"Working for Michael was both an enriching and exciting experience! The professional relationships, practical industry knowledge and shooting skills I developed have been, and continue to be, absolutely invaluable"
I was recently contacted by Michael, whose company I interned for last summer, which inspired me to reflect on my time as an intern - the result is the above quote. Since Michael wouldn't let me write the thesis I wanted to, I've decided to devote this blog post to my experience with Michael Justin Films.
I first encountered Michael Justin Films in November of 2012. I had just begun the fall semester of my junior year at Syracuse University and like most college women do, I was procrastinating work by watching wedding videos on Pinterest. I stumbled upon Michael and Jackie's wedding film which led me to Michael's website and subsequently a night spent sobbing over his other films and the love that seemingly poured through the computer screen. The next day I was able to collect myself enough to reach out to Michael via email. I knew it was a little (or a lot) early to be asking for information about a summer internship but I was just so deeply moved that I inquired anyway. To my utter amazement and surprise Michael replied with his thanks and a request to get in touch closer to the summer. (Let that be a lesson: it is never too early to network, connect, or share your appreciation for someone's work!) I spent the better part of that year mildly stalking Michael Justin Films in preparation for the day that I would once again email Michael about an internship. Finally, the time came and we made plans to meet at his studio in NYC.
Our first meeting went great, although it was a little surreal having watched Michael and Jackie's wedding film so many times and feeling like I already knew them. From there Michael and I made a plan for the summer which included assisting with several wedding films, an engagement shoot and a surprise wedding proposal. We traveled all over the state of New York and on one occasion even road tripped to Jamestown, RI for a wedding.
Aside from Michael I got to work with some other really awesome and talented guys: Donnell, Kraig, Edison & Marty. I can understand how one might think working in a male dominated field with five guys can be a little overwhelming. Truthfully, it was anything but, I was welcomed right into the family. The crew is one of the things that made the experience so wonderful. (Let that be another lesson: internships are a great way to connect with even more industry professionals, professionals that might hire you one day!) I was always made to feel, included, appreciated and respected which I don't think is something a lot of other interns can say.
In addition to my responsibilities during a given wedding I also made call sheets for the crew and occasionally helped organize footage. I'll admit that I was absolutely terrified to make a mistake but considering I am human, when I did mess up it always became a positive, learning experience.
My summer with Michael Justin Films was altogether a tremendous learning experience. I learned about small business practices and about shooting and editing films. I learned about how to work with clients and about appropriately valuing myself and my work. Most importantly, I gained the confidence to be proud of my work and the understanding that being a visual storyteller is a lifelong and dynamic process.