An Intern’s Perspective: Graeme MacMillan

Perhaps the most invigorating thing in life is doing what you love. Everything else is just filler. So when I was presented the chance to work at an actual working production house, The Big Picture, I leapt at the opportunity.

Not too many internships offer real experience on a real set, and not only that, but let me get to know exactly what I’ll be doing when I’m hired as a production assistant. Along with that, they nursed my creative side, and asked me to make a short film, worked with me in the brainstorming process, and even allowed me to use their professional equipment to edit and finish it. 

Arriving on set was nerve wracking. I was representing the company. Me. An intern. Why and how could they trust me with this. But once I was in there and the pressure was on I couldn’t exactly think about the meta-details. It was a whirlwind of activity, and I didn’t want to get in the way, so I just stood a few feet away on hand in case anyone needed me. Everything had a nickname, ranging from a “platypus” to a “cardellini”, which isn’t even a nickname but doesn’t sound real. Something I wasn’t expecting was how real and looming the time deadline was. Time management may be the most important aspect of production, because you could have the best people in the business working on a shoot, but if they can’t do the work in time, they’re next to useless. My two only goals were to learn a few things and not to run the entire shoot into the ground, and I certainly passed the first one, and I believe I passed the second one, I still haven’t heard back on that one. 

By the end of my internship, it was expected of me that I complete a short film, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end it. Immediately I knew I wanted to do a piece that had moments of tension, but I had also wanted to look into the idea of identity for awhile. To me, there was only one way I could do this: tell a story about a guy at a party who pulls out all of his teeth. It’s obvious to me that those two things make that. So I got my actor friend and my photographer friend to help, all the while I was thinking how exactly I was going to pull off this effect. What it came down to was plenty of fake blood and Mentos, funny enough. Once you take off their smooth shells they’re viciously sticky and malleable, so mush them around into a tooth shape, roll them in flour, and you’ve got a tooth. The second trickiest part was managing to squeeze the three of us into the bathroom while trying not to get caught in the mirror. How we did that still escapes me, but we got the footage. On the last day of my internship, I edited it all down, taking a full nine-to-five day, but when it was done, I uploaded it to Vimeo, shook a few hands, and was one my way. 

I could not have asked for a better internship experience, and that is thanks to the wonderful people at The Big Picture, and I’m not just saying that because they asked me to write this. They provided me a creative, inclusive, fun, and incredibly educational environment. I can’t thank them enough. They have cemented my desire to be in this industry.

By Taylor Mosley