I’m not sure why you’re reading this post. Wait, that came out wrong. I’m not sure why you decided to read this post. Maybe it’s because you’re interested in interning on a movie. Maybe it’s because you’ve always wanted to send a fax to David Duchovny and you’re assuming I’ll give you instructions on how to do so. Well, either way, you’re right to be here. Because I did both of those things, making me an expert.
In the fall semester of my junior year of college, I took a class on producing TV and film. At least, I think that’s what it was about. I can’t really remember. But what I do remember is a producer coming into class to speak with us. What he said isn’t the point really because he ended the talk asking for any resumes to intern on his latest movie. Naturally, I was interested. That is why I was in film school. Let me just cut to the chase. I got a call about the internship. I went in for an interview (I think) and then BAM, I was working on a medium low-budget movie.
The first day of my internship, I was in charge of going around to every office to pick up trash. Now, this sounds like a terrible first job, but actually, it’s the best. As I went around picking up trash, I basically had to introduce myself to everyone in the production office. Well, if they wanted their trash emptied. This is good. You want everyone to know you as the intern totally willing to pick up everyone’s trash. Trust me. This is a great first impression. Also, it keeps you from having to answer phones which is basically the only job you can royally screw up as an intern. Stick to the trash or organizing the kitchen as much as possible.
At first, I hated the internship. It was boring. It was far away from my house. Did I mention that it was kind of boring? I spent a lot of time reading the script for the film over and over and transferring phone calls to the same three people. But, after about a month, I had it down. I was friendly with the Production Assistants, everyone in the front office seemed to enjoy my presence, and best of all, one of the editors on the film kept stealing me from the phones to help him with actual fun tasks like burning DVDs or watching dailies. It was a dream. Well, it was about as good as an unpaid internship can be when you’re in college. I enjoyed it and I showed up.
One day about 6 weeks into the internship, one of the PA’s asked if I wanted to go to set with him. Obviously, I wanted to do anything that would get me away from the phones so I gleefully accepted. We drove over to the set, delivered an envelope to a producer, and stood around as they were filming something in the distance. It was boring. So boring. That’s when I decided I hated set. It wasn’t as bad as answering phones but at least in the office I could eavesdrop on conversations. Nope, set was not for me. I only went to set one other time before the movie wrapped. I helped the prop department make a big scrapbook that Demi Moore read in bed in the film. That was actually pretty fun, but I still knew I wasn’t made for set life.
About 2 months into the internship, I had begun to think I might be one of the most liked interns. I had seen some of the other interns around and most of them looked miserable. I think I got to do cooler tasks because the production office staff liked me. I’ll hold onto this delusion if any of the other former interns read this and try to deny it. One day in particular, I knew someone in heaven was smiling down on me. We had friendly chats in the office whenever we were waiting for final approval for sides or just had a slow day so everyone pretty much knew I was obsessed with David Duchovny, who happened to be one of the stars of the movie. (I’m not sure why I would’ve ever admitted that to them but I definitely won’t deny it now.) The Production Coordinator often asked me to fax scripts or send messages to set so I thought nothing of it when she asked me to send a fax one afternoon. She gave me the information and I sent it much like I had done before. After I hit send, she looked over at me and said: “There. Now you can tell people that you sent a fax to David Duchovny.” See? There are totally people who look out for you when you’re a baby bird about to leave the nest.
By the end of the internship, I never wanted to leave. I would stick around after I was technically supposed to leave and I began almost exclusively interning for the Post-Production department. In the last week of production, I was hired as the Post-Production PA. What started as an unpaid internship became my first film credit and what at the time felt like some small confirmation that I was headed in the right direction. The film wrapped, I said goodbye to everyone I’d spent the last 4 months with and headed into 2009. In January 2009, I began working for the editor I met on the film and 7 years later still consider him a mentor and friend. In March 2010, on my 22nd birthday, I went to the crew screening of the film in Atlanta. A few weeks later I graduated college. I’ve worked on a few more movies since, but this experience remains the most memorable. It’s the best case scenario as far as internships go because I ended up with a paying gig and I also got to send a fax to David Duchovny. #TheEnd