The Park In Vienna

The best blog you'll ever read about being an intern

chapter 2: one of the sexier internships June 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — acerook @ 4:55 am

Graham, the PR man for Wolf Trap, described my internship as “sexy” the other day.  A little awkward for the work place, but I can’t help but agree.

For anyone who is curious as to what it’s like to be a photographer, let me offer you this glimpse into the artist’s world as experienced through my internship at Wolf Trap.

First perk of being an artist, my office hours are limited.  While other interns work 9-5 Monday through Friday, I only come into the office on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-4.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are dark (i.e., I’m off) unless I have to shoot.  Friday, I either work office hours 11:30-4:30 or if I’m shooting, 4:30 til I head over to the park around 6:30 to check in at Stage Door and the press office.

The whole sleeping in thing rocks, I will not lie.

Second perk, I get to be “special.”  I’m one of the few Wolf Trap photogs, so I get a special pass, I get to go to Stage Door (where all the tour managers and acts check in), I get to watch shows for free.  Granted, when I’m photographing it’s a whole ‘nother matter because when behind a camera, you’re not really SEEING the show– but that’s another matter for another entry.  

Third perk, I occasionally get to meet bands, as seen in my run-in with the drummer from DeVotchKa – who asked where he’d be able to see my pictures.  :O

But that’s not to say this job is cake.  On the contrary – what I don’t do in office hours I make up for in shooting.  Plus, I’m not guaranteed a regular schedule like other interns, mine changes almost every week.  And some times, I do office hours AND shoot at night -for instance, tomorrow I’m in at 1 and stay until the show that night, so I won’t get to go home til around 10pm.  Also, what other job do you have where you roughly have fifteen minutes to do all of your best work?  That’s all the time I generally get to photograph each act.  Talk about stress.

But despite all those cons, to me, the pros seriously triumph – if for no other fact than I get paid to do what I love.

And the sleeping in doesn’t hurt, either.


chapter 1: it’s not over til the fat lady sings June 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — acerook @ 3:23 pm

I started looking for an internship at the end of the fall semester in 2008.  Lesson # 1: this was almost too late.  I missed out on the incredibly prestigious Washington Post summer internship because they have a November/December deadline.  But the majority of internships I liked had deadlines around February/March, which gave me plenty of time to get my application together.

I picked four internships: USA Today, Washingtonian Magazine, Wolf Trap and The Connection, a local newspaper.  Washingtonian, I found out, canceled their photography internship.  USA Today didn’t want to set up an interview until AFTER I had accepted my current internship.   The Connection didn’t want me to APPLY until April, which would be a little too late for my comfort since I needed this class to graduate by Summer 2009.  So that left Wolf Trap.

Let me say, I will never place all my bets on one job again.  It was nerve-wracking, but there was really nothing I could do.  Photography internships are few and far between, unfortunately.  I could have applied for journalism internships, but I really wanted to pursue what made me happy, not what I “should” do.  Not that I don’t love journalism.  But after the past semester, I needed a break from writing.

Wolf Trap, however, would have been my top pick anyway.  Its job description included photographing theater and musical acts, which is what I enjoy the most.  Plus, I used to go to Wolf Trap when I was a little kid, and I go about once a year, since they generally book artists I enjoy (Ben Folds!  Patty Griffin!).

After several nail-biting months, I got the call telling me they wanted to set up a phone interview.  Yipes!  Phone interviews are rough because face-to-face contact is always preferable.  But it went pretty well, I suppose, since about two weeks later, they offered me the job.  One small step for mankind, one giant step for me!

So lesson learned- plan early, earlier than you might think.  But even when you think this are a mess (pinning my summer graduation on just one internship was NOT exciting), things always seem to work out.


introduction: a romance story May 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — acerook @ 5:09 am

Getting an internship is a lot like dating.

You have to figure out what you’re looking for in the relationship.  You have to realistically assess yourself and what you bring to the table, as well as looking at what you need to improve.  The internship is a two-way street, much like a relationship – both parties need to give and take for a healthy, successful companionship.  

I find myself currently in one of these relationships-of-the-internship-variety.  Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Trey, and I’m a senior in SOC with a minor in CAS (in Theater, of all things).  I’ve spent two years at AU – I was a transfer student – and plan to graduate this summer, as long as AU doesn’t cancel my Economics class that I am also taking this summer.  I have worked at The Eagle since my start at AU, writing and photographing for the music and theater sections.  I also became the Director of Photography for the Student Government for 2007-2008 as well as worked at the Photo Lab.  This is my first internship, but if all internships are this cool, I was seriously missing out.

(Though I am instructed to not write anything “stupid” by the Higher Beings of the Career Center, I would like to go on the record to say that MGC 3 rocks, I will not always be using proper grammar in this blog and Professors Amy Eisman, Angie Chuang, John Watson and Doug Hecox are the absolute creme de la creme of AU’s professors, and if you’re reading this, do yourself a favor and take a class with at least one of them, if not all.)

So now you know about me.  Let me introduce my partner in crime, Wolf Trap.

Wolf Trap was founded by Catherine Filene Shouse (of Filene’s Basement – how cool is that!), passed as an act of Congress in 1966.  Wolf Trap opened in 1971 and to this day, remains the nation’s only national park dedicated to preserving the arts.  They operate under four “pillars” – Opera, Education, Filene and Barns.  Each of these items represent a branch of Wolf Trap that, though seemingly different, connect pretty seamlessly – for instance, I’m in the Education department as an intern – yet since  I’m the photographer, I’m constantly over at the Filene Center.  

During the summer, the interns descend like cicadas upon the Center for Education (where I work) and the Filene Center.  There’s 30 of us working here full time for the next three or four months in all of the four pillar areas.  One thing that’s so great about Wolf Trap is they really want their interns to learn, which is definitely part of what made them so appealing during the “dating” process.

So please enjoy reading my thoughts about this “relationship” through this blog, “The Park in Vienna.”  I’m already accumulating stories about Wolf Trap that will hopefully show how unique and awesome of a place it is to work, as well as tidbits that I am learning about being in the “real world” (hint: it’s very different than going to class).  Please feel free to comment – we journalists are totally into the “join the conversation” thing.

It’s going to be a great summer!