http://firelightmedia.tv/

Firelight Media, Inc.

Documentary film production intern

June - August 2019 • New York City, NY

What I liked

Firelight Films is a small production company so I was able to witness most aspects of both documentary production and the function of a business relatively intimately. The staff was super friendly and open to answering questions about anything whether it had to do with a specific project or the industry in general. Specifically, I was able to attend a Q&A with the producer of Strong Island, an autobiographical documentary about a transgender man's brother who was shot and killed by a white man who was never convicted in Long Island, which was an invaluable experience. I was only able to do so because the company was small but extremely prestigious with connections throughout the entire documentary film industry, specifically by and for people of color. The fact that the company had a specific mission and was very successful within its purpose made it a worthwhile place to spend a summer. Additionally, all of the interns spent everyday together at one table, so I was able to connect with them and learn about different college experiences and where they planned to take their career or interests. It's super valuable to bounce ideas off of other college students, particularly ones who don't go to Wesleyan and have different perspectives.

What I wish was different

The internship itself was pretty unorganized. I was assigned the same task everyday, so I wasn't able to develop a range of skills, but rather just one. I wish that there had been a rotation of tasks so that all of the interns were able to be exposed to the different steps involved in filmmaking.

Advice

I would say that the most valuable thing I got out of the internship was the relationships I gained and the network I created. I got lunch with my supervisor on my last day and she shared so many personal stories about her experience at this company in particular and in her past jobs in the industry, expressing both criticisms and appreciations. At a summer internship in which you aren't required to have pre-requisite experience, your work is (more often than not) disposable/not extremely necessary. Thus, one of the most lucrative things you can do, particularly at a small company, is to tap into the advice that the experts have. It would be a waste of time to be in a space with so many accomplished and well-rounded people and to neglect the knowledge and advice they can offer.
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