Au­ton­o­mous An­i­ma­tor: In­tern­ships for the Win

Animation Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Martin Gre­bing

Your Ca­reer & Life­style An­nual Au­dit

In­tern­ships give you a chance to gain some real world ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore ac­tu­ally en­ter­ing the job mar­ket. Whether still in col­lege or re­cently grad­u­ated, earn­ing an in­tern­ship is a great way to make an im­pres­sion and make con­nec­tions.

More­over, hav­ing an in­tern­ship on your re­sume can give you a se­ri­ous leg up on oth­ers with no in­tern­ship ex­pe­ri­ence who may be vy­ing for the same job.

What to Ex­pect

As an an­i­ma­tion in­tern, you may be re­quired to per­form nonan­i­ma­tion pro­duc­tion tasks un­re­lated to your col­lege de­gree or ca­reer path. For ex­am­ple, if you land an in­tern­ship at a stu­dio that is pro­duc­ing a fea­ture film, don’t ex­pect to be lead­ing teams or di­rect­ing shots. Rather, ex­pect to tackle such tasks as tak­ing memos, sched­ul­ing meet­ings, get­ting cof­fee, per­form­ing re­search, or­ga­niz­ing dig­i­tal as­sets, ren­der wran­gling, and a hand­ful of other ad­min-re­lated du­ties.

In this case, your in­tern­ship is more of a rite of pas­sage where you are given the op­por­tu­nity to prove you are will­ing to do what­ever it takes to earn a po­si­tion at their com­pany.

Start Early and Plan Ahead

While some com­pa­nies may only ac­cept col­lege in­tern­ship ap­pli­ca­tions from ju­niors or se­niors, try to get one as soon as pos­si­ble. At min­i­mum, start plan­ning as far ahead as pos­si­ble, be­cause it can take as long and be as dif­fi­cult to land an in­tern­ship as it is to land a full-time job.

Take the ini­tia­tive to seek out in­tern­ships in­stead of wait­ing for a no­tice to fall into your lap or for your school to make an an­nounce­ment. To do this, make a list of your fa­vorite an­i­ma­tion stu­dios and sim­ply con­tact them and ask if they of­fer in­tern­ships. From there, you can ap­ply based on their spe­cific cri­te­ria.

If you have your sights set on a spe­cific stu­dio, do ev­ery­thing you can to get an in­tern­ship there. From an em­ployer’s point of view, grant­ing you an in­tern­ship ei­ther means they think you have po­ten­tial to be­come a full time em­ployee and are in­ter­ested in giv­ing you a chance to prove your­self, or they sim­ply want cheap or free la­bor.

If you don’t have a spe­cific com­pany in mind, go for the big­gest-name stu­dio pos­si­ble -- be­cause the more rep­utable the stu­dio you have an in­tern­ship with, the more weight it car­ries on your re­sume.

Pay­ing Your Dues

Ad­di­tion­ally, since some in­tern­ships are un­paid, you will need to make fi­nan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions well in ad­vance, oth­er­wise you may risk los­ing this golden op­por­tu­nity.

Imag­ine the dis­ap­point­ment of land­ing an in­tern­ship at your dream stu­dio and then be­ing forced to quit in the mid­dle of it be­cause you ran out of money.

You will need to do what­ever it takes to make ends meet while you’re gain­ing in­valu­able work ex­pe­ri­ence and mak­ing in­dus­try con­nec­tions. This could mean pick­ing up a sec­ond or even third part-time job to pay for room and board while you’re work­ing hard to make a break hap­pen for you.

An In­tern­ship Alone Is Not Enough

Land­ing an in­tern­ship, even at a pres­ti­gious stu­dio, may not be enough on its own to land your dream job. This be­ing the case, com­plet­ing an in­tern­ship is not enough – you must do so with fly­ing col­ors. You need to demon­strate pro­fes­sion­al­ism and the will­ing­ness to learn new skills and serve the team in the best way pos­si­ble to the point where your su­per­vi­sor no­tices and ac­knowl­edges your ef­forts. If this hap­pens on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, it would be­hoove you to ask for a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion at the con­clu­sion of your in­tern­ship.

Com­plet­ing an in­tern­ship at a rep­utable stu­dio com­bined with a glow­ing let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion from your su­per­vi­sor can carry a lot of weight when it comes to ap­ply­ing for a full time job.

Com­pe­ti­tion in the an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try is fierce, so any pos­i­tive dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fac­tor that you can demon­strate stands to give you an ad­van­tage over the com­pe­ti­tion.

Martin Gre­bing is the pres­i­dent of Fun­ny­bone An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios. He can be reached at www.fun­ny­bonean­i­ma­tion.com.

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