Interns: Hollywood is Calling



Story bCaitlin Manocchio

Connections are the name of the game in entertainment.

Many Chapman students are turning to senior television and broadcast journalism student Austin Carroll for help.

Carroll recently created her own blog, The Hollywood Internship Diaries, with the latest tricks and trades of the industry.

“In my experience, the sooner you apply- the better chance you have,” said  Carroll.

At students from all over the country can find out the scoop on which studio is hiring paid interns. The Walt Disney Company even pays interns an average of $16 per hour, according to the website Glassdoor. Carroll posts paid internship opportunities for the fall, winter, spring, and summer at studios including NBCUniversal, Disney/ABC, HBO, Discovery Communications, Viacom, and Warner Brothers.

Another resource Chapman students can turn to for help finding internships is the Career Development Center.

“We are continually trying to build relationships with recruiters in various industries.  We have our internship Expo in the fall and our MORE career Expo in the spring which is both jobs and internships, as well as Panther Connect,” said Assistant Director of Career Education Sally Jafari.

Internships on Panther Connect range from paid to unpaid opportunities. The truth of the matter is not every studio in Hollywood has the financial resources to pay interns. Many entertainment companies offer interns college credit in return for their hard work. However, several lawsuits have been filed recently against film and television companies for taking advantage of unpaid interns.

When the duties of an unpaid internship include fetching coffee and doing the work of paid employees, Chapman students often find themselves asking, “What am I doing am I here?”

Students within the film programs at Chapman were asked to respond about their unpaid internship experiences.

Senior film student Camille Smith has had four unpaid internships during her time at Chapman and admits that the entertainment world isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When asked if she felt ever felt taken advantage of by her employers, Smith replied, “Yes.”

“The companies didn’t provide gas compensation and they did not help me find employment as they had promised when I started my internships,” said Smith.

The companies Smith has interned at have included The CarLab, Kaboom Productions, Film Rites, and Electric City Entertainment. Even though Smith had an awful experience, she never reported the misconduct.

“It’s the nature of the entertainment industry,” said Smith.  

Not all students at Dodge have had to deal with abuse in the entertainment industry while interning, sophomore film student Anna Hovanesyan ended up loving her past unpaid summer internship at Fabrik Entertainment.

“It was my first real internship where I went into the office. While I had written coverage before, it was great being able to see development meetings, a writer's room, help with coverage, and learn from my supervisors,” said Hovanesyan.

Hovanesyan found her internship relative to her major, creative producing, but still had wished for a little more hands-on experiences.

“I wish I was given more tasks, even though I was writing coverage and helped with rolling calls my last few days. Overall, it was a pretty great experience and I understand that as an intern I'm not going to be getting that many tasks or responsibilities,” said Hovanesyan.

When asked if Hovanesyan would recommend to film majors at Chapman doing an unpaid internship at Fabrik Entertainment, she replied, “Definitely.”

“It is a small production company so it isn't intimidating and the people there want to help you learn and grow in the industry,” said Hovanesyan.

Even though unpaid internships can be rewarding, the cost to receive college credit for one in the summer is not cheap.

Chapman University charges $700 per credit. On average most students work 120 hours during the summer that comes to a cost of $2100 in order to receive credit for unpaid labor.

So the debate continues. Should students cash in a paycheck for hard work instead of paying for credit? 

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