CBS Writers’ Room Internship–New York, New York
Ever wish you could cross paths with Sheldon Cooper or shake hands with Frank Reagan? CBS, one of the leading mass media companies in the country, offers students looking to be the next Norman Lear or Shonda Rhimes the perfect opportunity to step into the world of television. As a writers’ room intern, you’ll have direct contact with the scripts of popular shows like “Blue Bloods” before they’re filmed and hit your TV screen. As one of the hallmark Big Five networks, CBS stands as one of the gateways to a professional career in television.
What It’s Actually Like
From the first script drafts to postproduction–interns get to not only witness but also contribute to the process. CBS writers’ room interns get a hands-on experience, playing a direct role in the development and completion of scripts. “My responsibilities varied from day to day based on what needed to be done around the office, such as updating the scripts when new pages became available and helping distribute the scripts to the different offices,” past “Blue Bloods” writers room intern Catherine Shea said. “Over the course of the summer I updated the episode and character log from the past season, which is used for writer’s reference.” Tasks vary, meaning that every day is a learning opportunity and a chance for new experiences.
Cool Stuff You Get to Do
Imagine dragging your friends and family in front of the TV to watch your favorite actor repeat lines you had a hand in writing. “I was also asked to generate ideas for names of places, or in one case an iPhone app, to be used in the episodes,” Shea said. You’re not just fetching coffee and making phone calls here; the level of involvement shared with interns allows them to actually contribute as a member of the writers’ room.
What You’ll Learn
“I went into this internship with no experience in the field itself, all I knew was that I wanted a career in television,” Shea said. “I was able to learn about every aspect of television production. I was able to experience the creation of episodes from pre-production to post-production.” Not only do you learn the ins-and-outs of TV production, but you also gain valuable skills applicable to other areas in your life. “Working in such a fast pace environment, I was definitely able to gain skills in time management and learned how to perform tasks in a timely manner without sacrificing the quality of my assignments,” Shea said. Impress both your professors and future employers by taking advantage of the experience.
How to Prepare Your Application
Get involved in any production organizations on campus and take film and media studies classes. Then, use your school’s career center. “I went to my school’s career center repeatedly; I was always there getting my resume and cover letter looked over,” Shea said. The counselors and career center are there for a reason; even if it’s just for future donor donations, your college wants you to succeed, so make use of the resources at your disposal. When it comes to the CBS writers’ room internship application, you should emphasize any past experience you have in the field and your dedication to taking on new responsibilities. An involved background– like a year or two working on your school’s paper or past internships–show that you may not only have the skills to earn the position but also have the commitment.
Skills That Impress Them
Whether you apply because of a lifelong desire to work in TV or a more recent love-affair with your favorite show, you should emphasize your commitment to the position–and all that it entails. Even if you don’t have as much experience as the show-off in your intro Film class, honest dedication and interest get your foot in the door.
“I personally love the show [“Blue Bloods”], so being able to watch the episodes and update the episode log was a perk in itself,” Shea said. “I was lucky enough to have the opportunities to go into the post-production office and work with the editors, to visit the set and watch the actual filming of the show,” Shea said. Talk about bragging rights. Plus, when your friends are watching “2 Broke Girls” and you fire off with, “Do you know they originally wanted to name the horse Rainbow?” their jaws will drop. “Being able to read the scripts from first draft to final product, I was able to learn a lot about the writing process and television writing in general, and I definitely feel that my own writing has benefited,” Shea said. Working amidst the masterminds behind cherished hits likes “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS,” you’ll rub elbows with some of the network’s most important and most talented writers.
CBS offers an easy-to-use application process on their website through which you create a profile, attach your resume and choose the positions to which you will apply. If CBS likes what they see, you’ll be contacted for an interview–so brush up on your general CBS and TV knowledge. Most programs last 10 weeks and many internships are paid. Pay ranges from $7-$15 an hour. Aside from earning money, though, the CBS writers’ room internship provides a genuine experience of entering the professional world. Not to mention, you’ll make vital connections that just might land you a job in the future.