Film, Television and Media Arts - Internships
Students in the major or minor program are encouraged to seek out internship opportunities in the area of their concentration of film, television or media arts. Internships are available from many production companies, as well as television stations. Our faculty have many contacts with practitioners in these media and often help qualified students arrange internships for credit. Fairfield's proximity to New York City (just an hour away) makes dynamic options a real possibility. In recent years, for example, our students have held internships at NBC, ABC, ESPN, The Daily Show, MSG, Speedvision Network, Outdoor Life, CNN, Comedy Central, The Conan O'Brien Show, WFAN, ESPN, WEBE 108, National Geographic Film and Television, and numerous independent film production companies.
What are the Qualifications?
Credit-bearing internships in film, television and media arts are only available to declared junior and senior major and minor students in the New Media Film, Television and Radio program, who have taken FTM10 & FTM11 and at least one history/theory course and two applied production courses in your respective media track. Exceptions to these requirements can be appealed to the director of the Film, Television and Media Arts program. The internship counts as an elective course within the major and minor program.
Internships are meant for students who have some basic understanding of the media, enabling them to both better appreciate the work in which they intern as well as to make them more useful to the company in which they intern. Because of the demands that an internship places upon a professor in the Film, Television and Media Arts program, we cannot accommodate students who are not in the major or minor program.
What should I expect (and not to expect) from an internship?
Internships are designed to give you a real-world experience of a particular field of work. At the least (or the most!), you should have an experience of "trying on the clothes" of the field, to see if they "fit" your talents, interests, and your sense of who you might be in the future.
Most internships at larger companies do not allow you the chance to do much else, and often give you pretty basic work to do - sometimes not even related to the field. If you work for MTV, for example, don't expect to be learning about how to shoot or edit a segment: your main job may be to control the crowds outside the studio windows in Times Square. It's not because they don't like you, it's just that they do not have the time to teach you any particular skills (and the union contracts do not allow you to even touch the equipment). If you intern in a smaller, less sexy place, you may indeed be taught some real skills that will advance you in some area of the media. Smaller companies usually have greater needs than large ones, and often rely on interns to an amazing degree.
You should also not expect to be offered a job sometime in the future at your internship company, especially at the larger companies. They simply don't have that many jobs available, and often have many interns, whom they mainly use for drudge work. Again, there is a better chance at a smaller place that they may like you so much - and appreciate your skills - that they will offer you a job upon graduation. It happens, but don't walk into the internship with that expectation. Your internship will be successful if you get a good look at how the professionals practice their crafts and how good a fit working with them feels to you. The requirements for the internship are designed to help achieve that end.