Interns and Mistakes
“Jennifer Aniston and your grandmother.”
I was slightly aware of the phrase’s absurdity, but I simply shut my eyes and took the creative leap. I was trying something out-of-the-box for the sake of comedic relief. While I had a hunch that this initial draft wouldn’t make the cut, I had hoped that my brash approach would weasel its way into the final script. On the contrary, the reading of my draft was met with a few chuckles from my team.
Perhaps I was blinded by the narrowness of a lone writer and arrogant with creative freedom. Nonetheless, this line taught me an invaluable lesson that followed me back into the classroom and other writing projects.
Rather than chastise me or use my writing as kindling for a dumpster fire, my team found areas of my work that still held value, and they helped me create a unique, entertaining script that didn’t rely on awkward juxtapositions.
Throughout my internship, the MJM team demonstrated patience and careful guidance. They allowed me to make a knotted mess of the page and unravel the useful threads. Consequently, I adopted a better brainstorming process and felt encouraged to take risks. This acceptance is why I felt comfortable enough to present this draft to them. My internship taught me how to fail graciously and welcome the uncomfortableness.
My advice to employers: be patient and understanding with your interns. Interns may have some college education, but most of us are also learning as we go. When you let us make mistakes, we learn and create better material.
To my fellow interns: if you live in fear of failure, you’ll never take the creative risk, and you won’t advance in your abilities. Mistakes are crucial to developing your skills and relationships with your team and just being a better human.
A week or two later, my team and I had a finished script that hardly resembled the first draft. Trial and error and unconventional concepts are what got us there. Working alongside MJM this summer as a copywriting intern has been nothing short of amazing, and I can only hope that all interns receive the same unwavering support and humility.