About Being a Warner Bros. Intern
Design work here by Rebecca Russ as part of her internship at Warner Bros.
Recently DCA certificate student Rebecca Russ wrapped up a rewarding internship at Warner Brothers Records. She started in the video department then moved to the art department. I asked her a few questions about her experience and asked her advice for others seeking an internship. Anything I didn't cover? Please let me know as Rebecca is happy to answer your questions, too. Just leave a comment.
How did you find and land this internship?
I had Masaki (Koike) for my design fundamentals class which was a really good fit for me. At the end of the quarter he gave us each a book that he thought might be a field we would go into. Mine was a book on graphic design and music - something I had never considered before that. A couple of quarters later I decided I wanted to do an internship, and I started looking at companies that I might want to work for.
The first thing I did was make cold calls to see if anyone needed interns, but that didn't get me very far. I also asked around to my friends. I had a good friend who had worked for a company that did merch for bands and they needed an intern but not for graphic design. But that got me thinking about how much I love music and would love to be a part of that industry. I have a friend who does A&R for Warner Brothers Records who I asked to find out if they needed any interns. He looked into it and I ended up interning for the video department for a quarter. Eventually the art department saw my work and asked me to stay on for another quarter with them.
Did they quiz you on your music taste?
Not really. They ask you to take a survey before you start, but no one I worked with ever asked about what kind of music I liked. There were a few perks though... they did have a music closet that you can go into and get cds of almost any of their artists, and I got to go to a concert for free, and meet a few artists.
What did you learn in this internship?
This internship was invaluable for me. I came into this from a different field and had no idea how it all worked. Not only did I learn about graphic design, I learned about the music industry. I started in the video department and it wasn't really the right fit for me. I did learn a lot about what goes on behind the scenes of a music video, and I was lucky enough to design some things for some of the artist's internet videos. But it wasn't until I was asked to continue on in the art department that I really learned more of the ins and outs of a working graphic designer.
I was also very lucky because they prided themselves on the fact that I wouldn't be getting coffee and that they would put me to work. Once in the art department, I learned what it takes to get something approved. How many revisions a design really goes through. General things like, professionalism and working in an office setting. I also learned about the caliber of artists that are working professionally. I was so impressed by the people who surrounded me. There really are some talented people out there and I hope to one day be as good as them. And I feel more ready to step into the workplace now that I've experienced being a part of it.
What recommendations do you have for other students looking for an internship?
First, use all your resources to really get an internship where you want to be. Don't settle. Internships are a lot of work, and you want to be happy wherever you are putting your time in. Ask around, I guarantee you know someone who can help you, or someone who knows someone else.
Once you get the internship, work as hard as you can. Stay late, come early offer to come in on other days just to help out. You can't go into it hoping to just sail by and be noticed. You have to work really really hard, and people will remember you. Also, meet as many people as you can while you are there. You never know when someone will need a designer or might recommend you. And, finally, ask questions. There's a fine line between looking like you don't know what you're doing and learning. Everyone is willing to teach.
What were you able to apply in that role from your coursework in DCA?
I was amazed at how much my coursework in the DCA program helped prepare me for my internship. Almost every class helped me in some way, but I'll just name a few. In design fundamentals we had to create a design of our initials. I can't tell you how many times something similar to that came up. Also, both typography and advanced typography really put me ahead of a lot of people. Just knowing different fonts and how letters and words fit together was really helpful. And finally, my knowledge of Photoshop was the whole reason I was asked to stay on in the art department. Chana (Messer) would be so proud!