This semester I was an Operations & Growth intern at Industry Jump, a professional network for filmmakers created by Chapman alumnus, JJ Englert! As a film producer, he was constantly working with different crew members. After struggling to find crew while traveling or when his regulars were unavailable, he wanted a better way to connect with other filmmakers. Industry Jump aims to foster community, build a professional network, and help producers find what they need for production. As an intern, some of my responsibilities included community outreach, copywriting/editing web pages, managing the weekly newsletter, and creating posts for Instagram.
I went into the internship feeling confident in my abilities thanks to the professors in the School of Communication. As a Strategic and Corporate Communication major, classes like Business Communication and Marketing Through the Communicator’s Lens taught me real-world skills that made my transition into the role a smooth process. I had to quickly learn the ins and outs of the business and immediately started representing the company to potential customers. Drafting professional emails and creating strategic marketing materials felt like second nature because of the extensive practice I had in my coursework.
The countless presentations I created during my time in the School of Communication not only made me a confident public speaker but also enabled me to help the CEO craft pitch decks. Pitch presentations are an essential part of any startup’s fundraising efforts and seeing my work have a real impact on a company’s success was one of the best moments from my internship. My boss and I spent days poring over the slides and refining the script before his “demo day” at a startup accelerator in San Francisco. A week after demo day he sent me a video of his pitch and I felt so proud! I knew every line of the script and it felt unreal to hear words I wrote being presented to venture capitalists and angel investors. Moments like those make the long days worth it.
A lesson I learned during my internship was the true value of flexibility. One of my responsibilities was creating promotional materials for our new mobile app and networking feature. However, the release dates kept getting delayed because of technical issues. Our users knew they were in development but they didn’t know when they would become available. Not having a solid release date made it difficult to keep users engaged but staying flexible allowed us to have a successful launch at the end of the struggle.
One of the biggest challenges during my internship was balancing school with work, my internship, and my social life. In addition to being a student and intern I also worked a part-time job at night and on the weekends. Staying on top of deadlines and giving 100% to every commitment was exhausting. There were days when I felt like I had absolutely no energy left but I knew I still had so much to do. If I didn’t have such a strong support system of friends and family, I probably would have experienced burnout. A lot of Chapman students are super ambitious and sometimes we have to remind ourselves to take a step back. Whether I was feeling exhausted or overwhelmed, there were a few mindfulness practices I learned in Mindful Communication that kept me sane. Ten minute guided meditations helped me decompress after twelve-hour long days of work and school.
A learning objective I set at the beginning of the internship was to grow the community through exciting and creative media. After getting hands-on experience learning about the film community as a whole I knew what our audience was looking for. When I took control of the company’s Instagram account we had barely cracked 40,000 followers. Our growth was decent but I knew it had room for improvement.
Instagram is an easy way for us to convert followers into users, so maintaining a highly active presence was important. All of the growth was 100% organic, as I didn’t have a marketing budget to work with. In the time I had control of the account, our follower count grew to 47,200 followers as of December 10, 2019.
My time at Industry Jump taught me about the film industry, communication, and myself. I was able to apply class concepts to real-world scenarios and immediately see the impact of my work. Ultimately, I decided that I enjoy the environment of a startup but I want more stability in my career. In the future, I hope to be involved with startups in different capacities such as investing or management consulting.
For Chapman students who are planning to intern during the college career, I have two pieces of advice: First, think long and hard about the kind of environment you’re looking for. Maybe an internship at a specific company sounds impressive to your friends and family but it’s not really the right fit for you. At the end of the day, you’ll be the one showing up for work and interacting with people. The work environment is a huge factor and it can either make or break your experience.
My second bit of advice is don’t be afraid to talk to your boss. They have so much experience and insight and they want to help you succeed. You also never know what opportunities are on the horizon and staying connected with your boss can help you find future success.
I’m incredibly grateful for the experience I had this semester. While I’m excited to have some free time, I’m going to miss the craziness that comes with growing a new venture. Industry Jump is a great company with thoughtful leadership and I’m excited to see how the company develops in the future.