Intern Perspective Archives - SkEye Studios
Crafting the Ideal Internship

Crafting the Ideal Internship

We’ve all been in situations before where we felt out of the loop…

 

…completely under qualified, or just plain lost. In many ways, this is how I felt after being assigned my first main project at SkEye. The task at hand: design and create a landing page for our Millennial Marketing campaign.  Armed with a novice-level understanding of website building, and an example landing page design from SkEye’s digital media director Maggie, I timidly began my assignment. As lost as I felt at the beginning of the project, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I was able to create in the following days. There’s definitely something to be said about diving in head first without learning to swim first. At first, I was shocked by the amount of confidence the SkEye employees had in my ability to complete such an unfamiliar task. But that’s the beauty of working at SkEye: everyone has as much confidence in the interns as they do in themselves.

(You can check out the finished landing page I created for our Millennial Marketing campaign here!)

 

As someone who has aspirations to start her own business in the future…

 

…it is incredibly insightful to experience startup culture first hand. The full time employees at SkEye Studios are very intentional in their commitments to keep the work environment fun, productive, and inspiring. Every morning during our stand up meetings, each individual has the opportunity to discuss their objectives for the day and ask for any help they might need. We laugh together, eat together, fail together, and succeed together. Everyone’s opinion is welcomed, and everyone’s voice is heard. As an intern, it’s incredibly empowering to have my unique ideas taken just as seriously as the full time employees. It’s been so rewarding to join a group of individuals who genuinely want to see me succeed and are willing to support and teach without hindering my creativity by telling me exactly what to do. SkEye has given me the opportunity to be a project lead, voice my creative input, and be an active participant in the creation of digital media for clients and in-house purposes.

 

It takes a great deal of bravery to open your work to a group of strangers…

 

…and I can’t thank the SkEye team enough for their willingness to be vulnerable in welcoming us into their world. If there was one thing that was made clear from the very beginning at SkEye, it was that us interns were going to be treated as equals. Instead of viewing our level of expertise and experience as less significant than the full time SkEye team, Chris wanted to create an environment where the interns felt their unique knowledge was valued and heard. The collaborative mindset at SkEye that values everyone’s contribution is ultimately what leads to the creation of such incredible content.

In just three short weeks I’ve had the opportunity to learn new skills in videography, website development, and Adobe Creative Cloud applications. SkEye is truly an intern’s dream. Our mentors are beyond willing to help, and their enthusiasm for their work is highly contagious. I never thought I’d say this but I genuinely enjoy waking up at 6:45 every morning, and that’s only because I know each day at SkEye I will be challenged to learn something new and develop my own creative voice. I’m not sure where my future career path will lead, but I know my short time at SkEye has already made me a more knowledgeable, confident and qualified individual.

My short time at SkEye has taught me a lot about what it takes to make an internship successful. So from the perspective of a very happy intern:

 

Here are my best pieces of advice to companies designing their own intern programs.

 

 

1. Have more confidence in your interns than they have in themselves

Chances are, your interns will be hesitant to contribute at first as they question the extent of their own abilities and knowledge. If you want access to all that wonderful insight they have bottled inside, make them feel wanted and instill in them a sense of importance by involving them in important decisions and truly listening to their perspective on things. There’s nothing more encouraging as an intern than to have your voice genuinely heard.

2. Encourage exploration

Don’t make your interns be confined to their areas of study or expertise. Allow them to pursue opportunities beyond the scope of their personal knowledge if they so wish to do so. One of my favorite parts of the SkEye intern program is that opportunities are made available to all interns, regardless of our previous experience. If I want to get involved with a project that requires a skill I don’t currently have, one or more of the SkEye team members is happy to invest their own time teaching me.

3. Let your interns sit in the driver's seat

Guaranteed, your interns will be more productive (and a lot happier) if they are working on projects they are passionate about. Give them the chance to define their own parameters and listen to their own creative voice before telling them exactly what to do. Interns are way more invested when they have ownership over their own work.

4. Check in often

More than likely, if your intern is struggling, they’ll want to figure it out on their own before asking for help. People are often stubbornly resistant to ask for help, especially if they want to impress those around them. So make sure you’re having real, honest conversations about where your interns are finding success and where they could use some help. Most interns are excited to hear from a professional and would love to know what you think about what they’re doing.

Internships are awesome opportunities for students AND employers. While interns may not have the same level of knowledge or experience as full-time employees, their unique background and perspective can prove to be invaluable. So listen to your interns, empower them with opportunities they wouldn’t get elsewhere, and instill in them a new sense of confidence to pursue their dreams.

Written by Marisa Reid 

Marisa, a Junior at Gonzaga University, is one of five talented interns joining the SkEye Studios team for the summer. She is a talented writer with a big imagination for marketing and has aspirations to one day start her own company.

Learning to Befriend Failure

Learning to Befriend Failure

Through my own personal pursuit of happiness I have learned many lessons,

 

the biggest of which would be the lesson of failure and success. During my first year of college, the only thing I had figured out about myself was that photography was my sole interest. Although I had realized that, I never invested myself in bettering that skill. I went around doing what every other freshman was doing in college: going to classes, skating by with average grades, always going to meals with at least one person so that I would look less like a loner, and most of all never making a spectacle of myself. The latter of which was my own personal roadblock.  These things always seemed common as well; I could always find someone else, or a group of people for that matter, who shared that same pattern.

 

However, looking back, I was never truly happy.

 

I decided coming into college that I would try Film Production as my major, simply because it was the closest thing to photography. Later I remember being discouraged every time I went to one of my film classes, because although I was doing everything “right” and fitting in, I was never truly happy.   I never felt a sense of accomplishment because the act of “fitting in” began feeling more like a cage to my own creativity.  I was constantly haunted by my dream of being a creative because I knew that the way I was acting did not reflect where I wanted to be in the future. All of these realizations were great but the hardest part came next: turning thoughts into actions. Already having a tendency to be quiet and reserved, taking the step to figure out my own creative path was a difficult journey to begin, and one that I now know never necessarily ends.  Yet since I have taken that first initial step I have learned so many things about life that I never would have known otherwise.

1.  Transform your view of failure.

 

Failure and success are fraternal twins: similar, but can never be truly separate. If you are trying something outside of your comfort zone, then chances are the end product isn’t going to be groundbreaking. Being a bit of perfectionist, this topic is something that I’ve been working on for a few years now. I can’t tell you how many times fear of failure has held me back in my life: choosing not to do something or letting great opportunities pass me by. The mental strain of not chasing after my passions finally brought me to the conclusion that I would feel more like a failure if I didn’t just try, then if I did and my worst fears about the situation came true (which they never do). I want to live a life full of adventure and new experiences, meeting new people and hopefully getting paid for something I love doing.

But in order for that to happen, I can’t always been thinking about how many people might come against me, or try to plan for every obstacle I might come across before I even take a step forward. If you have an idea just go for it and see what happens.  If it fails then it fails, but no matter what, you will have learned something from that experience.  Along with this lesson, I’ve definitely learned to have grace with myself and with the process of moving towards my dreams.  Don’t get so self-critical to the point of never attempting anything creative because the potential for failure will always be there, and the end product will never look exactly how you imaged whether it be better or worse. It’s just a matter of re-defining failure itself to truly overcome that.

2.     Don’t be afraid to lean on others.

 

As an independent person like myself, I used to think of dependence upon others as an inherently bad thing to do; always stealing the accomplishment away from me because “I couldn’t figure out how to do it myself”.  While being independent will get you new opportunities and experiences that will grow your career, knowing the correct way of leaning on others is a valuable skill.  Find someone whose opinion you trust and relationship you value.  Whether it’s a co-worker, friend, sibling, parent, etc. these people are the ones who will know how to give constructive feedback as well as support for what you are pursuing.

A part of me wishes I could say that I was able to get to where I am today all by myself, but that would be a complete lie.  As an overly self-critical person, I wouldn’t have known how to make the first jump of “creative failure” without the family and friends who were there encouraging me to keep taking steps forward instead of back.  Accepting the fact that no one can get anywhere strictly by themselves is a key aspect to any goal you’re trying to accomplish.

3.      You have to believe in yourself.

 

Looking back on all of this advice is great, but applying it to your own life is where things get tricky, and ultimately where I always fell short. Honestly, I needed all of these lessons and encouragement to be reiterated to me hundreds of times before they stuck and I could begin to identify with them within my own life.  They aren’t easy transitions at all, but the beauty of it comes from the unique ways the process will grow you as an individual. That is how it all works.

To take these first steps, you have to believe in yourself, but the end result will always turn out slightly different from everyone else’s story.  Learning to trust yourself and your vision will keep you on the right path no matter how many times you feel like you’re failing miserably.  If you don’t trust yourself and what you feel your vision for life is, then you’ll never be able to trust the process that your vision will take you on.

 

All this being said…

No one will be able to figure out your journey to success for you. It’s something that you personally have to figure out, which can be both daunting and exciting. However if you muster enough courage for everyday to potentially face failure and choose not to be dragged down by it, then your efforts will soon be rewarded; maybe by something you never expected or imaged. Most importantly, I can tell you that if you’re at least trying to figure things out or take a step forward, your life will never be boring.

 

Written by Jessica Holder 

Jessica, a Junior at George Fox University, is one of five talented interns joining the SkEye Studios team for the summer. She is a gifted photographer with extraordinary videography skills, and hopes to become an expert in the craft of camera and editing.

It Takes Time

It Takes Time

Sometimes I have my doubts during my drive towards the internship.

 

It will be 6:50 a.m and I’ll find myself sandwiched between the pack of cars on one of the four freeways I use to get to the studio: all the cars continually carrying the red light of a stop-and-go morning.  My mood will be fine until the turn reveals even more taillights, and not just a short span but a long one, disappearing over the horizon, like soldiers of a gigantic medieval army marching three-wide home.

The radio reveals that some idiot at 6:10 a.m. forgot to put on the brake because he or she was too busy refreshing Twitter.  And then that car bumped the next, and the next, and then eventually there came to exist this four car pileup along the left side of the freeway, completely set apart from the open lanes—and, yet, there’s still traffic because everyone has to stop and gawk at the dummies in the pileup.  It is during these times that I know my drive time has doubled to an hour and a half.

Throughout all this, I’m debating about taking the nearest exit and plugging down a back road because I cannot stand the soporific tug and pull, accelerating and decelerating, of this situation at hand; this near standard 7 a.m. traffic jam.  I cannot help thinking that almost 25-percent of my time at this internship is spent slouching in my car seat (and slowly developing that quiet, patient demeanor of one-who-drives-too-much. I used to be angry when someone cut me in line at the Qdoba, but now I just wave with a laugh, “Nah, dude, no problem I’ll get my burrito eventually.”).

 

Like I said, sometimes I have my doubts about this internship.

 

The overriding question is, “Is the drive worth it?” At the studio, I’m learning Basecamp and Toggling my hours, gaining experience with a Canon 5D and Panasonic GH4, editing photos and video on a time crunch, communicating with clients, and problem solving with experienced industry professionals in the field I want to work in when I graduate.  Last week, I sifted through 34 hard drives and created a dynamic excel spreadsheet in order to visualize what the video data is and where it is at.  I am not knee deep, I’m up to my neck in the profession I hope to jump into.

So is it worth it?

 

On a basic level, analyzing the minute daily-tasks, the answer is yes: I’m gaining knowledge and experience that I would not have gotten at home nor doing part-time work at a public golf course.  Last summer, I interned at a different production studio. While the connections and friendships I made at that studio were great, the daily tasks compared to the ones here at SkEye were straight up terrible.

One knows a standard internship after shredding documents for three hours in a darkened basement and standing as a watchman for seven hours on shoot days on the farthest reaches of the set.  I don’t blame my previous internship; they are huge, highly experienced, and when under the stress of a two-day TV episode shoot schedule, it takes a lot of attention to delineate meaningful tasks to the lowly interns.  Last summer’s internship gained value after it had ended, when I got to work on teams for film slams and competitions with the staff at the company.

SkEye Studios, on the other hand, has both the leadership and size to allow for an incredible internship experience (go Chris!).

 

It is hands-on.  I have been doing relevant work from day one.  Furthermore, thinking big picture, this internship for me as a student is a link to the professional world.  It is a launching ground for success in my career. Coincidentally, the SkEye name fits.

Lately, the drive to work has been great.  When I began, I took the drive as a burden. An hour and a half? I felt oddly guilty, as if I could have done something more productive for that time (sleep?) and I was wasting it.  After a few weeks, I began to take it as a personal sacrifice.  The drive, I thought, was necessary for becoming who I set out to be.  Yes, while it is about 25-percent of my time on the internship, I am learning.  Just to have the chance to operate the equipment the studio uses is enough to make that drive worth it. This is the second stage of my “driving mentality,” and I was satisfied with it.

However, that mentality evolved.  It bugged me that I was sacrificing so much time.

 

Like a baker who can still complain about the time it takes for bread to rise or an athlete who can be bothered by the soreness in his or her body, I was still frustrated with the meaninglessness of that hour and a half period between my home and the studio.  My hands were sore from drumming the wheel.  The songs on the radio were the same top 40 repeats with the addition of one Adele song.  And I could hear my heartbeat.

I have begun to take the morning drive as a blessing. While partly affected by my recent addiction to podcasts, TED talks, and audiobooks, I can honestly say that the drive has given me time for quality reflection. As a senior in college, reflection is important. Though necessary in every stage of life, the boundary between academia and the adult world is the most important period in my life for me to contemplate who I am, who I want to be, and where I want go. The drive is no longer a sacrifice. It is necessary.

So, in short, with the knowledge and experience I am gaining at the internship and the reflecting in the car, is the drive worth it? Yes.

 

(Or I could be totally deceived and this is all me operating under the guise of Stockholm syndrome. Or developing a Sisyphean attitude.)

 

Written by Evan Olson 

Evan, a senior at Gonzaga University,  is one of five talented interns joining the SkEye Studios team for the summer. He is a brilliant storyteller, both in writing and photography, and has future aspirations to work in the line of creative media.