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Intern Insider: Anderson's two internships provide varied LA experience

Here’s a fun fact about junior media arts & entertainment major Will Anderson in his own words: “I was that little dork sitting at home on his computer as a junior in high school following the Elon in LA blog. Now it’s cool to be here blogging about my own experiences. Elon in LA is the reason I was even sold on considering Elon, to be honest.”

Will Anderson '13

Anderson, as you may have deduced, is spending his summer in Los Angeles with the Elon in LA program. He’s interning at two companies—Panavision and Smuggler Films—and generally soaking up an LA experience he’s been looking forward to for four years.

Anderson has been with Panavision since he arrived in LA in early June, but he picked up the internship with Smuggler later in the month. At Panavision, Anderson first worked in the shipping department, where he helped pull equipment that cameramen needed for music videos, commercials or feature films. Now, he’s working the prep tech floor and shadowing a Panavision employee to see how they work with camera operators.

The Panavision internship is perfect for Anderson, a burgeoning director of photography, because he gets to learn more about high-end cameras and equipment.

“Panavision’s been great,” Anderson says. “It’s definitely a learning process because everyone there knows so much more than I do, and it’s stuff I would never learn at school. I’m learning a lot of important skills that are really important to the area that I want to go into. I’m finding my niche and learning skills I’ll need as an aspiring cinematographer.”

The Smuggler internship is fresher at the moment. So far, Anderson has been asked to compile, log, label and store images of past film locations. He wanted a second internship with a production company, he says, because it would offer a different perspective.

“I wanted to work at a production company, specifically, so I could understand what a production is like from beginning to end,” he says.

It’s appropriate, then, that, just as Anderson is dabbling in two different sides of the movie-making business, he would grab both internships through disparate means. Panavision was borne because of the Elon network. He met Communications alumna Lauren Gadd ’06 at an Elon Homecoming alumni wisdom session and sparked up a conversation.

Gadd talked to him about her employment at Panavision and eventually passed on his information to a contact there. In the middle of the spring semester, Anderson contacted Panavision and was told he was a wanted man at the organization.

“I took that as a yes, but not as a 100 percent,” Anderson says.

Anderson followed up every month, and a few weeks before he came to LA he was more officially offered the internship.

The Smuggler experience, though, arose through the simplest of methods: calling and applying. Anderson contacted about 15 production companies, and Smuggler was one of two that responded to his calls. He interviewed and got it.

Anderson says the Elon in LA courses he took before leaving for Los Angeles, his Digital Media Convergence class and the Winter Term Communications Fellows Sundance Film Festival trip all helped get him up to speed for his summer in LA. Now, he’s hoping the Panavision internship will give him an in-depth understanding of cameras, and Smuggler will help him grasp the planning behind a full-scale production.

Anderson says he knew before coming to LA, though, that he wanted two dissimilar internships. In fact, he urges any student interested in the Elon in LA program to considering looking for a pair of internships.

“I really wanted to take advantage of being able to have two internships,” Anderson says. “I would encourage anyone who does this program in the future to take advantage of that. I’m excited to experience two completely different types of work in the entertainment industry.”

Colin Donohue,
7/21/2011 11:08 AM