Tuesday, April 06, 2010

On Unpaid Internships

Yesterday, I posted on the CRADLE blog a post about class and unpaid internships. I hope you'll visit. Summation:

"Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is a deeply corrupt system, one that consciously and shamelessly masquerades as a meritocracy while being, in fact, a plutocracy."


RVCBard said...

That might be how it works in the boonies where you want us to send our money, but out here in the big city we work for free!

Scott Walters said...

Hahaha. And proud of it, bucko.

RVCBard said...

A Serious Theatre Artist would pay to work full-time!

RVCBard said...

A Serious Theatre Artist would gladly pay to work full-time!

Tay said...

I always hated the idea of unpaid internships because they generally meant I couldn't take on the internship, still work to pay my way through school and still attend school. I have seen paid and unpaid internships and both offer a great opportunity to learn and network. I think it just comes down to what the individual can afford to do. Not everybody can afford to work for free, not even for the great networking and learning opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Could be worse.


Jess said...

Christ on a Cracker, this shit makes me so angry I can barely see straight, let alone type a less-than-garbled comment.

Garbled it is, then.

I attended the Interlochen Arts Academy my senior year of high school, and by the end of the first week, I knew that i was different than 95% of the guys in my dorm -- my dad was a pastor, my mom didn't work outside the home, I was a recipient of a 50% scholarship, and my parents used all of my 'college money' they had saved over 17 years to pay the other 50%.

As we headed into the end of our spring semester, most of my friends were applying to notorious non-scholarship schools such as Eastman and Julliard; my options were limited to Augustana, IL (a school funded by my dad's synod) and Central College in Pella, IA (where my dad's side of the family all matriculated, my great uncle was the president and there was a scholarship in my family's name).

Very quickly I realised that I was not going to be able to pursue theatre as any type of vocation -- unlike the many lectures we received from our profs at IAA - where we were promised that 'attention to detail and craft, hard work and persistence' is what would pay off.

Never was it mentioned that you needed to also have a trust fund to afford the flights to New York for auditions, the summer sublet to get yourself into the 'swing' of the school's theatre scene prior to fall semester, the insanely high costs of living in a New England metropolis.

I made it not a year at Central. My girlfriend was attending the SFA at BU - and I thought, 'fuck, I'll just move in with her, get a part-time job and audition for next year at BU!'


So, two years after IAA, my resume looked like this:

-- three shows, one student directed, at Central College in Pella, IA

-- a role as Rooster in Annie for a tiny community theatre in the tiny town of Mount Morris, IL

-- lots of little part-time jobs, none of them theatre related

When I auditioned for BU, can you guess as to the content of the resumes of my competition? I can, as I had spent 6 months living with the students at BU at that point, and knew several of my competitors personally:

-- acting classes with the chair of the BU SFA Theatre Dept

-- interning (for free, of course) at The Huntington

-- Off Off credits (usually unpaid) from that 'summer in NYC' prior to relocating to Boston

Do you think I got in to BU?

I'm glad I went to UNCA ten years later. I'm glad I met Scott Walters, and that these kinds of outrageous disparities are finally being discussed.

btw - Jen, my wife, auditioned for Ray at UGA. As Jen comes from the same socio-economic background as myself (and she was 35 at the time of auditioning for the MFA acting program) - how do you think that turned out?

FUCK this system. FUCK IT.