There are a lot of jokes about interns working as office maids or gofers; they “GO for this and go for that” is the age-old popular line. Running to get coffee and lunches and watering the executive’s plants, however, have been real experiences for some disappointed students. But snagging the right internship, particularly in the hotly competitive field of entertainment, could significantly heighten your career marketability–and get your foot in the door.
“Internships are so powerful,” affirms Wendy Washington, a senior vice president at Universal Records, whose assistant is a former intern for the company. “We get our employees from our intern pool. They know the system. They know how things work and you can’t get a better character reference. Interns who work for our company have a better shot of becoming employed here than someone who just sends in an application.”
But more than just making great employment connections, interning is a priceless way to gain actual exposure to the intended field and develop skills not taught in school. Here, we’ve listed a variety of selected internship opportunities in the fields of television, music, theater, and film. Some offer salaries, some provide stipends. And while others only provide college credit, the experience is invaluable.
AnchorBET Nightly News
“My first internship was at Prince Georges Journal in Prince Georges, Maryland, while I was a college student. I worked as a reporter, got to sit in editorial meetings, and pitch stories. It really boosted my ego and showed me that I could really do this. Although I ended up in electronic media, many students don’t realize how important good story writing skills are to being an effective journalist. I learned that there.”
“As a graphic designer, I helped to develop music and film logos for movies such as Boyz in the Hood, Dead Presidents, and Kings of Comedy. I apprenticed with Art Sims, Spike Lee’s art director. My big break came when I designed the logo for Mo’ Better Blues. Internships also gave me the opportunity to learn the new computer programs for design. At the time, UCLA didn’t have a lot of computers in their design department.”
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Attn: HR Internship Coordinator
1 BET Plaza, 1900 W. Place N.E.
Washington, DC 20018
BET offers internships during spring, fall, and summer in BET-on-Jazz, 106 & Park, Maad Sports, and other music, news, and sports programs.
Pay: Academic credit only.
Eligibility: High school seniors and college students interested in communications.
Attn: Ava Sydney Internship Coordinator
499 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10022
Charlie Rose offers internships for the fall, the spring, and the summer.
Pay: College credit only.
Eligibility: Applicants should have an interest in news, film, and TV.
Attn: Mandy Preville
1775 Broadway, 9th Fl.
New York, NY 10019
Positions available in production, marketing, advertising, publicity, and A&R, depending on departmental needs.
Pay: College credit or stipend of $250 — $500.
Eligibility: All majors welcome.
Deadline: Rolling. Internships begin at the start of each semester.
Attn: Human Resources
1149 North Gower, Suite 105
Los Angeles, CA 90038
No phone calls.
Fear Factor interns will learn about reality-TV production