Hello Animation Lovers!
Internship season is around the corner so I thought it might be fun to give the readers of Cartoon Brew a sneak peek at my book, How to Get an Animation Internship, where I share my knowledge and advice to those interested in pursuing an internship in animation. During your internship your idea will also slowly transformed the way concept artist think.
My name is Eric Bravo and as a senior at UC Davis about ready to graduate, I decided to stay another year to pursue the entertainment industry and was lucky enough to land three studio internships. In my super senior year, I got to intern at Warner Bros. Records in the International Marketing department, Nickelodeon Animation Studios in the Vault department, and Dreamworks Animation Studios on the movie, Penguins of Madagascar. I seized the opportunity at Nickelodeon and went from being an intern to a creator and writer of my very own cartoon short, The Outsiders. I also had the opportunity to interview with other amazing companies, such as Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Live Nation.
From applying, interviewing, and participating in these internship programs, I’ve gathered some tips and insight from recruiters and past interns that might prove helpful in bettering your chances when applying to animation internships. Having experienced first-hand the lack of information out there on how to gain an animation internship, I started an animation blog The Storyboard Room, where I provide advice to college students on pursuing the animation internship. After being inundated with questions, I decided to write this book to answer the common questions and give my personal advice on landing an animation internship.
In this book, you’ll find all of my knowledge and years of experience laid out for you to use as a blueprint. You’ll get a “behind the scenes” look as I interview industry professionals who interned at major animation studios such as Nickelodeon, Dreamworks, Walt Disney, Cartoon Network, Laika, and Industrial Light & Magic, as they discuss the successes and failures getting their internships. The book also contains helpful tips and insightful knowledge from recruiters, including what animation studios look for in an intern.
How to Get an Animation Internship also includes all of my resumes and cover letters that got me each and every one of my internships so you can see first-hand what studios look for. In addition, I provide a resume template to inspire the design of your resume to make it look professional and clean.
Below is a brief overview of what I go over in the book. This should start you on the right path to landing an internship at your dream studio.
Your cover letter is your first impression. In your cover letter, you should convey a bit of your personality, but still keep it professional. You’ll want to include:
- Who Is It Addressed To (“Dear Nickelodeon Animation Studios:”)
- Who You Are (name, school, background information)
- What Position You Are Applying To And Why
- How You And Your Experience Is A Good Fit For The Position
Your cover letter is also your chance to prove that you are able to communicate well in writing, a skill highly valuable as you’ll need to take great notes.
Join a Club or Organization
If you are hesitant to apply because you believe you don’t have enough or any experience in the animation industry, join a club or organization at your school. I really wanted to break into the music industry and had no experience in that field whatsoever, so I volunteered for my college radio and put that on my resume, which showed I was doing something music related. Apply this to the animation industry. Join an animation club, and if there aren’t any, start one!
Apply to Entertainment Studios
Even though you have your heart set on working in the animation field, as an intern, you have the special power to jump from industry to industry. If you have been applying to an internship at Pixar or Cartoon Network and have not been accepted, try applying to internships in the music or film industry at Warner Bros. or Lionsgate. Your current skills and experience might be a better fit for another industry. Once you have a major studio on your resume, no matter the industry it is, it will open more doors and help you land internships at other major studios, including animation studios. I used this method. After my internship at Warner Bros. Records in the music industry, I was able to get interviews at various animation studios just because I had Warner Bros. on my resume.
Be Willing to Relocate
If you want something bad enough, you have to be willing to sacrifice some things. If you want to break into the industry and are not fortunate enough to live in the Los Angeles area, you have to be willing to relocate. During my internship with Nickelodeon, I had fellow interns who came all the way from Illinois and New York for the unpaid internship (Nickelodeon is now a paid internship).
I know this is not easy and can take a cut in your savings, but there are some ways to keep your cost low. For example, you can find yourself a sublet for your current apartment and use that money to rent a spot in Los Angeles. If you are accepted to an internship program and faced with this dilemma, just keep one thing in mind when weighing your options: don’t let school get in the way of your education!
If your phone interview goes well and if the recruiter invites you to an on-site interview, expect there to be around two to three rounds of interviewing lasting up to two or more separate days, depending how you do in each round. During these interviews, you are usually meeting with various employees from different productions. What they are looking for is to see if and where your personality fits and with which production or department.
Even though it’s the animation industry and everyone is pretty casual, you should still dress to impress. Not only does this apply when interviewing for the internship, but also while you’re interning at the studio. These internships are the longest job interview you’ll ever have and by dressing sharp, you’ll stand out and will be remembered.
During my internship at Nickelodeon, an executive saw me dressed up in slacks, a button up and a tie and complimented my attire. Definitely not a bad person to impress.
Be An Off-Season Intern
Most students apply for internships during the summer, which makes these programs very competitive, especially for the highly sought out studios. If you want to better your chances, apply during the off-seasons (Fall/Spring semester) and take some classes at your college during the summer instead. All of my internships were either during Fall or Spring semester.
I remember I applied to Warner Bros. Records for the Summer program and did not hear back from them. I then re-applied for the Fall program without changing a thing on my resume, and I received three interviews all in various departments. With that being said however, still apply every chance you get! You might be the lucky one who gets into the summer program.