I had mentioned before that during my senior year in college I landed an internship at one of the most successful production companies in Los Angeles that was known for producing at the time, the hottest REALITY show on air. This truly was the experience that paved my way to becoming a successful producer in REALITY television, but getting the internship was anything but easy.
Let me breakdown the importance of an internship and then I will give you some suggestions on HOW TO LAND AN INTERNSHIP in REALITY television yourself.
Regardless if you’re just getting out of college or are looking to change careers, I can’t stress enough the benefits there are with taking an internship at a company that’s developing, creating and producing in your area of interest. I’m focusing on my experience breaking into REALITY television, because that was MY playground.
From a very young age we’re taught the importance of making money. We’re raised with our parents stressing the need for us to get good grades, prepare for college and if they’re lucky enough to have groomed us to be overachievers (I mean this in the nicest way possible) we’ll go on to further our education and become doctors, lawyers, engineers or possibly the CEO of some large tech company.
However, for most young adults we’re still discovering who we are once we graduate High School or even college for that matter and knowing the path to our career goals may take a bit of trial and error before we discover not only what we’re good at, but what we’d actually like to spend the next 30+ years doing.
THE BENEFITS OF INTERNING:
- You get hands on experience assisting in a variety of departments within a company.
- You discover if you’re truly interested in pursuing a career in that field.
- You get a sense of the workload and time commitments required.
- You make contacts you never would’ve had the opportunity of knowing.
- You’re not bound to a contract and/or committed to a specific position.
- You receive an education that can’t be offered through a text book.
- You get all the free craft services you want.
- You’re more likely to be hired after putting in face time around the office.
Now, here comes the difficult part, being hired as an intern. Getting the internship during my last year in film school taught me a lesson in persistence, which is a quality I believe everyone needs to succeed, regardless of the field you’re pursuing.
HOW TO LAND AN INTERNSHIP IN REALITY TV:
- Make a list of why you want to work in the specific field you’re pursuing.
- Put Together a detailed resume and include your abilities (i.e. hard worker, self starter, detail oriented)
- Decide where you’d like to intern and start COLD CALLING all the companies you’re interested in working for.
- Check college job boards, staffing sites, craigslist.
- Talk to everyone you meet about your desire to work in that field; you never know who someone might be related or connected to. (remember, in REALITY television almost ALL the jobs you book will come from networking, so expand your list of contacts).
- Continue COLD CALLING and ask to be put on a list of interns interested in volunteering.
- Create a LinkedIn account and connect with everyone you know.
- Continue COLD CALLING.
- Apply for positions within REALITY television that don’t require previous experience (i.e. P.A.or Transcriber/logger) you never know, so much is about timing.
- Continue COLD CALLING.
The truth to how I landed my internship was that I called the production company every Monday for a month. I finally received a call back, at which time they told me they were all staffed up. I politely asked to be put on a waiting list, and by the sound of the voice on the other end, knew I would NEVER hear back from them. I printed up a copy of my latest resume, put it in an envelope and mailed it to the contact I had within that company (emails are so easy for people to delete when they don’t know the sender, however, a physical letter is much harder to throw away without at least opening it up).
After six weeks of relentlessly reaching out, I got the call, “Is this Erin? We have an opening for an intern, I see you’re name is on our list.Are you still interested in coming in?” And while simultaneously picking my jaw up off the floor, while screaming “Hell yeah!!!!” (inside of course) I ran out, bought myself a new outfit and began my career in REALITY television!