FMS Internship Procedures

INFO FOR STUDENTS:

Internships are opportunities for students to gain work experience as part of their education. Working one or more internships is one of the best things you can do to learn different jobs from the inside, try out jobs you are interested in, and generally prepare yourself to turn your degree into a career after graduation.

How to get an internship:

First, you need an internship advisor. This is an FMS faculty member who will help you fill out the paperwork, be your contact and advocate should anything unexpected happen when you are working on-site at the supervising organization, and eventually turn in your grade (internships are graded S/U). All permanent FMS faculty are authorized to oversee internships, so the first step is to contact one of your professors to ask them to serve as your internship advisor.

Second, talk to the faculty member about your interests and what you’d like to get out of the experience. Some faculty know people in outside industries they might be able to contact on your behalf, but don’t expect your advisor to “get” an internship for you. Treating the search for an internship as a job search is a good way to practice the skills you’ll need in your career search after graduation. Research companies or nonprofits you might like to work for to see if they post calls for interns. If not, phone them up. You’ve got nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. You are developing the skills that will make you a marketable employee, so be picky and find the internship you really want to do. Don’t be scared to send some emails or make some phone calls, if a little bit of initiative will set you on a career path you are excited about.

Download the Student Internship Agreement Form

Here are some resources for finding an internship:

The FMS Facebook page (This is where the staff will post info about anything we hear about)

The Career Center’s HIRESOONER system sends regular emails detailing internship and job opportunities tailored to your individual major (Use your 4x4 and password to set up an account)

Greater Grads (This is an OKC-based free service to help connect local companies to students in Oklahoma universities). 

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office Online Production Guide. This is a database of Oklahoma-based crew that is made available for film, television, and other video productions coming to Oklahoma to shoot. If you have an existing credit, you can register as a professional, but if you have no credits you can still register as a potential intern. Productions generally don’t expect you to have any prior experience to intern, but be prepared to work hard and learn once you’re on set! The FMS library has several copies of a short handbook for production assistants, which can be checked out by students.

The Nitty Gritty:

Internships are expected to comprise approximately 3 hours a week per credit hour for which you are enrolled. Over the course of a 16-week semester, this translates to 48 hours of work per credit hour enrolled. For a 2-hour internship, you’ll need to work 96 hours; for a 3-hour internship, you’ll need to work 144 hours. It doesn’t matter whether these hours are worked on a compressed schedule or spread out over the semester, but do keep careful track of your hours to turn in to your internship advisor at the end of the process.

At the beginning of the internship, your advisor will give you permission to enroll in the internship credit, (FMS 3800) and a copy of the contract you will fill out and sign with your on-site supervisor. You should provide your advisor with contact information for your on-site supervisor (generally the person who has hired you for the internship).

During the course of your work, you should check in with your advisor from time to time to let him or her know how it is going. Particularly, let your internship advisor know if you have found anything about the experience problematic or the work is not what you expected. The vast majority of internships are excellent experiences, but in the extremely rare event that you should become injured, be harassed, or feel you have been mistreated by a representative of the supervising organization, please inform your internship advisor within 24 hours of the incident. Also, please inform your advisor if you are considering withdrawing from the internship for any reason. Your internship is a credit-bearing activity of the university, so your advisor needs to know right away if anything is not going according to plan.

At the end of the internship, you will turn in to your advisor:

  • A log describing both your hours worked and a brief account of what work you accomplished on each shift. You should keep this journal as you are working the internship, when the information is fresh in your mind. 
  • A 6-8 page paper synthesizing what you learned during the experience and how it has shaped your career interests and preparedness. Please note that your paper should not just be a rehashing of the details from your work log, but a reflective document that brings together your work experiences and looks forward to where you would like to go from here. Your advisor will also ask your supervisor to provide a brief written evaluation of your performance in the internship.

INFO FOR EMPLOYERS:

The FMS program is occasionally contacted by organizations and individuals looking to take students for the first time as unpaid interns. We are happy to work with you to develop an internship program, but first we ask that you make sure your organization’s needs are best described as an internship, an educational experience for the benefit of the student.

The most important criterion we use to evaluate whether an opportunity is appropriate for internship credit is whether the student will be working under a supervisor or with a team who can teach her or him professional skills in the fields of film and media production, exhibition, analysis, preservation, support services, etc. So if, for instance, you have a widget business and would like to find an FMS student to shoot a commercial for your company, we would NOT consider that an appropriate internship because the supervisor would be looking for our student to bring the media expertise to the experience, rather than training our student in an environment where experienced media professionals would supervise her or him.

If, on the other hand, your organization has an existing media, arts, or communications-related department, and could use some extra hands on a project or if would like to create training opportunities for bright students interested your field, we would love to hear from you.

The Film and Media Studies Undergraduate Program is a liberal arts major that emphasizes critical thinking and analytical skills; the core curriculum of the program focuses on film and media history, analysis, and theory. Some, but not all, students take additional courses in single-camera production, feature screenwriting, editing, or other production topics. FMS majors are well-rounded students who can think well, write well, and understand how images can be used to communicate meaning in the modern media environment. If you would like to advertise an internship opportunity among FMS students, please contact interim program director Dr. Joshua Nelson at joshuabnelson@ou.edu.

Additional Resources for employers:

The Greater Grads Internship Guide for Employers
The U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet on the Fair Labor Standards Act