Taylor Thomas: Conan & Overbook
MDIA major Taylor Thomas did a double internship with Conan and Overbook Entertainment.
Describe your internship. Where were you and what did you do?
I interned in Los Angeles for both Conan and Overbook Entertainment. At Conan, I worked in the casting department and acted as an assistant to the casting director and casting associate. In casting, I dealt mostly with the actors who came on the show for pre-taped sketches. I was responsible for making sure that all the proper paperwork had been filled out and coordinating with other departments about the sketch being filmed that day. At Overbook Entertainment [Will Smith and James Lassiter's development company] I read film/pilot scripts, provided notes, and assessed whether the potential project was suitable for a member of the Smith family (Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, or Jaden Smith).
How did you develop this internship? What advice do you have for others?
Always be patient as well as professional. I applied to both of my internships during the start of the spring semester and interviewed during March, but it wasn't until a month before the summer that I heard anything back. I heard back from the people at Conan literally a week before I started! It's a process. Both of my internships were extremely competitive. Intern coordinators rarely have the time to read everyone's resumes, so you really have to make your resume stand out by looking neat and organized. Send it to the Auburn Career Center! They helped me out tremendously. Also, apply for everything. Even if it's not something that you are particularly interested in, apply anyways. You never know who you'll meet along the way. The entertainment industry is all about who you know.
Don't be afraid to move away for your internship! I was terrified to move to LA, but at the end of the summer I dreaded leaving. There are lots of opportunities for film and TV in Atlanta and New York, however, LA is still (and will always be) the prime location. I would highly encourage anyone who wants to work in film or TV to try to get an internship in LA.
What are the most important things you learned during the internship—both inside the office and out?
My internships offered me two completely different perspectives of the entertainment industry. At Overbook, I got to see exactly how a movie is made from the very early stages, while at Conan I saw a live talk show being put together daily. My internships were amazing, but regardless of the company, interns are still at the bottom of the food chain. You may be asked to do some very tedious work, but I had to remind myself that everyone started out as an intern. People like Mindy Kaling, John Krasinski, and Ellie Kemper all interned for Conan at some point in their college careers. Everyone starts out at the bottom. The point of an internship is to make connections and further your passions by gaining real world experience. I also learned how to be a self starter. Companies are looking for interns that take initiative and do things without having to be told. They don't have the time to hold your hand and walk you through it.
What advice do you have for interns during the internship experience?
Always ask questions. Your boss would rather you ask how to do something than do it incorrectly. Be on time. Talk to everyone -- your boss, co-workers, fellow interns. Like I said, getting a job in the entertainment industry is based on who you know, so make it a priority to build relationships with everyone you meet. Be respectful. Treat your fellow interns with the same amount of respect you treat your boss. Take initiative. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. Don't wait for someone to tell you to do something. Have a positive attitude and just have fun with it, but stay professional.
Is there anything else you want to add?
Don't get discouraged during the application process. I applied to Conan five times before I ever heard back from them! Apply for everything! If you're interested in working for a network, take the time to apply for all of their internships. Write a different cover letter for everything you apply to and make adjustments to your resume so that it better fits the job description. Ask around to see if anyone you know has a connection at somewhere you want to work. Most of the internships in the entertainment industry are unpaid, but the experience you get is priceless and completely worth it.
Last Updated: July 26, 2018