As a senior at UC Davis about ready to graduate, I decided to stay another year to pursue the entertainment industry and was lucky enough to land three studio internships. In my super senior year, I got to intern at Warner Bros. Records in the International Marketing department, Nickelodeon Animation Studios in the Vault department, and DreamWorks Animation Studios on the movie, Penguins of Madagascar. I also had the opportunity to interview with many other companies, such as Pixar and Live Nation, but unfortunately the timing was a bit off.
From applying, interviewing and participating in these internship programs, I’ve collected some tips and insight which might prove helpful in bettering your chances when applying to entertainment internships. Absorb what is useful for you and ignore what is not. Keep in mind, there’s always more than one path to get where you’re going.
Be An Off-Season Intern
Most students apply for internships during the summer, which makes these programs very competitive, especially for the highly sought out studios. If you want to better your chances, apply during the off-seasons (Fall/Spring semester) and take some classes at your university during the summer instead.
All of my internships were either during Fall or Spring semester. I remember I applied to Warner Bros. Records for the Summer program and did not hear back from them. I then re-applied for the Fall program without changing a thing on my resume, and I received three interviews all in various departments.
Be Willing to Relocate
If you want to break into the industry and are not fortunate enough to live in the Los Angeles area, you have to be willing to relocate. Being a student at UC Davis in NorCal, I knew my options for the entertainment industry were very limited and that I was probably going to end up in SoCal. If you want something bad enough, you have to be willing to sacrifice some things. During my internship with Nickelodeon, I had fellow interns who came all the way from Illinois and New York for the unpaid internship (Nickelodeon is now a paid internship).
I know this is not easy and can take a cut in your savings, but there are some ways to keep your cost low. For example, you can find yourself a sublet for your current apartment and use that money to rent a spot in Los Angeles.
Even though it’s the entertainment industry and everyone is wearing shorts and flip flops, you should still dress to impress. Not only does this apply when interviewing for the internship but also while you’re interning at the studio. These internships are the longest job interview you’ll ever have, and by dressing sharp, you’ll stand out and will be remembered.
During my internship at Nickelodeon, an executive saw me dressed up in slacks, a button up and a tie and complimented my attire. Definitely not a bad person to impress.
Join a Club or Organization
If you are hesitant to apply because you believe you don’t have enough or any experience in the entertainment industry, join a club or organization at your school. I really wanted to break into the music industry and had no experience in that field whatsoever, so I volunteered for my college radio and put that on my resume, which showed I was doing something music related.
Once you have a major studio on your resume, no matter the industry it is, it will open more doors and help you land internships at other major studios.
Want to get into the entertainment industry, but have no idea where to start? Be sure to subscribe to my blog, The Storyboard Room where I’ll be posting a behind the scenes look from the people who work in the industry. You can also watch “The Outsiders,” my cartoon short with Nickelodeon Animation Studio here.