Emerson Los Angeles

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. When can I begin the process of searching for an internship?
  2. When is the orientation for the Los Angeles Program and where is it held?
  3. How do I find an internship?
  4. What criteria should I use in my selection process?
  5. Is there a limit on how many sites I may select from the eHire internship database?
  6. How will I know if my choices are good ones?
  7. When should I send an email to my advisor?
  8. Does my advisor want any other information about me?
  9. How do I apply for an internship?
  10. How soon should I send my cover letter/resume to intern sites?
  11. I need help with my cover letter and resume. What do I do?
  12. What do I do if the intern supervisor calls me back?
  13. What do I do if no one responds to my cover letter/resume?
  14. Can I set up my own internship at a site not currently listed on the LA Center internship database?
  15. Do I have any other paperwork to complete once I secure the internship?
  16. Are there academic assignments involved in the internship class?
  17. How many hours can I work at the intern site and for how long?
  18. Can I intern for longer hours if I want to?
  19. How many credits can I receive for an internship?
  20. Can I do two internships?
  21. Can I expect to get paid?
  22. Can I expect to intern in production on a film set?
  23. Should I focus on the big-name companies?
  24. The company where I want to intern asks for a letter verifying that I'm enrolled for academic credit. What do I do?
  25. Do you know of specific internships that are more likely to lead to a job?

1. When can I begin the process of searching for an internship?

Every student should follow the schedule on the Internship Timeline for their semester program. This document will be handed out at the Mandatory Information Session for Los Angeles students. The semester before your attendance, you will be given access to the LA database listings. You should not request information about specific intern sites until you have attended the mandatory information session.

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2. When is the Information Session held for students accepted to the Los Angeles Program?

Students who have been accepted to the program and paid their deposit will receive an email informing them of the date, time and place for the mandatory information session.  Information sessions for accepted students will be held the semester prior to your arrival in Los Angeles.  Information sessions for summer and fall enrollments are held in February and March. Information sessions for spring enrollments are held in October.  During the 2-hour meeting you will have the chance to meet with the Los Angeles Internship and Resident Directors to ask questions about the program, including the process of finding an internship.  Documents will be handed out containing specific program information, dates and deadlines to follow.  Attendance at the info session is mandatory and you cannot participate in the program without attending an information session. 

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3. How do I find an internship?

There are two ways that you may find an internship: the Emerson eHire Database (accessible through the LA Program website and the Hot Site Lists that are sent to all incoming students.  You must create a student profile in the Emerson eHire system, which includes creating your own username and password.  Once you have created your student profile and you have been accepted into the LA Program, you will receive access to the LA internship information in the system approximately two months prior to your attendance in the LA Program.

You may browse the internship database by keyword, organization name, industry, position type, major, category or classification.  The Hot Site Lists will be e-mailed to you over the course of weeks prior to your arrival in LA. Hot Site Lists contain information that we wish to highlight for the coming semester. They include internships that are new, popular with students, or are frequently requested.  This is why it is extremely important to have a working e-mail address! Remember that we use your Ec-mail account!

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4. What criteria should I use in my selection process?

Your selections should reflect your academic major, your production and work experience, and your future career plans. Remember that the industry is very departmentalized and you cannot do everything. For example, you should distinguish between film and television and the various departments within each (development, set design, editing, audio, marketing, etc.). By choosing selectively and thoughtfully, you will save yourself a lot of stress. Also, contrary to popular belief, it will not hurt your future career plans if you limit your search to a specific area of interest.

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5. Is there a limit on how many sites I may select from the eHire internship database?

While there is no limit to the number of sites you may select from the eHire database, we would recommend narrowing your search to 8 to 10 sites that you are MOST interested in.  Your choices should reveal some consistency and focus. There is no limit to the amount of internships you may select from the Hot Site Lists. But in total you should limit your applications to 8-10 intern sites that MOST resemble what you are looking for.  There is no need to send out dozens of applications for internships.

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6. How will I know if my choices are good ones?

When you email your advisor for contact information,  he or she will advise you on your choices and perhaps suggest some alternatives, if need be. The Career Services Office has copies of student evaluations of intern sites from previous semesters. You should also go online to see if the companies that interest you have websites.

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7. When should I send an email to my advisor?

During the information session in Boston, we will assign students their advisors. Generally, students whose last names begin with A–L are advised by Kerri McManus and those whose last names begin with M–Z are advised by Larry Caldwell. You may email your advisor with any questions after the information session in Boston. We can make alternative suggestions for internships if the ones you selected are not available for any reason. If you wish to set up a phone meeting to discuss other issues, please let us know via email.

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8. Does my advisor want any other information about me?

Yes, it helps if we know your major and a little about your background. Please do not send your resumes. Just a few sentences about your academic background, your production experience, and future goals help determine a suitable placement. All internships are open to all majors. However, it does not make sense for an audio major to intern at a film development office because it really would not suit her/his background and interests.

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9. How do I apply for an internship?

Each internship opportunity in the eHire database provides the appropriate contact information and details regarding how best to apply for the internship.  Usually you e-mail or fax your cover letter and resume to the intern supervisor. You should follow-up with a phone call (whenever possible) to make sure the contact person received your application. If you have not heard back from an intern supervisor after two follow-up phone calls, move on to the next site.

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10. How soon should I send my cover letter/resume to intern sites?

View the Internship Timeline for your semester for the answer to this question.  Very few intern sites have early submission deadlines, which we notify you about. However, the vast majority will not respond to your application until a few weeks before your arrival.

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11. I need help with my cover letter and resume. What do I do?

You should attend a resume writing workshop at the Career Services Center the semester before your attendance at the LA Center.  You are REQUIRED to have your cover letter and resume completed before you arrive in Los Angeles.  Contact the Career Services Office for information and assistance with your cover letter and resume. Emerson LA does not provide this service.

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12. What do I do if the intern supervisor calls me back?

Great! They’re interested! Tell them that you would like to set up an interview during the first week you will be in Los Angeles. Schedule an interview for a date after your move-in day. Once you arrive in Los Angeles, you should call back the intern supervisor and confirm the appointment. Do not accept an internship over the phone. Always interview first. Please note: DO NOT schedule an interview during the second mandatory ORIENTATION held in Los Angeles. The LA Orientation is held in the Oakwood Apartment Clubhouse at 4:00 pm the day after you check in.

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13. What do I do if no one responds to my cover letter/resume?

Contact your internship advisor, Kerri McManus or Larry Caldwell. We can give you additional contact information. But before we do, you must have done the following things: called the intern supervisor to check that he/she received your application, given the supervisor a reliable phone number where you could be reached, and clearly indicated when you planned to arrive in LA in your cover letter.

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14. Can I set up my own internship at a site not currently listed on the LA Center internship database?

Yes, but you must contact your Internship Advisor to make sure the internship meets our approval. We will call the intern supervisor and discuss the internship guidelines of the LA Program.

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15. Do I have any other paperwork to complete once I secure the internship?

Yes, you must complete the LEARNING AGREEMENT, which you will receive during orientation in Los Angeles along with your student handbook. The Learning Agreement is a contract between the student, the intern supervisor, the professor for the internship course, and the LA Center. The Learning Agreement is due two and a half weeks after your arrival if you are attending the fall or spring program; one week and a half after arrival if you are attending the summer program.

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16. Are there academic assignments involved in the internship class?

Yes, the concept of this program is to fully integrate theory and practice. So there is an academic component to the internship course. You will be assigned a professor and you will meet as a class three times during the semester. You will be required to complete an essay for your Learning Agreement, turn in weekly journals, and complete a final project. The final project usually evolves from your internship experience; for example, you may complete a portfolio of some of the work you did at your intern site with an additional creative piece (such as a script treatment).

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17. How many hours can I work at the intern site and for how long?

Fall and Spring Students
For 4 units of internship credit, you must intern 16 hours per week.
For 8 units of internship credit, you must intern 24–32 hours per week.

Summer Students
For 4 units of internship credit, you must intern 20–24 hours per week.
For 8 units of internship credit, you must intern 32–36 hours per week.

The student and the intern supervisor will decide how to schedule those hours. Fall and spring program students have two weeks maximum to find an internship after arrival.  Summer program students have one week to find an internship after arrive.  You must remain at the intern site for the ENTIRE SEMESTER. You may not leave early, take a non-school holiday vacation, or work additional hours per week so that you can conclude the internship before the semester ends.

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18. Can I intern for longer hours if I want to?

There are many reasons why we do not recommend working longer than the required hours. Your Learning Agreement stipulates the specific hours you can intern per credit unit. You are not receiving academic credit for any additional hours, so technically the site would be in violation of the minimum wage laws if you did. We will discuss the other problems with interning additional hours at the orientation. 

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19. How many credits can I receive for an internship?

Students may intern at ONE intern site for 4 or 8 units of credit ONLY.

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20. Can I do two internships?

Yes, but only on a case-by-case basis.  Previous experience has shown that students are often overwhelmed by such a commitment.  It is best to put your energy into one good internship and stay focused!  Also some companies do not approve of students interning at two sites because of confidentiality issues and competition between production companies.

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21. Can I expect to get paid?

No, intern sites are not required by law to compensate students with wages as long as the interns are enrolled for academic credit. Very few intern sites pay interns. However, many will provide a free lunch, a small stipend, and gas money for an occasional errand.

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22. Can I expect to intern in production on a film set?

This is not a realistic expectation. That does not mean that students have never worked on a film set through the LA Program. They have. But it’s usually a combination of luck and timing. Film productions do not necessarily correspond with the semester system. Many films are shot on location, not in LA. And as an intern, you are not an employee and therefore not bonded, insured, or a member of a union. That makes it tough to get on a film set. On the other hand, television/video production is more readily available for “on set” internships.

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23. Should I focus on the big-name companies?

Many students have the mistaken notion that well-known companies will look better on their resume. But that’s just not the case. People in Hollywood are more concerned with WHAT you’ve done than WHERE you have done it. Often smaller companies offer many more opportunities and experiences for an intern, whereas a larger company may place you in a specific department and limit your exposure to other areas of interest.

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24. The company where I want to intern asks for a letter verifying that I'm enrolled for academic credit. What do I do?

We will provide you with a letter of verification but not until the first week of classes, so that we know you are officially enrolled in the internship course and you have agreed to that specific internship.

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25. Do you know of specific internships that are more likely to lead to a job?

We have no internships that will “guarantee” an intern a job at the conclusion of the semester. California law specifically states that unpaid internships must be part of an educational curriculum and that students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of training. Your reward for completing the internship course is academic credit from Emerson College. However, there is no better way to receive hands-on knowledge, meet people who might help you in your future career, and become acquainted with the Hollywood entertainment industry than through an internship in Los Angeles.

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