Chantelle Fairburn at Fox Studios

November 11, 2016, by Joe Ward

How I Found a Placement at Fox Studios, USA

By Chantelle Fairburn, BA Film and Television Studies

Are you interested in undertaking work experience in another country, but worried about the cost? The International Work Experience Grant (IWEG) can offer up to £1000 to support you.

Designed to enable students to undertake work experience opportunities that they might not otherwise be able to afford, the grant will support expenses such as accommodation, travel and visas, living costs and vaccinations.

In this blog, we meet Chantelle Fairburn, a film and television studies undergraduate, who undertook a programming and development internship at Fox Studios in the USA.

Can you give us some details of your placement?

My role involved assisting the executive assistants in the department whilst gaining an insight into the nature of programming and development within a major television network.

Daily tasks involved basic admin work in addition to reading scripts and watching pilot episodes for new and existing comedy and drama series. I also spent time reorganising the Fox archive and writing coverage and loglines for new scripts. Towards the end of my internship I also got to greet industry professionals who were at Fox for meeting with executives.

What new skills did you learn?

I think having worked in LA makes me a unique prospect for employment because so much of the film and television industry is based there. Being in the centre of it all and working for such a large and well known company has meant that I’ve learnt a lot about the industry from an international perspective.

What would you say was your greatest achievement?

Being given the chance to assist Rachel Rusch, Vice President of Event Series, on multiple occasions!

There were times when her executive assistant was out of town or had called in sick which meant that I was asked to cover and take on the role. It was both exciting and scary because there was so much going on but eventually I got into the swing of things and soon I was answering the phone like a pro!

What would you say was the biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?

Having had no prior experience in an office I was anxious to make a good impression. One thing that I – and the other interns in the department – found challenging was being helpful without being too pushy.The executive assistants were all very busy and at first I was apprehensive about approaching them to ask if they needed anything because I didn’t want to pester them.

However, after the first couple of weeks I settled into the office routine and was often so preoccupied with other tasks that when an assistant needed something they would come over or send me an IM themselves. Everyone in the office had been an intern at some point so they understood the process of getting used to the dynamic.

Can you give us three top tips to share with other students thinking of doing a placement abroad?

  1. Explore every financial option – I had no idea the IWEG grant existed until I got my internship and suddenly found myself tasked with raising funds. I saw it mentioned in a department email and went onto the university website to find out more.
  2. Find other students – two other students were also going to LA to intern and luckily the university put us into contact with one another so that we could plan the trip together. It helped financially because we split the cost of accommodation and the car hire and it was a great way to make new friends.
  3. Research the visa process – every country is different but if you know what to expect when it comes to applying for a visa you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle. For my trip I needed multiple documents from Fox and I had to attend an interview at the US embassy in London.

If you want to get more details on the International Work Experience Grant and could help you fund some work experience overseas, visit our webpage to find out what it can be used for and your eligibility. You can also complete an expression of interest for funding, which will be assessed by our team.

You should also read our information about internships abroad and the things you need to consider when applying for work experience in another country.

Posted in International Work Experience Grant