The following week after returning home from having lunch with Wendy during her lunch break I received an unexpected call.
“Is this Mister Wexler?”
“Indeed it is. Who is this?”
“My name is Derek Chambers, I’m the director of the Weismeister internship you recently applied for.”
For a moment I had completely forgotten I had submitted an application because it was a long shot to even get a phone interview for.
The Weismeister internship was a year-long position working alongside some pretty famous movie makers who specialized in CGI. The internship is fairly new; I think this is the third year in existence. It’s very hard to get from what my graphics professors have said. They mostly take seniors who are about to graduate so that if the company is interested in hiring them a spot would be open upon graduation, which normally was right around the corner. I’m still a college freshman. The fact that I got a phone call from them means I could have a shot.
I took a deep breath. “How are you Mister Chambers?”
“Very well Mister Wexler and yourself?”
“Can’t complain. What can I do for you?”
“Well I was just going over your application and just wanted to go over a few things. Just to clear up a question or two.”
“It says here you’re a freshman, is that correct.”
“It also says you’re not only Adobe Certified but in high school you completed most of the introductory classes for your major.”
“Yes that’s correct too.”
“So in essence you’d be graduating a year ahead of most of your peers.”
“More or less, yes.”
“What made you get into this field, Mister Wexler, what drives you?”
I didn’t have to think about this answer.
“90’s action movies. More specifically, Die Hard With A Vengeance. For my tenth birthday my mom and I went to the movies; that’s what we saw. I fell in love with the explosions, the pyrotechnics of its production, and how the train that derailed in the Wall Street station was digitally done; I couldn’t believe it. I had to get myself into the business. I know everything isn’t done the same way but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it look the same.”
“I agree, and I love that movie myself. I remember seeing Die Hard in the theater when it came out. My wife and I were on our third date. It had been a crappy day for me. Seeing Bruce Willis kick so much ass made everything better.”
“Yes! That’s the beauty of movies. For at least two hours a person can forget about their lives and immerse themselves in someone else’s. Its wonderful.”
“It truly is. So when can you start, Mister Wexler?”
“Beg your pardon?”
He laughed. “I have several spots available. The earliest is in two weeks. The latest begins in August. But there’s a catch. The one in two weeks is close to home for you; New York. The spot in August is an extended internship which means instead of it ending the following August it ends the following year in February. We hold those for applicants with impressive resumes and who display impeccable passion for the field. I can tell you have not just the passion but the drive for this business, am I right?”
“I would recommend the August spot to you because it seems to suit what I think you’d be interested in.”
He laid it out for me. The internship would be intense. The first three months I would spend shadowing one of the top designers in the company. The next three months I would be working on a project with him personally. With six months under my belt I would spend the next three being trained to lead my own team. The last six months that team, under my leadership, would produce a 90-minute movie. It would be more than I had anticipated but knew I could handle.
“You said the spot that’s available in two weeks is in New York; does this mean the August spot isn’t?”
“No. It’s in Chicago. You would be given an apartment and a salary. The apartment would be unfurnished so you would have to bring your own things.”
“Like a bed?”
“No we provide all the necessities an apartment requires. But food, sheets, rugs, a TV, things like that would have to come out of your own pocket. You would have another roommate. Its a small private house the company owns. I should warn you though: once you agree to this position and then something comes up where you can’t attend, you couldn’t re-apply for another two years.”
“I thought this was open to only enrolled college students.”
“There’s a grace period of six months after a person’s graduation date that we would accept them in, should their application be as impressive as yours.”
“How long do I have until a final decision is required?”
“Two weeks from today.”
“Do you have a number that I can reach you?”
He gave me his personal cell phone number adding that it wasn’t something he normally did but wanted an answer from me without interruption. We both said goodbye and I just sat there in awe that in six months I would be leaving New York City to live in Chicago for sixteen months.
The internship of a lifetime was my foot in Hollywoods’ door.