Internships offer real-world experience for film students

Although there are a number of directors who didn’t attend college, such as Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick, not all aspiring movie makers can simply pick up a camera and make it big.

As competition to write, direct and produce movies becomes more and more competitive, film schools across the country urge their students to gain real-world experience. Film students hunt for internships to gain practical experience in the field. When they perform various tasks, such as editing footage or handling equipment, students see how filmmakers handle pre-production and post-production work.

Radio-television-film senior Lucas Doyle reads scripts, delivers packages and runs errands for his internship with production studio Arts + Labor. He said it’s crucial to work closely with people in the industry because they help guide students through the do’s and don’ts of filmmaking.

“You can work on your own stuff as much as possible or be on set as much as possible, but it’s always helpful to see how professionals do it,” Doyle said. “It’s important to know what’s ahead of you.”

Anne Lewis, a senior radio-television-film lecturer and documentary filmmaker, said she learned to edit mainly by watching other editors work. She advised students to look into organizations, such as the Austin Film Society, that help students make useful industry contacts.

She said students should apply for UTLA — a program in which students spend a semester attending classes in Los Angeles and interning for a number of production companies.

“Getting out in the field from the very beginning is very valuable for students,” Lewis said. “It’s exposure to how things actually function in the real world.”

Radio-television-film senior Kelsey Duncan works as an assistant editor and production assistant at independent film production company Alpheus Media. She said her internship helped her learn editing software and make useful contacts with potential employers. She also said internships help film students who are not as technically skilled at using cameras or editing footage.

“There are a lot of people who come into college with experience,” Duncan said. “There are people who don’t have internships, but they know more than I could ever think about cameras and directing. For me, [interning] was a really great choice, and I’m glad I did it.”

Lewis said working for bigger companies doesn’t necessarily guarantee learning everything there is to know about film. She said large production companies look appealing and help students gain useful contacts, but independent studios offer students the freedom to learn skills in various aspects of film, such as editing and cinematography.

“There are advantages to working for a small company,” Lewis said. “You probably get to do more than working for a large company, where you would be confined to one area.”

Doyle said he appreciates working at Arts + Labor and feels he’s receiving training for what he hopes to do for the rest of his career.

“It’s nice to see what’s actually going to be expected once you graduate and the day-to-day routine for the position I want,” Doyle said.

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