Yesterday, a friend of mine told me that his company has discontinued offering unpaid, school credit-only internships as a result of the BLACK SWAN intern lawsuit. They are permitted to hire paid interns - but it doesn't really make budgetary sense for them. As John August once blogged about, essential tasks generally fall to paid assistants, not interns - and these assistants are often expected to have some kind of experience.
Well, crap. I had hoped the lawsuit might spur a discussion about educational experiences versus unpaid assistant-ships, but I suppose that was naive. If the result of this lawsuit is that companies are afraid to offer internships, it could be very bad news for people just starting out in Hollywood without experience or important relatives. Internships can be a great way to learn about Hollywood, make connections and, as one of my commenters noted, find out more about the job you think you want. I'm concerned that a lack of internships will mean that it will become even harder for non-connected people to break into the industry, because they'll be trying to delve into assistant-level jobs without any experience at all. I'm a perfect example: my internship supervisor is the person who recommended me for my job at the agency. My agency job led me to my manager (among other people). Without that internship, where would I be now?
Interestingly enough, the same friend I mentioned above started at his company as an intern and has been promoted several times over the past few years.
Have you guys heard of any companies changing their internship policies as a result of the lawsuit?