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As a recent graduate, I'm about to submit a couple applications working as an intern at an audio post facility and at a production company. Both do not specify length of time. I assume the quality of my work as an intern would ultimately define that. But I was wondering if three months was the average amount of time before one is considered for employment (if available). It's not for school credit and I'm sure there are labor laws that also limit or even prohibit how long I can work or what I can do without pay (but that's perhaps a long discussion for another time).

If no steady paying jobs come by, my goal is to snag one or both internships while commuting from my parents home. I'm just wondering how long these usually run.

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I've been interning at a studio for three months now and my time is up. But I'm being put on a waiting list to start as a General Assistant as soon as a spot opens. (They seem to think it will take a year) After meeting people that have done internships in numerous studios I've found that most last about three months and every now and then you can come across some that last six months.

If they like you and don't have a spot open for a little while you can ask to stay on for another month or so, depending on the studio and if they like you. If so, they'll let you stay until a spot becomes available.

In the mean time while interning do work for free and just odd jobs for people that need things done (great ways to network) or things for yourself. Sometimes the studios even let you use their space and equipment for your own work if nothings booked!

Hope that was a good enough answer. Good luck!

JM

  • Tha was helpful. Thanks, JM. I just needed to get a better understanding of my options at this time. – Hubert Campbell Jun 30 '10 at 4:21
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I think it depends on the situation. There are internships that you can prove yourself and quality of your work in 15 days, whereas there are some where you will not have the chance in 3 months.

This is up to you because internship is not all about proving yourself to get a job, but gain experience which will establish a solid foundation for any future project. This experience not only involves sound design but also networking, budgetary considerations and person-person interactions. These are really hard-to-gain experiences in the school, and usually only practiced when you are in the real world.

When you think you got everything that you can get from that place experience-wise, and still not paid, sit at the table to talk about money. Actually if you are really qualified, this will happen before you think about it.

We frequently hear some horror stories about internships but do not be scared. Companies have up and running human resources systems and their projects are never based on temporary employees (interns). So it is really hard for a company to take advantage of your services/talents before you recognize it.

Just go out there, be brave and bold, learn as much as you can, be nice to people and never lose your passion that you had in the first day.

Best of luck.

Internship is like forbidden fruit. Some think it is evil and manipulative, some think it is the beginning of some beautiful things.

  • You're welcome Malvicus. It is an interesting industry and it is really hard to predict what's gonna happen. You never know until you see it by yourself. Good luck! – Selcuk Can Guven Jun 30 '10 at 18:47
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Chances are, any "unpaid internship" might technically violate labor laws. Of course, if you feel that it offers really valuable experience, I assume you'd be willing to overlook that.

There's no strict test as to when an "internship" transforms into employment. However, if you're essentially doing the same work that paid employees do, you're basically an unpaid employee.

However, if you're doing work that nobody would pay you to do, and the experience is clearly structured to be educational and instructional, with little to no direct economic benefit to the employer (besides the possibility of having a well-trained employee to hire in the future), it's probably an internship.

  • Correct. At least in the US, if you're doing any work on anything which is a for-profit company project (e.g. asked to cut the Foley as an assistant, or help prep the OMF), then it does indeed violate labor laws. – Stavrosound Apr 9 '12 at 6:54

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