Monday, July 13, 2015

What to expect in an entertainment internship interview

A.R. writes: As someone hoping to get their first internship doing script coverage, I'm not really sure what questions to expect for the interview. What, in your experience, do employees looking for script interns usually ask? What would be any advice you have for the interview?

Don't stress out too much about the interview. When it comes to internship interviews, employers are just trying to make sure you're an intelligent, responsible person with a good attitude. Show up on time, have a printed copy of your resume on hand and be prepared to talk about your favorite movies. Ideally, you'll like movies that are similar to the ones the company makes (do some internet research to find out what they've released and what they're developing -- they'll be impressed if you can mention a title or two). You don't have to fawn all over the company's films, though. At one of my internship interviews, the creative executive was happy to hear I liked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which wasn't their film); "The last guy said his favorite movie was Weekend at Bernie's, and I didn't know what to do with that," she said.

You can also talk about any previous internship or script coverage experience, if you have any. If not, don't worry -- the questions should be pretty simple where-are-you-from? kind of questions. The interview might even be a formality; the employer might be ready to hire you and just want to convince you to come on board or discuss scheduling. Interns often go on many interviews and have their pick of positions (it's vice versa when you're looking for a paid job). Some internship positions will be more competitive than others -- so if you want the position, be sure to send the person you interview with a succinct thank you email or card afterward. You might also be asked to submit some sample coverage -- take your time and make sure it's free of errors. (For more on script coverage, check out this post.)

Lastly, take the time to prepare a question or two. It can be awkward if the interviewer says "do you have any questions for me?" and you say "Nope." You can ask about what made other interns successful (or what made them annoying), what the company looks for in coverage (if this hasn't been covered), etc. You can also ask about the person's own history -- people love talking about themselves. What does she wish she knew as an intern?

1 comment:

Steve Trautmann said...

Great screenwriting advice on 3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast.

David Feeney and John Quaintance discuss working on sitcoms and writing features.