Tabitha Wietstruk: Turner
I had the opportunity to Intern with Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. If you should know one thing about Turner, it’s the culture and experience that makes it an outstanding and competitive company to work for. Turner Broadcasting owns and operates some the biggest brands around the world, including: Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, TCM (Turner Classic Movies), Turner Sports, CNN and so on!
My experience at Turner was great, yet unique. I was the first Scenic Services Intern they’ve had in five years; I was also the only woman working in Scenic Services. As a Scenic Intern, my duties included set installs and strikes, print graphic production, painting, scenery construction and working with hand, power and pneumatic tools – which I had no experience in. Luckily, at Turner, if you can prove you have a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, they may just hire you.
I had many opportunities to work on sets and in a shop environment. I helped install sets for TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz, Alicia Malone and Leonard Maltin, I got to be a stagehand for Shaqtin’-a-fool (yes, I met Shaquille O’Neal; yes, he called me little mama), NBA on TNT (yes, I met Charles Barkley – War Eagle!) and a TruTV game show that aired this summer, Paid Off with Michael Torpey – where I also helped build props! I also helped with the rebuild of the ELEAGUE set, the install of NCAA Fast Break and so on. I could go on about all of the amazing shows I worked on and people I met.
When internship application time came around, I applied for everything. Don’t do that. Turner actually keeps track of how many internships and jobs you apply for and review the trends in your searches – sneaky! I saw the internship for Scenic Services and just that day helped the AU Theatre Department with set painting; I thought, “I could do this.” I was completely shocked when I got an interview – and then a follow up interview! I was honestly so proud that I had gotten all of this on my own.
I’d say, if you want to work for Turner, make sure you’re applying for similar jobs within the company (and no more than 100 applications!). Make sure you meet at least 90% of the requirements and posses the preferred skillsets – if you don’t, find a way to do so! There are many organizations to have a hand in on campus! I put in the time to develop my skills by dedicating time towards Eagle Eye TV, WEGL, an on campus job that allowed me to enhance my video editing skills, and volunteering as a PA for student productions. (Granted I worked in a shop, but there were only three requirements: Production, Broadcast or Communications background, Desire to learn more and a Positive attitude – I met 100% of these requirements, so I applied.)
Once you get into your internship, don’t be afraid to ask questions. They understand that you’re there to learn. I’d rather have a correct answer than do something wrong. Make sure at the end of the day you write down everything you did. Not only will this help with the Midterm and Final (right, Ric?), it’ll be great information to have when you’re writing a cover letter or updating your resume. Be productive! You DO NOT want to be the intern that everyone complains about. Ask your supervisor for additional tasks. If there’s not an abundance of work to do, don’t sit around. There were moments when I had nothing to do; if my supervisor didn’t have anything else for me to do, I reached out to co-workers to teach me more about set building or to teach me the programs they used for scheduling freelancers and payroll! I also used my free time and lunch hour to shadow people in other departments so I could make those connections. This is the time to network.
Turner is a competitive company. You have to prove you want to be there.
Most recently, I was asked to come back as a Freelancer. I helped paint the UEFA set for Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Last Updated: September 20, 2018