After finishing up my first year at the University of Rhode Island as a film major, I was eager to spend the summer gaining experience that would further my future career. I took advantage of the opportunities I received both in my hometown of Billerica, Massachusetts and in Rhode Island.
I reached out to my town’s cable access television studio, Billerica Access Television (BATV) that I used to volunteer at in high school and fortunately, they were hiring interns. All it took was one phone call and a meeting once I got home in May.
While I do not have intentions on going into the television production industry, I knew interning at a television studio would still benefit me. At first, I did not know what to expect and was nervous as I felt like I did not have a lot of experience. My nerves died down as I got to know the employees who worked there a bit better.
On my first day, I was asked what I was hoping to get out of my internship. My response was simple, “experience.” I wanted any and all experience I could get from the production side of things. Whether that would be filming or editing, it did not matter to me. I was open to learning anything that was thrown my way.
Over the course of the summer, I filmed a high school graduation, a high school scholarship night and went on to create a short film in under three months. I learned how to comfortably edit on Adobe Premiere, an editing software that I used to get frustrated with due to my lack of knowledge of the editing software.
The short film was completely in my own hands starting from planning during pre-production all the way until I finished in post-production. While I was surrounded by plenty of resources to help me succeed the film ended up being an independent project. I completed the film with guidance for my internship coordinator and assistance from my Co-Director Brandon Acosta who I met during our first production meeting.
While interning I networked and formed close relationships with the employees at BATV. Within a month I was able to ask my internship coordinator for a letter of recommendation for an internship I would complete later in the summer. By the end, I had learned how to use various types of cameras, expanded my editing skills, had a completed short film that I sent into a film festival and had footage to edit together for a portfolio reel.
While BATV was less than a ten-minute commute, my second internship was a bit farther of a drive. In August I was a member of the youth jury for the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF). As a member of the youth jury, I got to screen a numerous amount of international films then later cast my vote along with the other youth jurors for winners of the categories we were assigned. I also got to partake in announcing these awards at the festival’s formal awards ceremony. On top of this, I was able to meet directors from all over the world and ask them questions while bonding with others who also share a passion for film.
The festival was a week long and was held in Providence, Rhode Island. From where I live the commute to Providence is over an hour without traffic. I was able to stay with a friend in Rhode Island for part of the week which helped with commuting but the days I commuted from home were a different story.
I most certainly gained a lot of experience and definitely learned a whole lot. Both my internships were unpaid and on top of them, I worked two jobs. Even though I didn’t get paid and sometimes had a longer commute I truly mean it when I say I don’t regret any second of interning at BATV and being on RIIFF’s youth jury. Yes, I now have more to add to my resume, I have references for the next internship or job I apply for and I’ve learned more about networking but from these experiences, my passion for film has grown and reassured me that I’m heading in the right direction once I graduate.
My advice to anyone who wants to start interning is to know that it’s never too early to start and take advantage of the all the opportunities that you’re given. Don’t hesitate on sending that application in even if you don’t think you’ll get selected because it’s always worth a shot. Look for internships locally and don’t be afraid to travel the extra mile, either way, it’ll likely be worth your time. Any opportunity is a good opportunity and I’m most certainly grateful for the ones that I’ve already received as only a sophomore in college.