Summer is approaching. TV Stations and production companies alike often hire Summer interns, part-time workers or whatever. There is a thread along these lines at the Business and Marketing forum.
This got me thinking about my own experiences being an intern and with hiring Summer help. Here is a brief snapshot:
Internship 1- WCVB-TV in Boston - rare for a college sophomore to get this position. 3 days a week I helped put together the mid-day newscast. I would get the preliminary rundown, work with an editor to cut the VO and VO-SOT stories, find file footage, rip scripts, distribute rundowns and scripts, write Chyron orders and try to only clog one copy machine per day. It was actually a good deal of responsibility for a 19 year old kid. No horror stories. And WCVB would have a big cookout one Friday per month - free food for all after the noon newscast.
Internship 2 - WFSB-TV in Hartford. While I was primarily working the assignment desk, calling the state police barracks to see if anything was new (it never was), I got to spend the afternoons going in the field with reporters. At the time, the roster of reporters included such names as David Ushery, Mika Brzinski, and Gayle King, all of whom went on to national tv jobs. Thanks to them all for being so nice to me. I got to shake hands with Jesse Jackson and Dr Henry Lee and I think Barbara Bush smiled at me, once the secret service guys let me in the room that is.
I would then sit in the control room during the 5, 5:30 and 6pm newscasts, and then wander the station talking to different people, like the paintbox artist and the weather guy, learning about areas that were basically off limits otherwise. I got yelled at a few times because I was not allowed to be within 12" of a Betacam deck without being in the union. So it was generally a hands-off experience, but I learned a lot by watching and asking questions.
Internship 3 - Cox cable advertising. I would work with another intern 3 days a week cutting local spots, donuts, assembling the U-Matic tape for the commercial insertion system, deliver tapes to the head-end, and go on a few shoots.
Internship 4 - this was supposed to be the "job at the end of the internship" one. They hired their previous intern who has since become one of the top Avid/FCP editors in the northeast - in 1992 he was possibly the only Avid editor in the northeast. First day on the job I was handed gloves, a rag a bottle of Armorall, and a crate full of XLR and BNC cables used in a warehouse video shoot, and covered in rat and bird droppings. "Excellent experience for a young guy like yourself" I was told.
Once that torture was over, I helped with shoots - loading and unloading gear, setup and breakdown of lights and tripods - we did high end work for corporations in the greater Hartford area. One such shoot was for Jose Cuervo - at the end of the shoot I was given a case of Tequila and Margarita mix, and was the most popular guy on campus that weekend. For the record I was 21.
Alas, at the end of the gig, they gave me a few days of freelance work, but no offer. No worries, I had my job at Cine-Med lined up by the time NAB rolled around and it has been a great career ever since.
We have had just a few interns - the first one lost some tapes from the first shoot she went on, so that was a pretty short internship. More recently our interns have been paid summer workers from around town and have done a pretty good job because they work in my office under close supervision. We try to treat people fairly - give them some responsibility but check their work before it leaves the building.
I am grateful for the internship experiences I had as the supervisors treated me fairly, gave me some responsibility and checked my work. And that has made all the difference.