Internships, similar to most things in life, have a beginning and an end. Rewinding to the middle of May would take me back to the start, in which I nervously loitered in an Apple Store a block away from my internship site; fast-forwarding to a week ago would take me to the end, in which I handed in my access key before saying my goodbyes to employees and interns alike. It’s amazing how much progress can be made over the course of a mere few months.
When I started this internship, I had no idea what to expect, and was somewhat terrified by the notion of reporting to one location for the entire summer. What if I wasn’t a good intern? What if I messed up? What if I didn’t like the internship site and the people who worked there? Even worse — what if the internship site employees didn’t like me? These concerns are ones that anyone starting a new position encounters and, throughout the course of my time spent as a development intern, I began to concern myself with them less and less. While the opinions of my superiors and colleagues certainly mattered, I arrived at the conclusion that if I was respectful, stuck to my word, and tried my hardest, then I would be giving the internship my all and consequently doing my very best. For obvious reasons it’s difficult to evaluate myself, but if I were to step back objectively then I think I did a largely good job with embodying all of my goals. I did the tasks I was assigned to with the best of my ability and in the process made connections — both with employees and interns — that will help me going forward. Additionally, the knowledge that I gained about the industry is invaluable, and I’m immensely grateful for the exposure I was fortunate enough to have.
All in all, I had an amazing summer. Dickinson College’s Career Center allowed me the opportunity to apply to this amazing internship and without them, I wouldn’t have been exposed to the production side of the film industry at all. The internship grant I was awarded with was also incredible, as it allowed me to intern without worrying about the cost of transportation every day (because I was traveling from Connecticut to NYC). Being productive this summer was an amazing feeling and as I prepare myself to enter the next school year, I know that I’ll be able to apply the skills I have learned back to the academic year, and return to classes feeling extremely well-practiced.
Writing this blog has been an amazing way to reflect, so I’ll definitely miss it! If you’ve been reading it, thank you immensely for your time and maybe I’ll keep you updated again next summer.
When starting an internship, one of the most important aspects to consider is how the real world differs from the academic one. The obvious answer is that there are many differences – there are almost no industries that are identical to classroom environments – but depending on your site, the adjustments you make will differ in a number of ways. In order to determine what is appropriate within the workplace, you need to be observant, respectful, and willing to make a conscious effort to abide by the company’s norms. If you implement these principles, your transition from being in college to being in the real world will be considerably easier.
Naturally, transitioning from being in a classroom to being in an office isn’t easy. As undergraduate students, we have spent almost half of our lifetimes in the educational system, and are consequently very familiar with the way it operates. When a professor calls on us, we glance down at our notes and then carefully answer. When we are assigned homework, we head to the library after dinner and slump around a table with friends. We don’t dare arrive more than ten minutes early to class, because what is there to do during that time period? This is not to say that we are poor students who don’t care about our education – on the contrary, we care very much and the amount of time we put into essays, exams, and final grades demonstrates that – but to put it simply, we have mastered the system. We are comfortable.
Internships put us in check and make us uncomfortable for the first time in years. On a surface level, this is particularly evident. Instead of rolling out of bed and throwing on a sweatshirt for class, most sites have some kind of dress code, and more often than not it is formal. Similar to how athletic wear prepares athletes to run and throw and kick, the office dress code encourages its members to be as formal, hard-working, and efficient as possible. It should go without saying that interns need to abide by this. On a related note, the way that you present yourself at an internship is largely than the way you do from school. While professors won’t mind if you’re slouching a bit during a lecture (so long as you’re paying attention), poor posture and stance comes off as largely unprofessional in the real world. Physical appearance is never – and shouldn’t be – entirely indicative of a person’s worth, but it can hurt you in professional situations if you don’t take it seriously. Adapting to a dress code and acting like you’re interested in being at the said internship will no doubt help you transition.
Furthermore, it’s key that those looking to adapt consider change deeper than the surface level. As an intern you are essentially at the bottom of the totem pole, and while you certainly won’t ascend to the top over the course of a few weeks, there are certain behaviors and mindset you can embody so that your existence is not miserable. For example, manners and an up-beat personality can go a long way. Simply greeting members of the office in and out of work every day not only comes off as polite, but can even result in relationships and connections. Conversely, it’s also key to know when not to bother people – if someone is clearly in the middle of a task, be sure not to bother them. Maintaining a balance of the two is a skill that will help you in almost every consequent job you have in the future. Similarly, having a sense of focus is another great quality to embody. When someone at a site assigns you a task, you should do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. While the workday may be long – instead of it being a 50 or 75 minute class, it is usually 8 or 9 hours – staying motivated and in the zone is extremely crucial. The work that you output at your internship site might not always be of an urgent nature, but demonstrating that you can complete it thoroughly within a reasonable amount of time indicates initiative. Just like how you want professors to like and respect you, you should want members of your internship site to do the same.
Finally, don’t forget to consider the other interns in the office. Making connections with employees is no doubt most important, but bonding with your peers is a close second. These people who you sit near and interact with on a daily basis have a great sense of who you are and, while they’re unemployed like you are, in the future could be great resources to get into contact with. Industries are usually small worlds, so there’s a good chance you’ll run into them – if not work with them – in later years. Maintaining solid relationships with them is almost just as important as doing that with employees – and additionally can be quite fun, as you’re all going through the same experience. Don’t limit your internship to just hard work; go out to lunch every one in a while and spend time with your peers.
At the end of the day, internships are great experiences that you should make the most of. Before starting, though, make sure to consider some of the points I have outlined in this post and abide by them as much as possible. While entering the work force can seem like a daunting task, careful observation and common sense can take you a long way.
Sophomore year: The point in one’s college education where everything begins to fall into place. Unlike freshman, sophomores are familiar with how the system works and are no longer learning the ropes; unlike seniors, sophomores are not under suffocating pressure of securing jobs upon graduation. Sophomore year allows for students to embody the essence of a modern day education and simply learn, so that they can figure out what they like and dislike pursuing. Knowing and being comfortable with one’s own interests is crucial to determining which direction one should take their education after graduation. Very little in this world is black and white and, as a result, there are an infinite number of opportunities within each major.
One of the best ways to figure out likes and dislikes is to obtain an internship. For those who don’t know, internships are essentially learning experiences that occur outside of school and revolve around students assisting businesses or companies. After one applies for and secures an internship, they will serve as a helper for the facility, and will complete whatever tasks they are instructed to do so. While interns have a reputation for being disposable persons who simply go on coffee runs, in recent years this definition has begun to change. Oftentimes interns are expected to complete errands, sure, but other times they are given constructive work to complete within the office. Most internships maintain some kind of balance between both kinds of labor. Typically, interns are unpaid with money – but this is hardly a problem, as they are paid in the currency of experience.
No matter how much one loves a certain industry, they can’t know if they’ll be entirely happy there unless they give it a try. Instead of staking one’s entire career on a hunch after graduation, they can intern in that field of interest before that, and in the process decide whether they would like to continue pursuing it. A poor internship experience doesn’t necessarily equate to picking a new direction to go in, but if it was a negative experience because of something inherent about the industry, then that could certainly be reason to reroute and consider other options.
Similar to almost everything in life, internships do not grow on trees, and consequently need to be applied for and earned. How does one execute this? First and fore mostly, Dickinson students should take advantage of the resources that the career center has so generous provided us with. Dickinson Connect is the best one of these, as it provides internship listings for alumni of the school, but other sites are very useful as well. One can browse based on their interests and apply to a handful of internships by simply submitting resumes and cover letters. Of course, this initially requires a great deal of effort – a perfectly crafted resume needs a great deal of revision and a new cover letter has to be written for every application – but the end product is worth it. Having a complete, well-written resume is great to have on hand, and cover letters get much easier when you write them with frequency.
After applying and securing an internship, the only obstacles left is one’s finances. If one lives outside of a major city, they’ll likely have to be able to afford public transportation to travel in; if one lives within the area where their internship is, they still might need to pay for food and gas. For this reason, the Dickinson Career Center gives its students the opportunity to apply for an internship grant. Grants can range from $100 to $2,000 and vary on a case-by-case basis. When applying, one responds to questions about their internship, what they hope to gain from the experience, and additionally queries about how much money they might need. After they answer all these prompts thoroughly, they can submit their proposal to Dickinson and wait to see whether it is accepted or not. Naturally, not all grants are accepted, but why not apply? It certainly can’t hurt to do so.
All in all, internships are complicated roles that involve a lot of work, but in the end the experience and knowledge gained makes them worth it. If you would like to get a jump into your career field of choice – or if you’re simply interested in figuring out what you are or aren’t interested in – then applying for an internship can help you on your search for a conclusion, and prove to be useful in the long run.
On the first day of my internship, the Archer Gray office was quiet. I began relatively early for a summer intern — my first day was in the middle of May — and as a result of such, there was a week and a half long period where I was the only new person there. At first, I couldn’t help but feel intimidated because of this. While the staff members that I met were extremely welcoming, being the lone intern was a tiny bit overwhelming, as I was completing a variety of tasks that I had never performed before in a completely new environment. However, my solidarity was soon remedied by the introduction of other interns.
Similar to myself, these persons are college-age students who are interested in the film, television, and theater industries. Due to the fact that Archer Gray is located in New York City, most of them are from — or attend school — in the surrounding area. With the exception of one of the interns who lives in New Jersey, I am the only one who has an extensive commute that includes car, train, and subway transportation. The notion of distance is not relevant within the office, though, because all interns are on an equal playing field regardless of superficial background information.
Naturally, there are a handful of other production interns in addition to myself. We all execute the tasks of screenplay coverage, research, and more — while talking amongst ourselves as we do so. The environment at Archer Gray is incredible, as the office setup allows for everyone to collaborate with each other. One of the main differences between this point in the summer and the day that I started is how much more open the office space feels. I sit at a table with my fellow interns — an area that is our own personal space where we can discuss anything from a script that we just read to the score of the latest World Cup game — and surrounding us are the Archer Gray employees, who we can talk to whenever is necessary (and appropriate). If we’re having a particularly animated discussion, sometimes they even join in at their own discretion. The conversations that we all engage in are lively, intelligent, and make me constantly thankful that I was selected to intern at this production company in particular.
The other interns who work with the Bubble Foundation (a non-profit associated with Archer Gray) too participate in these almost familial moments when they can.
To summarize, the camaraderie between everyone at the company this summer is welcoming and has ultimately enhanced my internship experience. As the summer progresses, I look forward to becoming even closer with my fellow interns, and feeling even more comfortable with bouncing ideas and thoughts off of them as to enhance the quality of my work.
My daily commute is an essential part of my internship, as it is what allows me to actually get to Archer Gray. Below is a picture of me at the beginning of the day!
The first mode of transportation that I take is a train on Metro North. I usually wake up at 7 so that I can be there by 8 and make the express train at 8:12, but every now and then I’ll be a few minutes late and take the 8:25.
This Metro North line takes about an hour and takes me into Grand Central Station, Manhattan. You may recognize Grand Central, as it’s infrastructure is well-known for both it’s architecture and unique, constellation-bearing ceiling. It’s dome shape makes it a distinctive New York building. I then walk through Grand Central to go down to the subway.
After I swipe in and pay the one-way, Metro card fee of 2:50, I proceed to take the Shuttle line to Times Square. The Shuttle line was designed to help tourists be able to get to Times Square as easily as possible, as it’s one of the biggest attractions in the city.
From there, I take the NQR line downtown towards Brooklyn. This train is much less populated than Metro North and the Shuttle, so I can usually grab a seat and relax for a few stops before getting off. I disembark at the Prince street station that is accessible on the N and R trains.
As soon as I ascend the stairs out of the subway, I am submerged in the bustling Soho scene. Similar to Times Square, Soho is a tourist attraction thanks to it’s beautiful, cobblestone streets and it’s extensive host of shops and restaurants. Archer Gray is located a few blocks away from the Prince street station, so the rest of my commute involves a simple, short walk.
Finally, I arrive at Archer Gray. On most days, I am here from 10 until 6 — when I’ll walk through Soho and complete my commute once more! Below is a picture of me at the end of my day.
In total, it takes about an hour and a half, which is a little lengthy for my liking. Hopefully in the future, if I have another internship or even job I’ll be able to live in the city where it is located. My “commute” to classes at Dickinson is no more than ten minutes, so this has been a pretty big adjustment!
Nowadays, a great portion of films that are produced are derived from books. In light of how popular these book to film interpretations are, I decided to compile a list of novels that I read at Dickinson over the past year in English classes that I think would function well in the film industry. They are as follows:
Decoded (Jay Z): Some of the most compelling types of films are non-fictional and autobiographical, as movies that are based on a true story are proven to be more compelling than average productions. Their excess of realism is intriguing to follow. For this reason, I think that Jay Z’s autobiography would be a perfect title to be adapted into film form. He had a tough upbringing that would no doubt interest viewers — growing up in Brooklyn where he was forced to sell drugs to survive was certainly no walk in the park — and his celebrity status is the icing on top. Music enthusiasts would surely love to witness how Jay Z started as a hustler and then arrived at where he is now.
The Rover (Aphra Behn): On the other hand (as opposed to Jay Z), I think that this novel could be transformed into an amazing — but slightly ridiculous — romantic comedy, similarly to how Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was turned into film She’s The Man. Throughout the course of reading this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about how some of the characters unintentionally resembled people that I’ve met in my time at Dickinson, and that the whole premise could be transformed and applied to a college campus. Adapting The Rover into a film featured in it’s original time period (the 1700s) might not appeal to an audience, but a modern twist could make it much more intriguing to follow.
A Visit from the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan): While reading this novel, I fell in love with the various characters, their unique perspectives, and how their story lines overlapped in a way that is largely unprecedented in literature. Time refuses to move chronologically and is consequently extremely fascinating. I think that this novel would serve better as a television show than a film — the aforementioned aspects that I enjoyed could be a bit confusing when translated from paper to screen — and by choosing this format, the creators of the show could devote ample time to each character.
Battleborn (Claire Vaye Watkins): Similarly to A Visit from the Goon Squad, I think that Watkins’ short story collection would make for an excellent, innovative TV series. Her writing is extremely well-crafted and such would surely translate from on the pages to on screen. Though the stories in this novel aren’t intertwined and a new cast of characters is introduced in each one, I believe that each one could be a stand-alone episode. As an overall picture, they would represent the bildungsroman genre, and demonstrate how coming of age takes many different forms.
Nine minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off, I woke up drenched in a cold sweat, and hastily untangled limbs from sheets as I pushed myself to a sitting position and tried to catch my breath. The sunlight streaming through cracks in my shades and the spoons clanking against cereal bowls downstairs prevented me from returning to my usual slumber. Coupled together, the pounding of my heart and my inability to savor the last few moments of sleep could mean only one thing: today was the first day of my internship.
Of course, at the time I was — and still am — very excited about being an intern for Archer Gray, but my nerves on that first day were undeniable. They were why I set my alarm clock an entire hour earlier than it needed to be; they were why I took the earliest train possible into New York City. I had estimated that it would take me 45 minutes to get ready (with a brief breakfast included) and then that my commute would be around 2 hours, but I still over-prepared so that I’d be able to handle any and all challenges that were thrown my way.
As luck would have it, there weren’t any unexpected difficulties. I had picked out my outfit — a blazer, a blouse, dress pants, flats, and a necklace to tie the look together — the night before, so getting ready was a breeze. The train departed from my station at 8:00 am and I secured a seat without any problems. As I listened to music and braced myself for the first day, I reviewed the location of the site and the subway stop that I planned on taking so that I wouldn’t get lost underground with no internet connection. All in all, the journey took me an hour and a half — 30 minutes shorter than I expected it would — so I ended up hanging out in the Soho Apple store for 20 minutes before I had to finish my first commute to my internship. I could only put off the inevitable for so long though and eventually I found myself on the street once more, heading towards the Archer Gray Office.
(To the left is a picture of the street that Archer Gray is located on in Soho, New York .)
Upon arriving at Archer Gray, I was greeted by the assistant and was given a tour of the office. Soon afterwards I met with the Chief Operating Officer of the company, who filled me in on Archer Gray’s history and information of relevance. Immediately after this introduction, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement — and consequently can’t blog about the details about the rest of my day — but despite it being tough work and a lot of reading, I enjoyed Day #1 very much. As an English major who doesn’t want to be an English teacher, I’m not sure where my career will take me, but I am confident that this internship experience will begin to help me narrow down my options — and perhaps point me in a fascinating direction.
This summer, I will be an intern for Archer Gray in New York, New York. Archer Gray is a production, finance and investment company that specializes in film, theater, and television and media venture capital. It was founded a few years ago by Dickinson alumni Amy Nauiokas and since then has taken off, gaining the attention of esteemed film producer Anne Carey — who is now President of Production of the group — and plenty of other people within the entertainment industry. Several of its films have gone on to win awards at film festivals and The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete (2013) was recognized by Michelle Obama and shown at an exclusive White House showing. Other notable movies include Little Accidents (starring Elizabeth Banks and Boyd Holbrook) and Greetings from Tim Buckley (starring Penn Badgley and Imogen Poots), and Archer Gray’s production of musical Once on Broadway went on to snag several Tony awards.
I first discovered Archer Gray when participating in the Career Center’s “Career Connections” event in New York this past winter. I visited the company as one of my sites and fell in love with everything that they do, so I was beyond excited when I received word that I secured the internship. My role is a development intern and consists of: performing administrative duties, researching potential content, and reading submitted scripts to determine their value. I will have the opportunity to approach any of the executives with any questions I might have, and discuss my progress with my supervisor.
To put it simply — I am very excited. As an English major with a creative writing minor, I’ve always been interested in literature in its various forms — such as screenplays — and consequently look forward to analyzing the content that is forwarded my way. While I have experience writing short stories and even longer pieces of writing, I’ve yet to dabble in script writing, so perhaps I’ll be inspired to the point where I begin to pursue that. The summer is one of my favorite times of year, as it allows me to sit down, relax, and read; activities that I don’t often have time to do during academically challenging semesters at Dickinson. This internship will allow me to do just that — and be productive in the process. I frequently find myself reading novels and having no one to discuss them with, so I look forward to reading scripts and share my opinion with the team. Lastly, I can’t wait to spend time in New York and get a feel for it. I currently live in Connecticut but don’t spend much time in the city, so it’ll be fascinating to get used to the routine of things and visit places that I otherwise might not ever see.
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