12:47 AM

Internships

So if you don't know, I'm trying to get a job in the film industry. It's hard on a regular day, but in a recession, not in the same state, and with no HTML skills to offer? We've graduated to a whole new level of difficulty called defcon red. There are no entry-level jobs posted, but plenty of higher-level ones that demand experience. So how do I get experience in order to apply for head of that silly marketing department or expansive office production crew?

I have no idea.

One way to do so is through internships. There are plenty of internships available in Hollywood. But unlike engineering, science, or other internships, people in Los Angeles are under the impression that internships don't have to pay their hirees. While I can understand this to some degree, I recently saw a job posting - an internship job, mind you - that was looking for the following:

1. Someone to work Monday through Friday
2. Someone to work Monday through Friday from 10am to 7pm
3. Someone to work Monday through Friday from 10am to 7pm with NO PAY

Do you see something wrong with this picture? I sure do.

Why do internships who demand a full-time schedule feel like they don't have to pay? They don't include a computer, transportation costs, relocation costs, help in finding a living situation, or anything else that you would think a 40-hour work week with no pay would provide. How is this right? How is this even legal?!

I really wanted this internship - it sounded fun and I felt like I would have been a good fit. I was even asked in for an interview, but when I found out that the position was unpaid I had to decline. I was so bummed and confused and hurt. Is the movie business, one of the richest in the world mind you, so corrupt that it can't pay people it demands a four to five work day from? What happened to helping people make a living? And how can anyone take that job who is a student in the position I'm in?

I remember an article awhile ago about a girl who reported the agency that wasn't paying her for an internship position she had gained. The New York Times covered the issue and it was basically revealed that offering an internship without compensation is illegal. (I don't know if college credit counts as compensation.)

Is it fair that college credit counts when you pay a college for a sign-off that you worked for free in the industry? Wasn't this was called "shadowing" back in the day and usually involved actually observing your field and not running to grab the phone? How can it be fair to gain a whole two credits, pay hundreds of dollars for those credits, be expected to work a full day, and not get paid for it?

I wish that people would pay people for work. Good writers can no longer get paid for what they do because the Internet makes it easier and cheaper (and I mean free) to find someone else to finish the job. I know that interns are young. We make mistakes, but we're learning, and despite the fact that we're in college doesn't mean that we can afford not to be paid. Especially when there are no jobs anymore to let us get a foot in the door.

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