Editor’s Note: In this spotlight on internships, University of St. Thomas student Eugene Bernabe (Communication ’16) shares highlights from his internship at Fox 26 in Houston.
So my internship with FOX 26 Houston wrapped up recently, and I have to say it was pretty eye-opening, to say the least. I’m a communication major with the hope of being in television/radio production. Taking this internship was not only essential in completing my undergraduate degree, but also for solidifying what I want to do after my time in college.
What Does a Production Intern Do?
FOX 26 Houston, along with My 20 Houston, is one of the highest-ranked news stations in the city, as well as the nation. Under their wing, I was one of three production interns at FOX 26 who shadowed and learned about the areas of the studio, how to cue in talent/reporters for certain segments and how to set-up for future segments during the broadcast.
Guests come and go all throughout FOX 26’s broadcasts. It can range from local teachers all the way to Hollywood actors/producers and some of these people you’d never think you’d have the opportunity to see.
As an avid fan of professional wrestling, to know that any wrestler stopping by the studio would leave me in awe. Coming off WWE’s marquee event, WrestleMania in Dallas, they made a stop here in Houston for their weekly shows, and to promote it, they sent one of their world champion superstar-wrestlers to FOX 26. Honest to God, I had no clue on that day that a wrestler would stop by, and I had on my event shirt and everyone alerted me of his appearance.
So I was immediately star-struck upon meeting this certain professional wrestler, had a chance to express that I’m a big fan of the product he works for as well as himself. I didn’t get to take a picture because I was misinformed that I couldn’t when really I could. Though I had no photo proof of my encounter with him, my overall excitement and joy was proof enough of meeting this individual and how surprising an internship like this could be even in the smallest of ways.
What I Learned From Being a Video Production Intern
It wouldn’t be an eventful experience without a couple of mishaps at FOX 26. One time in particular I can recall where I mishandled a jib shot during a live broadcast. The segment included one of FOX 26’s regulars, Chris Tritico, while he was answering legal questions. While I was operating the jib camera, the camera decided to sway away during a live broadcast. Drifting left and right away from his face, I lost control of the camera for about a couple of seconds until it was restored to normal.
In those few seconds, I could hear and feel the anguish from everyone in the control room when the shot didn’t go the right way. It was just one of those moments where things happen beyond your control, and the best thing to do is learn from it and hope to never let it happen again. Fortunately that would be the last mishap as I redeemed myself the rest of my time there.
Production Intern Responsibilities
On one Monday in March, the main floor director was sick and the replacement director’s car broke down, so it was up to me to be the floor director for the remainder of that Monday morning. Fear, nervousness and anxiousness overtook my entire body, but instincts did as well. Using what I had learned prior from the internship as well as the news writing class I took that semester on Wednesdays, I kept my composure and proceeded to floor direct as if nothing had changed: providing scripts, providing microphones for guests, setting up and breaking down equipment for certain segments and cueing in talent when we were to return from commercial breaks.
It was a situation where many things could go wrong, but I didn’t let the jitters get the best of me. Moments like those are just one of many instances that could occur in the film production/editing/directing profession. You can’t let the fear of failing frighten you; let instincts and knowledge overtake it, and it will be fine. This day, though filled with panic and nervousness, was one of my best and favorite days at the internship.
What My Production Internship at Fox 26 Taught Me
If you are interested in learning how to get an internship at a news station or pursuing this type of career, I hope my stories have inspired you in some way. For some it may the perfect way to start off what career path you want and for others this make be a wake-up call to say “maybe this isn’t right for me.” But overall it’s a great experience, a necessary experience and one I’ll keep with me and remember for a long time. So go out there and take that risk to find out what’s right for you.
After graduating in May with a degree in communications, Eugene Bernabe spending his vacation in the Philippines. When he returns to Houston, he will begin the job search to apply his skills in video editing, production and direction.
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