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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Internship: Midway Reflection

Thursday, July 22, 2010 Posted by Chris Tung , , , No comments

Free comics given to me by the X-Editors

It's about the midway point for the internship, and I thought I would write a quick blog about how it's been going as well as my thoughts on the value of the internship since that's what I imagine most of you guys are more interested in.

For those of you that may not know, the internship is unpaid. They do not provide you with financial aid of any kind, and rent, transportation, food, and things necessary for survival are all on you. But back in May when I first got the internship, I told myself that it's all a test. Taking the red eye for the interview was a challenge to prove my dedication. Everyone else around me had similar credentials but if I/you wanted it bad enough then you would risk everything for your dream. And thankfully, I passed, but knowing that I would have to find an apartment on my own and find a way to survive in the concrete jungle for 2 and a half months was again part of the test asking me, "Are you independent enough to handle this? Are you independent enough to work at Marvel knowing that we'll rarely tell you what to do? Are you mature enough to work here?" These were the kinds of questions that I believe were being asked through the entire beginning process, but for the longest time, I was very concerned whether or not it would be worth it.

In short, it most definitely has been. I've had the unique opportunity to meet writers and artists that I have admired in the industry without the construct of a "convention" placing me in the situation of "fan" and them "rock star" and thus limiting the interaction between them and me. Getting to meet these creators in relaxed settings and seeing that they are in fact normal people allowed me to remove those ruby colored lenses and understand that any great writer is still just a normal person with opinions, emotions, and ideas. In short, writers are people just like you and me. If that's not an inspiring tid-bit for any aspiring writer then I can't give you anything else.

The work has also been a great learning experience. I may not be managing life insurance or selling bonds, but I'm learning what makes a great comic first hand from the best editors in the industry. I've had the chance to do placements on books, write recap pages, edit scripts, etc. But I think a misconception about the internship is not how much you will do, but how receptive you are to the things going on around you and to learn from those. Watching Jody and Jeanine edit a book and seeing how they dissect everything about it to make a great product from something that would have been just a good product is where the true value of the internship lies. Watching them edit, teaches me--a struggling comic book writer--how to write better, and for my peers that are artists, you can most definitely learn how to tell a better story without having each panel look like a pin-up.

As of right now, I can tell you that if your biggest concern about the Marvel internship is the financial cost then my question to you is, "how badly do you want to work in comics?" If it's very tangential or a stepping stone to your true passion, I would say don't do it. The work won't be as fulfilling for you if you're not passionate about the industry plus you could probably find a paid internship somewhere else. But if the answer to my question is, "More than anything" then find a way to make it work. Following your dream is never easy, but if you get the acceptance phone call and you are debating shelving your dream to save some money then I can tell you that THIS internship is worth every penny.

Also, I will add that if you have any questions about me, what I'm doing, or the internship just ask. I try to answer all the emails I get.

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