Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

UT College of Liberal Arts Alternative Breaks Project

Spring 2015 Site Review

Position: Alternative Breaks Documentarian
Student: Government Sophomore

My film internship is managed by UT’s College of Liberals. Radio-Television-Film Expert Mystie Pineda mentored and supervised myself and one other student for the semester. Our task was to create promotional videos about the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement’s first Alternative Breaks trips. Alternative Breaks (AB) are college trips during Spring Break where students travel to part of the US and do service work for one week. My job was to collaborate with Mystie, my film partner, and the AB staff to create the final promotional videos. The internship had three phases. The first part was learning to use camera equipment and collaborating to envision what the final videos would look like. The second part was filming both in New Orleans and before/after the trip. The last part was editing hours of raw footage to make powerful short videos. 

On a typical day during the first stage of the internship, my partner and I would meet with Mystie in her office or at a previously discussed location on campus. She would bring film equipment with her and ask us to set up an interview shot. We would usually spend about two hours trying different shots and lighting set ups. Then we would watch back our video and Mystie would critique it. If there was still time, we would watch videos on YouTube or ShortOfTheWeek.com that exemplified good film and lighting.

In the second phase of the internship, my partner and I would schedule and conduct interviews with participants. Before and after going to New Orleans, Mystie would rent out nice rooms on campus and we would interview three or four people in one day for about 10 minutes each. We would also go to AB meetings and film students’ discussions, presentations, etc. While in New Orleans, we would film non-stop. We filmed on site and interviewed nearly 15 people including local members of the NOLA community.    

The last part of the internship is the most time consuming. Each week, my partner and I edit two videos each in the FAC and PCL using Final Cut Pro X. Time spent editing can range from 3 hours per week to 10+ hours per week. Mystie meets with us once a week to help with any problems we face and every week we meet with AB staff to make sure our videos are inline with their vision

Spring 2015 Site Review

Position: Alternative Breaks Documentarian
Student: Economics Senior

My job title is Director of Photography and Cinematographer. While we were on the trip In New Orleans each day was essentially the same thing. Wake up at 6:30 or 7:00, eat breakfast with the rest of the group, wait for AB crews to leave for their sites, and then decide which site to film at first. The other intern and I would usually alternate days.
One day we would go to the Community Garden first, the next to the roofing crews. Once at a site, I would shoot BRoll for 1-2 hours at a time depending on the footage I could get. You don’t necessarily need to shoot that much BRoll. But it can’t hurt to have extra and It’s fun.

Each day the interns would do 2 interviews a day. We already had the names of whom we wanted to interview so we would just go pull kids out of their build group for a few minutes. We would never spend more than 2 hours with each build group.

We kept bouncing between the Garden and Roof. Around 3:00 p.m. both of the groups would pack up and head back to CELSJR for dinner and reflection.After dinner we would often do an entire group activity or go somewhere around New Orleans. If not, we would all just hang out and talk about our day, sports, food, etc. Not having electronics is very freeing and you really have the ability to just listen and be heard. There are no distractions.

If you are in interested in doing this internship then you should remember to be alert for change or a really cool shot and always open-minded. Be open to those around you and you will have a much better time.


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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508
    512-471-7900