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.