Axelle is currently a cinematography and film/video production intern at American High in New York. During her undergraduate career, Axelle worked with an Israeli production company where she served as a researcher and production assistant on a documentary film. Prior to this, Axelle was an actress from the age of 5. It wasn’t until she began university that she realized that the other side of the camera is what she’s truly passionate about. It sparked her interest in cinematography prompted her to pursue an internship in the world-renowned U.S. film industry.
Axelle’s goal is to be a director and to enhance her understanding of the different stages of film production – from pre-production to post-production – and to build her film editing techniques. She discusses her internship experience in the United States with InterExchange and how it has helped shape her film/video production skills
InterExchange: Tell us about your internship search process. How did you find your host?
Axelle: “When I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree, I did an exchange semester at Syracuse University in New York, and my professor loved my work. He referred me to American High, so I did an interview with the company and did some sample tasks to show what I can do. After that, they liked my work and decided to offer me an internship!”
InterExchange: What was a typical day at your internship like? What are some professional goals that you have achieved?
Axelle: “During my internship, I have read a lot of scripts and I give my opinion and suggestions about them to help better develop the script. I also participate in Zoom meetings with screenwriters, directors and producers to try and find the next best script that will eventually be produced. In the last movie we shot, I was able to train directly with the director, which was an amazing opportunity to learn by firsthand experience.
By training closely with the director, participating in all the meetings, and creating the movie, I feel much more prepared to become a director one day. I’ve also been on set, talking to all the different departments such as costume designers, props, sound, camera and asking a lot of questions. I’ve been actively taking part in the creative process through my training and my opinion was integrated into the movie many times.
I feel like I was able to reach a lot of my professional goals such as, learning how to use Final Draft, shadowing the director so I may learn how to eventually become one, reading scripts and giving my opinion, and networking with incredibly talented people.”
InterExchange: In addition to the professional experience, what did you enjoy most about interning with your employer?
Axelle: “I feel as though my host employer truly cares about my career goals and who I want to become in the future, and they make sure that I learn and get the experience I need to succeed. They also organized company events where we can all bond, like barbecues, wrap parties, going to national parks, and celebrating American holidays. They are very respectful, caring and kind. They really care about my culture as well as theirs.”
InterExchange: Share examples of how you’ve learned more about U.S. culture and how you shared your culture with others.
Axelle: “I constantly speak about Israel and France with anyone who shows interest. I have had deep conversations about my culture and the differences that are visible to me with the American culture so far. I’ve learned about the American culture through leisure bonding events at work, for example – I experienced my first Easter egg hunt ever! On Memorial Day weekend, I went to Rochester, and other times I went to NYC and visited all those different beautiful places. The people I work with are also very patient with teaching me new words and expressions in English.”
InterExchange: What would you tell a friend from your own country to encourage him/her to do an internship through InterExchange?
Axelle: “This has been the best decision I’ve ever made! Professionally, it is an unbelievable learning experience. What I’m learning here on set and at this internship cannot be taught in any university or anywhere else. The practical side of my training is not only enjoyable, but also a huge step from any other opportunity I’ve had so far. I believe that when I return to Israel, I’ll have many exceptional work opportunities offered to me because of my experience here.
On a personal level, being in a foreign country for a year is an experience on its own. Being able to meet so many new people that share the same interests as me or that are completely different from me is something that most people don’t get a chance to do. The routine that many people are dragged into is hard to break and an internship is the perfect opportunity to do something different, enjoyable, fun, and still very meaningful and productive. Interexchange helped me throughout the whole process of getting my visa during COVID which was even more complicated than usual. They were kind, professional and truly cared about my experience here.”
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