An Introduction to Potential Television Production Assistants in a Production Company
Solomon, Charles L.
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In January of 1993 I began my ten-week long internship as Production Assistant at KFTY Broadcasting, Inc., in Santa Rosa, California. I cannot conceive of a more worthwhile S.I.P. for someone planning on going into video or film production than to intern in that field beforehand. I have written this report not just as my final S.I.P. report, but as an introduction to students who might be considering taking an internship in video or film production. As an intern, you will learn about the practical considerations of production, not just the artsy side of it. KFTY's Director of Photography said, "I went to an art school for drawing and film. They didn't teach me anything about the Real World." Yes, if you are going to go into that field it does help to know someone who can get you a job, but if you arrive there the first day not knowing a c-stand from a light stand, you can bet that will be the extent of your career. Pursuing an internship in this field is filled with advantages for everyone involved. As I have stated, it gives you-the-intern the chance to learn the valuable skills and procedures that may give you access to a job in an already over-saturated market. After four years in a Communications Major, most students graduate without a minute of real experience, and this makes them unemployable in a market which is full of people who have got experience and can be depended on to pursue their jobs with a minimum of retraining. An internship also gives you those valuable contacts who, also as above, may prove invaluable in getting that job after graduation. that is what a great part of college is about, isn't it? Preparing the student for work after graduation? I believe that the internship is key to setting that in motion, or at least it saves years of painful confusion and frustration as the post-graduate bounces from job-to-job or meaningful-career to meaningful-career while trying to break into the video and film industries. Also important for the intern to keep in mind is the benefits the internship lends to the employer. The employer gets the chance to look over a potential employee before hiring him/her without the pressure that they must hire the intern if he or she turns out to be inappropriate or if there simply is no money for it. I Think of it as an extended interview. Also, they can train you to be efficient within their organization at no expense to themselves except, of course, for their time. Then, of course, they get the free and, hopefully, energetic labor. It is a good deal for everyone involved. There are many different kinds of internships within the video and film industries and I will limit the scope of this paper to talking only about the kind with which I have experience. That experience is with working in the production department of a non-affiliated television station of approximately 300,000-Watts in the "North Bay" area of California. KFTY has its own news team and is the only local television station covering Sonoma County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The competition for the production bills is limited to only KFTY and the local cable company.
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