The Getty Foundation Multicultural Undergraduate Intern
Area of Study: Film Production with an emphasis in Cinematography; Art Minor
What kinds of jobs / What professional fields are you interested in?I am interested in being in the media and community activism field. I hope to be able to create content in any medium. Currently I would love to be involved in the filmmaking community. I am very interested in being the Director of Photography on projects that share stories about Asian American and Pacific Islander folks.
Why I Applied to Become a VC Summer Intern:I have always been told that my transitional summer between Junior year and Senior Year of college, I “should” have an internship, and that that internship will be the jumpstart to my future “career path”. So I was very anxious on finding an internship that really spoke to me or that I could find full happiness.
I was looking for an internship that could offer experiences in the entertainment industry either in production or any other step in the filmmaking process that also worked towards benefiting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
As I was doing my research, I was disappointed to find not a lot of internship programs that offered me what I wanted and were accessible for a student who doesn’t have a car.
I was reminded of Visual Communications and how I really resonated with their mission and their programs when I was first introduced to them my Freshman year. The website listed the internship opportunities and my heart soared. It was like the stars aligned and that this internship was available and not due for another 2 weeks!
I applied to Visual Communications because I want an internship that allows me to be true to who I am, in all my entirety.
What were some projects and tasks that you did as a VC Summer Intern?As the Exhibitions Associate, I was the the lead in planning and carrying out Visual Communications Summer Series 2016 events. The summer series included four major events, SPA NIGHT Screening at Outfest, “Uprooted from the Scenes”, THERE IS A NEW WORLD SOMEWHERE LA Premiere, and MELE MURALS LA Premiere. Along with the other interns, I was also involved in interviews with interns with past fellows from Digital Histories and Armed with a Camera. I was also involved in the making of the Kazari with the other interns for the Tanabata Festival.
What were some projects and tasks that you did during the VC Summer Screenings?During the screenings, I was managing the volunteers and overall supervising the flow of the events. For the two larger events: “Uprooted” and MELE MURALS, there were many volunteers that I got a chance to work with. For THERE IS A NEW WORLD SOMEWHERE and SPA NIGHT, there were less volunteers needed but I had a chance to learn about ways that Visual Communications collaborates with different community organizations.
What, if anything, did you learn while working as a VC Summer Intern?I learned the importance and strength of community and support. Visual Communications has been around for 40-plus years because of the support and hard work by board members, staff, volunteers, friends, interns, and even strangers. I learned that amidst the overwhelmingly loud Hollywood Entertainment Industry, Asian American and Pacific Islander content creators are yelling back.
I also learned the amount of effort it takes to keep a non-profit going. Interning at Visual Communications, I was able to better understand the workings of a non-profit. The strong support from the staff and community allow VC to stay strong for all these years.
Skills wise: I learned how to create and understand a budget. I learned how to engage effectively with audience members either through social media or other means. I learned the importance of physical copies of information.
On a personal level, I learned that I am not alone in this journey. I learned that there are so many community members are creating content and helping each other.
Tell us about meeting and working with the LAAPFF Staff and other VC Summer Interns.The LAAPFF Staff and VC Summer Interns are some of the coolest people I have ever met. For me, finding folks that enjoy the same things as I do was so mind blowing. They were so welcoming and understanding. Everyone was so willing to help each other out and offer support when needed. It felt like working with a family. LAAPFF Staff has had so much experience creating screening programs and executing them, so their help was greatly appreciated for our Intern Screening and other Summer Series events.
The VC Summer Interns this year, in my opinion, was the greatest group of interns ever. All the interns were so willing to learn and so willing to share. I felt so supported from them and I really trusted them which made our working experience so much better. We were able to keep strong and clear communications which allowed us to keep up with each other’s work and help one another out. The Summer Series Events were very collaborative between all of us. Each event needed all the interns hard work and they all delivered.
It was such an amazing and inspiring experience working with the LAAPFF Staff and VC Summer Interns.
Which directors or films did you learn about or discover as a result of your time at VC this summer? As a Film Production student, I felt like I should have known more film makers prior to coming to VC, but I was very much humbled and inspired by the amount I didn’t know. And as the exhibitions associate, I was able to watch a lot of shorts by Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers. I learned about folks like Quyen Nguyen-Le (NUOC), who I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing with the other interns. I had to opportunity to meet many of the directors of the shorts from our “Uprooted” program. It was such a pleasure to talk to them in person and hear about their experiences as a filmmaker.
I was also able to meet Andrew Ahn, director of SPA NIGHT, at Outfest. Andrew Ahn is an amazing filmmaker that I think really embodies the idea of supporting community. He attended “Uprooted from the Scenes” and that really meant a lot to me.
What did you enjoy about your experience?Working at VC this summer was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I had a sense of purpose that I had been looking for. Being able to do something that I wholeheartedly believe in was really empowering. I was able to learn more about my community as well as have fun in the process.
I really enjoyed the feeling of family and closeness that working at VC offered me. The office was very understanding and open. We were allowed to discuss tough topics, express feelings of frustration, and find our pace. I laughed the hardest this summer when I was at VC. The VC Staff was encouraging and allowed me to find my own work pace. I was able to walk around the office without my shoes – because that’s how I work best.
I enjoyed getting to know the VC Staff and VC Summer Interns. Everyone was so cool and inspiring.
I also really enjoyed learning more about the Little Tokyo community and VC’s relationship with it. I was able to attend the Little Tokyo Community Council meetings and understand how all the businesses are connected to each other. I really loved how many people would stop by VC’s office to just say hi and come chat. That was really amazing to me because it showed me how close knit the VC folks are with the community around them. It also showed me how important it was to have a space like VC.
What were some challenges you faced during your time as a VC Summer Intern?A challenge I face during my time at VC was the 8 hour work day. This was my first time being in a full time job. I am more accustomed to school structure, where in a day I was committed to a few things a few hours at a time rather than one thing for 8 hours. At first it was a bit hard for me to get used to because I was very used to moving around and doing many things in one day. I found myself feeling a bit stuck and uncreative because I was focusing on only one event a day. But once I got the flow, I was able to use the structure to my advantage. I learned how to schedule my work day so it worked for me – splitting up my hours by different activities.
Would you recommend this internship to others? WHY?Y-E-S.For those who share similar interests as mine or just wants to learn more any of the following: film festivals, non-profits, Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities, being awesome, meeting awesome people – I definitely recommend this internship.
With this internship, you get what you give. If you are willing to try new things, ask all the questions, and enjoy what you do, this is the internship for you. Visual Communications was founded on the need to create a space for Asian American and Pacific Islander voices in media and it continues to carry out that mission with everything it does. If that’s what you want to be a part of, which it should, then I definitely recommend it.
What will you be doing now after your internship?I will be returning back to school for my senior year (*cries). My thesis will consist of being the Director of Photography on two thesis films. I am really excited to be a part of these projects and hope that when I am done I can go help out at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival!