Added to My Scrapbook

I finished my internship this week! I can’t believe it is over already. At the same time, it feels like I’ve been working there forever. I learned so much and was introduced to so many new things and people. I even got to lay my eyes on Ariana Grande–in the flesh! That was definitely a highlight of the summer.  

Annie Leibovitz’s photo of Ariana Grande for this summer’s cover of Vogue.
Annie Leibovitz just has a signature look. It’s hard to describe, but looks so cool!

Working this internship allowed me to finally see what the film and photography industry is like, and I’m happy to say I still want to be a part of it. I wish there had been more photoshoots to assist on because I find myself missing the creative side of the art, but I still really enjoyed the feeling of importance as part of the production team. Being responsible for getting everything necessary to the set is a huge weight but super rewarding when done well. 

I set out wanting to gain a clear understanding of the step-by-step process of set production. I also wanted to establish and build some professional relationships with my coworkers, supervisors, and anyone else I met along the way. I wanted to gain more confidence in myself and in the work I was doing. Throughout the weeks, the assignments and projects I was tasked with allowed me to tweak my skills and made me a better intern with each day that passed. I liked the intense and faced-paced environment. At times, I thought I was swamped in work. Each time I finished my workload, I would soon realize I had merely been in the eye of the storm.

I am definitely proud of sticking through this internship and living as a New Yorker. I’m sure I’ve picked up some habits and will return to campus with the ability to walk a mile a minute, but it’s been a great experience. I can’t get over the fact that just days before starting this position, I was in a completely different country! I definitely miss home sometimes, but it feels great to be making solid steps toward my career. 

Trying to land an internship in the film industry? Do what I did and submit a million applications. Tighten your resume. Build your portfolio. Apply early! Don’t listen to the people telling you that getting a job is next to impossible. Have you seen the end credits of a movie? There are plenty of jobs, you just have to be first and among the best of the applicants. It’s super cool that Annie’s team thought I was worthy enough to be in her presence. After leaving the office, I now have the skills to prove it. 

Huuuuge thank you to Annie Leibovitz and her staff! An even bigger thank you to the Steven M. Bunson ’82 Internship Fund and the WOW team for helping me experience this amazing summer!

 

On Becoming a New Yorker & Set Life

Moving to New York is basically a requirement if I wish to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. I knew the city was extremely loud, smelly and bustling with people who can’t see in front of them because they are blinded by all of their responsibilities. And I thought I would be able to fight assimilating to this culture, but I find myself speaking like a New Yorker with each day that passes. Despite knowing the subway map by heart, and being able to get things done in a “New York minute”, I will never – I repeat, never – run to catch a subway car.  That’s just me, haha. Work wise, I wish I felt more confident in my workplace, but that just comes with time. There are so many intricacies that come with the job one can only master after a year or so of being on sets. Working at Annie Leibovitz’s studio is definitely introducing me to much more than I could have imagined, and I am grateful for that. 

 

This job is definitely different from what I do on campus. On campus, I am able to be creative and hands-on with the videos I shoot. I collaborate with other students and we come up with ideas that sometimes change as the ideas present themselves. At my internship, everything is more administrative and less creative. I work to make sure all purchases for shoots are accounted for and organized in the information drive. I also help set up everything when we get to set, making runs if the photo team or AL needs anything. Understanding this side of the pre-production process helps me be better organized and create more solid videos on campus because I have a deeper understanding of why I should certain steps during planning and brainstorming. I also now know how to contact and book locations, plan catering and other processes I never really thought about including for my shoots. 

 

I am definitely learning the do’s and don’ts of working on set. I am noticing how specific people interact with each other and how to dress for a set prep day, vs a day at the office vs, how to dress the day of the actual shoot. Some of the things I am picking up seem like “oh, well, who cares?” kind of details, but they all play factors, however small, in how one is received and subsequently, treated on set.

 

what we and the photo team have to load and unload and load back up again every day for a shoot

Tips on how to dress for [prep] set, work, and shoot day:
1. Wear black to set preps. You will sweat. A lot. You are going to be lifting heavy equipment and running from place to place, so do yourself a favor and wear black. Especially because everyone else will be.

2. Do look nice when you arrive at the office, but it’s nice to know that you actually don’t have to wear a button-down and slacks! You can come in your favorite t-shirt if you want. Just…no jeans, please.

  1. When it comes to the actual shoot day, look up your location first to get the vibe. As a PA intern, If it isn’t a completely closed set,  you may want to go for the business casual look. Just make sure you can still do everything you did on set prep day because you will definitely be doing that the day of the actual shoot. If it is a completely closed set, you can definitely just opt for all black. You normally can also judge the first day and adjust your look for the next day if you want to “fit in”.

    There is still so much more to learn, and I can’t believe we are almost done!

Savannah Edmondson

 

From Prague to Production

Annie Leibovitz wearing a Fujifilm x100 w/ a 35mm lens

After studying film for a semester in Prague, Czech Republic, I flew straight to another new city. This summer I have the opportunity to work at Annie Leibovitz Studio in New York City as a production coordination intern. Annie Leibovitz is an acclaimed photographer known for her captivating celebrity portraiture. She has been a commercial photographer for magazines such as Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. She has photographed famous and influential actors, artists, and activists including Whoopi Goldberg, Meryl Streep, and famously wrapped a shoot with musician John Lennon the same day he was fatally shot.

My work is centered around both observational and experiential learning. The photo world is unpredictable, so I have to be able to think quickly and be flexible. My duties include, but are not limited to, conducting research, prepping call sheets, sourcing locations and vendors, and administrative work. I work closely with Annie Leibovitz’s production team to get everything ready in time for the shoot. I also work with other interns throughout the week to run errands, brainstorm creative concepts, and wrap shoots.

So far it has been very eye-opening to see how much planning and organization goes into making a shoot happen. From the research of the talent to logging the costs of production, booking travel, getting all of the equipment to set, shooting, wrapping, logging everything (again), not a single day has been boring. I have had to quickly learn the specific order in which things are done in the office. Luckily, the job is not all work and no play. It has been wonderful getting to know Annie Leibovitz team. They work together as both a well-oiled machine and as a family. As a new addition to the team, it is amazing to witness it all.

I was able to attend my first shoot this week! It was a long day of prepping the set. I had to set up the hair & makeup area which included decorating it with furniture, creating a changing area, setting up lighting, and a few other bits and bobs. I was also in charge of making sure we had food and that the catering arrived on the day of the shoot. As a production intern, we also had to make sure the assistants to Annie Leibovitz had everything they needed. It was busy and everyone was running around trying to make sure everyone had everything they needed.  When the shoot wrapped, I help the photo interns take down the equipment and pack it back into the truck. Ever applied for a job and one of the requirements is to “be able to lift 50lbs or more”? Yeah, packing a photo truck requires that from you for several hours. I love that about the film and photo world: courtesy total body exercise without having to go to the gym.

Annie Leibovitz in action. This is not from the shoot I mentioned in this article.

My goal for the summer is to gain a clear understanding of the step-by-step process of set production. I also want to establish a solid foundation for professional relationships with people who share my interest in image media and production. This position will give me the opportunity to be introduced to incredibly influential individuals in the entertainment and visual media world who may be able to guide me to make the right next steps.

I am looking forward to what’s next!

Savannah Edmondson