If you are reading this you have hopefully read the homepage and now know what this site is all about. Before we get started with my own personal story I want to start by saying the acronym I am going to use to talk about the “production company” I worked for will be “AEC” which stands for Anonymous Entertainment Company. Anyways on to the story!
I just graduated college in Orlando, FL with a Bachelor’s degree in Film. I was so excited to start my career in the film industry and even more couldn’t wait to move out to Los Angeles, CA! I had worked my butt off to get my resume to industry standards so when I moved out I didn’t bring along a resume full of “Student Films” and “Teacher Recommendations”. In August of 2012 I moved to Studio City, CA with thousands of dollars saved up and a “nothings too hard” attitude.
I had finally made it! I was in Los Angeles and ready to work. For those of you that don’t live in California, Studio City is a “Suburb” of LA and houses three film studios close by which include CBS, NBC Universal, and Warner Bros. While exploring the town I was motivated by the productions all over the place and loved hearing people talk about the industry everywhere I went. The NBC Universal building was even the first thing that I saw every morning as I looked outside! I started sending out resumes the first week I got Internet in my new apartment and the job hunt started.
I probably sent out 200 resumes the first 2 weeks I was there. I got about 5 interview offers and narrowed it down to around 3 possible companies I would want to work for. These companies were Principato-Young Entertainment, Park Pictures, and AEC. My first interview with Principato went horribly I got really nervous and acted like the person that I thought they wanted and not the real me. Needless to say I didn’t receive an email back. Park Pictures went well and so did the AEC interview.
The problem with Park Pictures was the commute was way to far and AEC’s commute was less then a half mile away from me! AEC also, so it seemed, had more of an opportunity for growth then Park Pictures. After my interviews, the boss of AEC sent me an email about a week after the interview informing me and asking when I can start. I started that next Monday ready to go and excited to work. AEC was located in a small office in Studio City, CA. They were a Talent management company that was starting, so it seemed, a legitimate production company full of potential and had industry connections. The company consisted of 5 people, 3 of them being managers, one being another intern (Who was paid), and the last was the Executive Producer for this new web series they were starting.
(SIDE NOTE: The internship I had was NOT paid.)
I started that first day ready to go and ready to prove to these people I now thought were “legit” that I could be an asset to the team and that I wasn’t like the other people that were just looking to get into a company easy. My first task was to research what goes into permitting to get access to film at the Santa Monica Pier. That should have been my first flag. How would someone with such experience not know how to do this? I didn’t think anything of it and within the first 30 minutes had everything printed out and organized ready for the EP to sign of on it. I was then told to research this web series they were starting to produce. (We will call this web series “Completely Lucy”). While all this was going on they presented me with a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which I signed with out even thinking about because I was naïve and just wanted them to see my talents. The first 2 weeks of this internship was me researching locations and helping set up basic camera and lighting equipment which were 2 Canon 5DIII and a Kino Light Kit.
I was working more of the production side and while I was in the car one day with the two bosses whose names were “Tom D” and “Dick” (Not their real names) they started to trust me. How do I know? They started to shit talk the junior agent whose name was “Jack”. I thought to myself “how unprofessional can they be to say this in front of me?” but after thinking this they then made a side comment saying that I could just take over for Jack and I would be capable. I got excited and just wanted to work harder for them. (They never did fire Jack.) Although they never gave me that position I started working 6 days a week 12 hours a day on the promises I was given the first day I started working there.
We moved offices next month to start production of this web series “Completely Lucy” and it was then that things began to go sour. This office was around 5 times bigger then the old one and was 3400sq located in the heart of Studio City. I was ecstatic…at first. We started the move and I expected to do some manual labor, as we needed to move the office furniture and film equipment. I don’t mind doing manual labor as long as I was learning from this internship but the labor started to be the only thing that I did around the office and when the labor was finished for the day I was sent home with no more then a thank you and see you bright and early tomorrow.
While doing the manual labor we started doing production work. This web series “Completely Lucy” was about a young overweight girl interviewing celebrities and conducting interviews on the red carpet. The shoots they did were boring and the production value was a joke. The thing was is I was an intern. What could I say? Every time they asked for my opinion I gave them a straight up brutally honest answer and they screamed at me. I learned to keep my mouth shut and just carry on and let them make mistakes.
This carried on for months until I just couldn’t take it anymore. All I would do was go on PerezHilton.com and research gossip for this actress to read while her dad (Mind you the EP for the project) slept in his office…I saw it! I was learning nothing but how to find studs, hammer nails into walls, and set a TV up. I started sending out resumes on my own time and was at my breaking point. I was making a desk one day I told my boss I had gotten another job with a bigger company and I was going to take it. At first they said ok and had me put in my 2-week notice. Once the other boss arrived they then called me into their office and told me they wanted to start paying me. I asked how much and they said $1500/month. They told me it would be under the table (THIS IS ILLEGAL) and that they didn’t want to pay me more then everyone else who works there. Lets do the math here. 6 days a week for 12 – 15 hours a day = roughly $5.50/hour. I will let that sink in… Are you kidding??? This company was a joke. I also found out that these talent managers were getting paid the same as I was offered, all under the table! I was through.
I quit in November and have not looked back since. I did not learn a thing and was hired by people who appreciated my work ethic the next day. I am happy and a month later I researched the same company as was at. Turns out everyone quit that company slowly but surely. The sad thing is that the company I had my internship at is still recruiting hard working interns and subjecting them to pointless task aimed at getting dirty work done while the intern gets nothing. Unfortunately, there are tons of companies that do the very same thing. This has to stop and I feel like this website can be something of value for us interns to share past experiences and get us through tough times if you happen to be working at a bad internship. Thanks for reading and I hope to read your story soon!