ART 4205 • Internship in Digital Filmmaking & Photography

3 semester hours.  Supervised by assigned faculty advisors, students secure professional placement relevant to both the academic discipline and their own career aspirations. Specific duties and assessment standards to be negotiated by contract in advance. Prerequisites: Candidacy, internship placement, and Art Chair approval.  Prerequisites: Candidacy and permission of instructor.  Offered by arrangement.

Distinctly Different.  Understand the important and unique nature of the internship on your transcript.  It’s not just another grade in your G.P.A.  An internship earns detailed pride of place on your résumé.  Future employers will take special interest in an internship.  They may even call your workplace supervisor as a reference.  Additionally, you should think of yourself as a representative of PennWest.  If you work poorly, are disrespectful, or have spotty attendance, your workplace may be reluctant to host future Philmmaking interns.

Placement.  Find a project, institution, non-profit, or business at which you’d like to work.  The position may be paid or unpaid.  Secure placement and a job-site supervisor.  The placement should afford you the opportunity to work for 112.5 hours of work for 3 hours of academic credit.  Negotiate approval of this work assignment with the supervising faculty member.

Paperwork.  Complete the University’s necessary paperwork before the work assignment begins.

Payment.  Because you’re earning academic credit, you’re expected to pay tuition.  Check with the bursar for the university’s summer rate per credit hour.  Or check with the registrar if an internship is likely to put you into overload for a regular semester.  These considerations may help you decide when to schedule your internship and summary reports.

Journal.  The course’s central documentation is a daily diary which records crucial details, reflects on your experience, and analyzes connections between the working world and coursework.  The following prompts should guide each day’s entry:

  • What did you do?  What did you learn?  Refer to specific tasks and projects with completion dates.  Are you being trusted with more and bigger responsibilities over the life of the internship?
  • How did it make you feel?  Did you enjoy the task?  Can you imagine it as part of a rewarding career?  Were there any issues of ethics or conscience involved?
  • Classification.  Try to categorize the tasks in one or two words.  When you review the internship experience, what did you spend the most time doing:  lighting? legal paperwork? organizing media files?
  • Connection.  Did today’s tasks connect with any other classes you’ve taken?  GenEd? Major?  A class you wish you’d taken (or paid more attention in)?  Maybe a campus or community activity (fraternity? religious experience?  athletic event? volunteering?).
  • Skills.  What tools did you use?  Software?  Hardware?  Employers are often interested in brand and model names of cameras, lighting instruments, and microphones.
  • Photos.  Never was it more true than in filmmaking & photography:  Pics or it didn’t happen.

Written Report.  The journal becomes the basis for a written report.  Your report may be read by multiple audiences, including

  • your internship supervisor
  • other company management
  • instructor
  • classmates
  • school administrators

Consequently, you’re advised to maintain a professional voice even when you’re writing about workplace disappointments or complaints.  Your report is expected to be free of surface and grammatical errors.  A number of tools are available to help you carefully proofread your work.

The report should include

  • background information about the company/organization/gig project/employer.  When was it founded?  What is its purpose or mission statement?
  • a description of your internship role
  • an overview of your experiences, highlighting those projects and skills you found particularly helpful or exciting.  What surprised you most?  What most disappointed you?  Are you as likely to pursue a career in media production as you were before the internship experience?  Why or why not?
  • a contemplation of improvement.  How might you have improved your own internship?  Some matter of personal character improvement?  Wish you’d been less shy?  More punctual?  Spent more social time with coworkers?  Some matter of skills training?  Wish you’d known more about a specific area of filmmaking before starting?
  • How might the company/institution/organization improve future internships?  Would you recommend it to customers/clients?  To potential employees and interns?
  • How might the university improve future internships?

Oral Report.  Your faculty supervisor will help you schedule a public presentation, probably to a gathering of other students in the Philmmaking program.  Such audiences are interested in industry anecdotes and behind the scenes stories.  You might use those to expand an outline of your written report.  Preview any Keynote or PowerPoint slide deck with your faculty supervisor before your presentation.