March 2, 2012

Internship Success: Brianne VanPutte



Brianne VanPutte is a senior Animation major who has taken on several successful internships during her time at Pratt. After taking the time from her senior project, she answered these questions about her internship experience:

What were the companies/businesses/studios you worked at? What do they do?

Nickelodeon- In NYC, a lot of the pre-production and research is conducted for their animated shows. Voice recording takes place here, the writing process, and editing. Most of the art is done outside of NYC (Storyboards in LA and animation is outsourced out of the country). 
Augenblick Studios- They do the storyboarding, design and animation for their projects and have a lot of creative control, because of this interns get a lot of hands on experience!
BrainPOP.com-They create educational online resources/movies/games for kids and schools. Their web content is Flash based.


How did you find your internships?

I've been pretty lucky to have had 3 internships while at Pratt. My first was with Nickelodeon as the Production Intern for Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go!
I found that internship on my own through Nickelodeons webpage and really enjoyed the selection process. Their Human Resources Dept. was super friendly during my initial interview and asked me what I was interested in and then told me what was available in NYC. I thought Dora was a great fit for what I was looking for from an internship and met with the Associate Producer, Maria Nerahoo, for my second interview. At that point everything just fell into place and it was a great place to work.

My second internship was an animation internship with Augenblick Studios in Brooklyn. I heard about the internship from another Pratt student who had previously interned for them and she gave me the producers contact information. While I was there we were working on Ugly American's for Comedy Central.

My current internship is with BrainPOP.com. It is sort of a mesh-up of a animation and production internship, and my supervisor is a Pratt Alumni. I found this internship through a Department of Digital Arts e-mail.  

What did you do as an intern at each?

Nickelodeon- I did a lot of different things ranging from running things from one department to another, delivering scripts to the recording studio, sitting in on animatic editing meetings, proofreading scripts, cataloging and logging information about episodes, and assisting with putting together the monthly expense reports and production schedule. I really never knew what I might end up doing on a day to day basis. It was great because I got to see the entire process of producing amazing children's television! 

Augenblick Studios- At Augenblick Studios interns get to inbetween animation (you're given the key poses of a character from the animator and then draw the "inbetween" drawings to get the character from one pose to the next) and clean up rough backgrounds. It's really rewarding when you see the finished product and get to see your work in the episodes. Interns are credited as well, I felt that the animators, designers and editors were more than willing to help teach interns, which was great. While I was there we worked on the second season of Ugly Americans. 

BrainPOP.com- At BrainPOP I am currently creating a database of all of the assets used in the BrainPOPjr.com movies. This is a great internship because I am getting to learn new programs for cataloguing that I was not familiar with before (Adobe Bridge and Evernote). 

What was the best part of being an intern at these jobs?

Each of my internships have been great learning experiences and a lot of fun. Nickelodeon was a great place to start because I was the only Production Intern and was able to get the one-on-one supervision that I needed at the time from my supervisors. I gained a lot more confidence from working there, and I learned a lot about organization and production planning that has come in handy while working on my senior film this year. There also seemed to be a lot of baked goods and candy, so that was also amazing!

Augenblick studios was great because there were several interns at a time, so I made a lot of friends who are peers, and learned a lot from the other interns. The atmosphere at Augenblick Studios is great, it's like the old animation studios you read about in animation history class, which just makes it more fun. There's always music playing and it's great to talk to the animators and designers about their personal projects too, everyone there was very creative.

BrainPOP, is really different, it's web based so there are programmers and gamers, and all kinds of people! BrainPOP also has an ESL group, so there are a lot of different languages being spoken and cultures represented. It is definitely a unique place to work!

What did you learn the most?

I also learned a lot about working with a group. The animation industry is a people driven industry, and it takes a lot of people to get anything done in it! You can teach yourself programs, and how to draw well, but you need practice working with a team too, and you can't teach yourself that.  

The other most important thing I learned from my internship is probably how to manage my time, and how to be productive during my commute! 

Any advice for students trying to intern in your field?

Try everything! Each of my internships have been completely different experiences, and I don't regret it at all. I wanted to try out as much as I could in the animation industry while I'm still in school, so that I have an idea of what I want to do afterwards. 
Do I have any clue? No. Everything has been great for different reasons, and I'm still trying to figure it out. I think a lot of students limit themselves to one dream job, but forget that there is just so much out there to try. It's great experience and the work is fun. 

Do the internship for credit if you can though! There's no reason to do an internship on top of a full course load, you'll get burned out and enjoy the internship much less if you feel overwhelmed by it. You'll learn as much or more from the internship as you would from a studio elective, so it is worth it!


--Thanks Brianne! Best wishes to your bright future!

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