Interning at a TV Studio: Channel 10 Art Director gives his advice

As part of JMC Academy’s Internship program which sees students from each course working directly in the industry, some of the Film and Television Production students have recently been interning at Channel 10.

 We chatted to Art Director John Caldwell who has been working directly with a variety of students, about how to succeed in the industry and make the most of your internship. JMC student Taj Anderson also talked to us about his internship experience working within the company. 

“I have a large pool of interns with a roster that rotates about 20 students each week and the JMC students have been of exceptional quality. Coming into the Studio (and very early mornings) with little complaint, a great attitude and a keenness to learn all things live television are just some of the ways that the students sit themselves above others.”

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“The hands-on experience with staging, lighting, cameras as well as the knowledge of how to behave when on set really sets JMC students apart. Not having to teach the basics often means that the students are given more responsibility earlier on in the program. While of course I receive a high quality of interns from other institutions I have found the JMC students to be that bit more prepared for going into a program such as ours. The program involves a diverse range of responsibilities in both pre and post-production of a daily, televised program and all JMC students have rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in. We have employed interns to be part of the team (our production Assistant is an ex-JMC student) but a lot of it is down to timing as well as hard work.”

Taj agreed, stating that “Interning at Channel Ten has been an amazing experience. Being able to be part of the team that produces such wonderful content has been a really eye opening experience to what this industry is all about. Going into this internship, I didn’t really think it was the field I wanted to work in, however I kept an open mind and discovered the joy it can bring when you accomplish the challenges and tasks it sets.” 

What can you gain from Internships?

The Studio 10 internship program is designed to expose students to the realities of TV production. “They recognise how fun it is being part of an ever-changing and exciting show but they also learn the gravity of the tasks they do with regards to the show and its broadcast. A student who is required to gather props for a segment, whilst they may find the task menial, comes to realise that they are important and a critical part of a segment that will be viewed by over 100,000 people. The students learn that even the smallest input often has a large outcome and that working on set involves being part of a greater team. The students also begin to understand the roles within the show from Stage hands, to the Directors, producers, Arts Director (myself) and even the Executive Producer. They are exposed to the often hard realities of the industry but also are presented with opportunities that may only come working with a network that is the calibre of TEN.”

“This internship has definitely given me some real, first hand experience of how hectic this industry can be. There are definitely some things that a creative arts institute can prepare you for, and having to wrangle 30 piglets in a live television studio definitely isn’t one! (This actually happened). Interns at Studio Ten are given the opportunity to perform various tasks such as sitting in the control room, managing a studio audience, setting up props for the show, and even organizing entire segments for the live show! It is obvious that this internship has given me boundless skills and experiences that will benefit my future career.” Taj commented. pigstv.jpg

What qualities are important to build a successful career in the industry?

It is very hard to define the exact qualities needed within the industry as there is such a diverse amount of jobs within it. Some of the key qualities however include:
•    Great work attitude regardless of the task
•    Perseverance
•    Initiative – very important as often decisions are made on the fly and a student should know how to respond constructively and effectively
•    Creativity
•    Presentation – If you present yourself in a professional manner, speak well, visibly work hard and show due respect to not only their peers but their supervisors you will be noticed. Everyone talks and everyone watches the movements of all on set so if an intern is hiding backstage on their phone, complaining or coming to work dressed like a slob it is noticed and will instantly affect their prospects.
•    Being able to work in a team
•    Leading when necessary but also the ability to take instruction

What advice would you give to current students?

“First impressions count. As a manager it will take me less than 5 minutes to sum you up and how I will allocate you to tasks. If you speak well, dress well and show enthusiasm to learn from the start you will go a long way. This is an industry of big personalities so knowing where you stand is also very important. Speak when you need to and don’t be afraid to do so as you will not be penalised for creativity but also understand that you are being placed alongside experienced industry professionals who will be able to provide a clever student with countless amounts of advice and insight if the student is willing to listen and be proactive. I urge current students to give their all no matter how menial or large a task as it is the attitude that will take you far alongside your talents and experience. JMC students have been exemplary thus far and seem to already be aware of these tips but I would urge students to not drop their guard or professionalism throughout the program.”

Taj also gave his advice to other students’ “If television is your passion, go for as much experience as you can get. Experience is key if you hope to one day secure employment in this industry. Always be hungry for new opportunities and make sure that you are putting yourself out there. Many of the employees at Studio Ten all started as interns, the reason why they were chosen for the job is because they made themselves known, along with having a true passion for this industry.”
 “I didn’t go into this internship anticipating on a future career in the television industry however that has definitely changed. After being able to experience first hand the process of bringing a television show to life, I would say that my mindset has definitely changed.”

Find out more about studying Film and Television Production here at JMC Academy or Apply Now

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