip for Recent Grads

If you have just graduated and are about to start a job mid fiscal year (fall/ summer), you can ask your HR team for a “part-year method” on your W-4. That means you won’t get taxed at a  $30,000 salary rate when you are only earning half of your salary this year! More money for you and the universe is in order.


Putting down 1 allowance is best for most interns and those just getting up on their feet. A couple years down the line when you do your own taxes you can reevaluate what is best for your lifestyle.

I hope this helped you understand the relatively simple W-4 form.
This is part of a new section where we help interns and new grads with the lifestyle transition into adulthood. :)

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Start-Ups v.s. Large Networks: Which is Better for your Career?

I recently stumbled upon an article on LinkedIn titled Don't Waste Your 20s at Google or McKinsey, which discussed how folks our age who are involved in the technological industry are likely to get caught up in the exciting blur of promise found at big-name companies and in turn stunt their own personal growth. Although working at Google does seem incredibly fun - if the movie The Internship is anything to go off, I mean - given my status as a film school student, it isn't likely that I'll work for them anytime soon. However, this same concept certainly can be applied to those of us who are in the entertainment industry.

The equivalent of working at a large tech company is interning for a large TV network. Although we're encouraged to apply for internships at production companies that no one has ever heard of - the "start up"'s of the Silicon Valley world - the end goal is always working for a bigger name.

But what is the benefit of that?

Outside of stability, working for a bigger company may not be the answer to all of your questions. If you're looking to grow as an individual in the industry, growing right alongside a brand new production company or talent agency will teach you much more than your day-to-day "this-has-been-done-one-million-times-before" duties at a larger network. Just think about it - if you're thrown into the birth of a new company and take the time to manage all the issues it will encounter over the years, you're getting firsthand experience dealing with a multitude of scenarios. At a larger company, the method for dealing with any issues was perfected years ago, so you don't have to do anything but your job.

There's always room to argue both ways, but do take into account the importance of establishing a career from the ground-up. It will give you knowledge that other people in the industry may never have, simply because they chose to go straight to the top instead of working their way there.

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© No Experience Required Maira Gall.