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What I Learned Moving to LA for an Internship

LA internship
Megan Shirley
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Published on January 27, 2016

Being from a smaller town outside of Minneapolis, I always knew I wanted to see more. When I began studying film at the University of Minnesota, my attention was quickly drawn to the bright lights of Los Angeles. I took a trip down to the golden coast and knew it was where I wanted to be. Upon my return, I began scouring the internet for a possible internship that would land me smack dab in the middle of Hollywood.

Fast forward a few months, three terrifying phone and Skype interviews, countless dollars flying out of my bank account and I am in Los Angeles! I am settled into my apartment and have begun exploring the city.

As my internship was about to begin, these were a few of the things I wish people would have told me about the entire experience:

1. No Job Is Too Small

On my very first day, I thought I would be helping out on some big film set or sharing stories with the stars. No. I was putting together an Ikea desk and organizing banker boxes, but did I complain or make it seem like I was not interested? Absolutely not. I was as eager as ever, and you bet I put together the best desk that city had ever seen. Once your supervisor trusts you more, your jobs will get bigger and bigger! (mine definitely did!)

2. Make Friends/Connections

This is crucial. Although I did not befriend that many other interns, I did make friends with both of my supervisors and the CEO of the company. Be friendly, work hard and stay professional.

3. Ask Questions

Kind of obvious? Maybe, but you would be surprised by how many of the other interns were too scared to speak because they were “just interns.” Make an impression! Of course, you do not want to cross any boundaries, but it will only help you to ask about the company, your tasks, what you can do better, etc. These things will make you seem eager and ready!

4. Help Out Wherever Possible

I am the strongest believer in internships. My internship taught me more than my four years at college (sorry mom and dad..) ever did. This is because I gave that summer my entire heart and soul. Any extra job that needed people – in my case, this was usually production assistants – I would take. I worked almost every single shoot that the company had. I was even sent out on my own to do interviews for a large company event with high profile film stars. I was able to prove that I was serious and that I knew what I was doing by helping out whenever I could.

5. Take The City Where You Are Interning Into Consideration

Although this is not about the job itself, it is very important. I ended up being in Los Angeles, thinking it was the most perfect place for me. After my summer as an intern, I realized that even though I loved where I was working, Los Angeles was not for me. I would not have known this without my internship. It gave me a chance to work and live in LA without any strings attached. LA does look good on a resume in the film world, though! Internships are the best way to get a taste of what life will be like after graduation. It gives you a foot in the door at a company, new skills and a brighter outlook on life. Make sure you are taking it seriously, working your hardest and jumping on every opportunity!

Megan Shirley

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