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From Intern to Employee – The Kavaleer Experience

11 August

Here at Kavaleer we really believe that interning has replaced the traditional job interview, and have many employees that first joined us as interns. After the recent Irish Times article (below) we thought we’d post a wee interview with John McAleer and Shane Reidy, two former interns and now full time Kavaleer staff members about their experiences.

Q. What did you do before you began your internship with Kavaleer Productions?
John: I was a graphic designer for a marketing firm
Shane: I was a student at DCU studying multi-media

Q. How did you come to be an intern at Kavaleer Productions?
Shane: As part of my studies at DCU I completed an internship at Kavaleer Productions. After I graduated I then came back to Kavaleer.
John: I was working in the design industry for nine years and a friend of mine from Kavaleer mentioned they were looking for interns and so I decided that I would go for it. It was something different that I had never done before.

Q. What were your responsibilities as an intern? How have these changed?
Shane: The internship was a great opportunity to show the guys what we could do so anybody that needed help with anything I was there. I have started to work more with V-effects for film since then.
John: I began working with flash animation and learning the INS and outs of e-learning projects. My responsibilities have grown since then.

Q. How did the internship prepare you for full-time employment?
John: I was already in full-time employment before my internship at Kavaleer. But as I had never worked with an animation company, the internship gave me the opportunity to get a wide-scope of the process and the hard work that goes into producing the final product.
Shane: The internship gives you the chance to experience work in a studio first hand. You really get a feel for the smaller aspects of animation that they don’t teach you in college and you also get a much better understanding of the technical aspects.

Q. How important do you think internships are in the current economic climate?
John: I think internships are important in any economic climate and not just during a recession. Internships benefit everybody, the business and the person completing the internship. The business gets to enjoy the benefits of the intern’s skills at no extra cost, while the intern receives the experience that will allow them to further their chosen career. Internships are an investment for both parties.
Shane: Internships really give you a chance to prove yourself and show potential employers what you are really capable of. It is also a low risk investment for the business; they are investing in skills and labour at no extra cost. I think if you prove you are enthusiastic to learn and to make the effort, you will get the most out of your internship.

Q. What advice would you give to somebody hoping to make it in the animation industry?
John: I would recommend that you work hard, put in the hours when required and also remember to stay on top of technological advances. Technology is constantly changing and improving so to be the best in this business you need to be ahead of the game and aware of this.
Shane: It is useful to narrow down what area of animation you are interested in and develop your skills in this area. This will really help you when it comes to selling yourself in a job interview. If you narrow down your niche and work hard to be the best in this area you will be doing well. As John said, keep working hard and always up to speed with changes in technology.

Q. What are your hopes for the future?
John: We are very fortunate in the design industry that we have not been quite so hard by the recession so my hope is that we continue to survive.
Shane: I hope to make a film in the future, a short film about World War II, maybe. At the moment I have very limited time to work on this but that’s the joy of working in this industry, we are doing something we love so when we do it outside of work it doesn’t feel like we are working.
John: That is what I love about this job; work and home blend in together because you enjoy both equally.

Q. What has been your best experience at Kavaleer Productions so far?
Shane: The best moment for me was sitting in the cinema and seeing my name appear in the credits. It feels really rewarding to be acknowledged for your work. It feels great to work on something that you love so much. It doesn’t feel like a job which makes it ten times easier to get up in the morning because you know it’s going to be a good day. Gary and Andrew foster a great working environment and the Kavaleer studio is filled with community spirit, nobody minds helping each other which you don’t find in many businesses.
John: The best part of this experience was to go from an intern to a designer and then a studio manager. Also to be given the chance to draw again after ten years was great. I really think more companies should look into internships; it really is investing in the future and investing in new resources. If you make an impression, you never know where you may end up working. You could be working your dream job like me and Shane.

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