I was in my sophomore year as a film student, attending a school that teaches a lot of great hands-on practical skills. At the end of that year, I could competently edit, shoot video, photograph, mix sound, do rigging, light the set, etc, and I was itching to put them to use.
As summer started, my professor shared that he’d heard an L.A. film crew would be shooting in our area for a few months. Thinking this would be a great opportunity to get some on-set experience, I emailed the head of the project asking for more information and asking if they needed any free help on set that could go towards an internship.
I didn’t hear back, which maybe should have been the first warning sign. Still, I thought “I really want this to happen. Why don’t I give it another shot?”
So after putting in WAY too much work, (contacting friends-of-friends of the crew) I finally get in touch with the guy I’d been trying to email, who says he didn’t receive my email. Not a big deal. I try talking to him over the phone, and we agree that he’ll give me the opportunity to work on his film project. He promises to email me more information and keep me updated and get me in touch with some people.
I send a few emails. Not one of them gets answered.
At this point, I decided to stop pestering these people. They clearly didn’t actually want me around, why keep putting effort into being in touch?
One month later, out of the blue I get an email from a random crew member I didn’t know.
Client: so um why wernt u @ the meeting yesterday
(I’m retaining the grammar/”style” of these emails; this is how these PROFESSIONALS actually communicated).
Me: I’m sorry? Nobody’s been in touch with me at all. What meeting? Where? I don’t know anything about what’s going on.
Client: But ur supposd to be here u need to be here timorrow @7 ok?
Me: Look, I really have no idea what you want me doing. I don’t have the shooting schedule, what my “job” will be, or any locations. I can’t do anything until someone tells me that.
After my response, I get this email back from the client.
Client: wow thats not what i heard and i cant believe ur lying lik this. U kno its rilly bad to flake out on this GRATE oppurnity – and u shuld be warnd I kno alot of film professinals who hate flakes llik u. i wouldnt want anythng bad to happn to ur businss but now…!!!!
I cut off the communication there. This was a legit professional with some actual credits to their name trying to threaten an a student who’d offered his services for free and then received no communications back.
I guess I did learn something about the industry on my “internship.”