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How to Land an Internship at a Hollywood Movie Studio

Tue, Apr 3, 2012

Internship Information

Thousands and thousands of students leave college each year with aspirations of “making it” in Hollywood. But competition is as fierce as it has ever been. And not just for the big time jobs. While most people understand that getting hired as a writer, director or producer at a movie studio takes years of work, some mistakenly think the entry level positions are easier to get. Regrettably, they are not. But if you know that movies are for you, a great way to break in is working as an intern at a studio. You’ll be starting on the lowest of low rungs, but in the right situation it could lead to advancement. Yet even these no pay, long hours positions are highly sought after. So what should you do? Here’s one way to go about landing the Hollywood internship that could jumpstart your career in film.

First, you’ll need a production resume. Even as an intern you won’t get hired with no experience. That job at the supermarket may be paying your bills, but it’s absolutely meaningless to the studio hiring manager. So go out and get yourself some real world production experience. Wherever you go to school, student films are sure to be shooting. Reach out to all the student film productions you can find and try to get work as a production assistant. It’s the entry level production job, so expect low pay, long hours, and the most miserable tasks to be put on your plate. But if you can handle yourself, not get in the way, and actually end up being useful, you’ll probably get called back for more projects. Try and land three or four of these jobs to pad your resume and show you’re not afraid of hard work. And if you’re lucky, maybe you can find a higher level job or two in a student film. If the studio hiring manager sees that you’ve been able to move up the ladder on your own, they’re more likely to consider you a valuable addition to their crews.

This production resume should be in addition to your traditional, business-focused resume. There’s no guarantee that your studio internship will be on a film set. More often than not you’ll be starting in an office environment. So take the time to put together a solid traditional resume, and have that on hand before you apply to any internship position. Submitting both a production and a traditional resume will show the hiring manager that you’re willing to work in any situation to find a spot at the studio.

Do an exhaustive amount of research on the studios. Target the ones that feel right to you. Don’t discount the smaller studios, where you might be able to find more opportunity. And find out which studios offer college credits to interns. If you’re enrolled in college, it’s a great way to get yourself closer to graduation while earning that all-important real world experience. And make sure you can offer the hiring manager enough schedule availability to make it worth their time. At least twenty hours per week or three days a week should be sufficient. It may lead to a hectic schedule, but the result will be more than worth the time.

Finally, be willing to do whatever it takes. Work as hard as you possibly can, and don’t get in anyone’s way. Pick and choose the best time to ask a question, so you don’t affect the production schedule. And be willing to do extra work. You may have no interest in learning DVD duplication services, but if your internship requires it, jump in like it’s the only thing in the world you’ve ever wanted to do. Tons of people want to work in film, but the ones that make it are the hungriest, and work the hardest.

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