Welcome!

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu

My name is Klarissa Grullon. I’m a student at New York City’s College of Technology, currently pursuing a BFA in Communication Design. I’m interested in video/motion graphics, illustration, graphic design and photography. I enjoy reading novels and graphic novels, catching up on shows, listening to my favorite music, going outdoors to have new experiences, and hanging out with my cousin’s cat, Coco.

It seems that you have stumbled upon my internship blog site! Expect to find updates on my experience with my first internship during the summer of 2023. I’ll talk about how I got my internship, how I feel about working remotely, the projects I’ll be working on, and much more.

Thank you for reading.

My Role as an Intern

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

The overall goal of the project I’m a part of is to create informational videos about all Bachelor degrees offered at City Tech for prospective students looking to apply. The videos cover information on each individual field and on what is required for admission to each degree.

My job as an RF Technician is to work on two video projects about the Computer Systems Technology program. Every technician is assigned a different degree. I have to do research on the program and record it on an outline on Google Docs, making sure the text is well written and the sentences are clear to understand. My supervisor can edit the document and leave me notes on what to revise. After the research is approved and edited after feedback, i have to transfer the information from the written outline to an After Effects document. 

I don’t have to create the video from scratch. Since all videos in this project follow the same layout, I’m provided with previous work to change and edit. (This project had started previous semesters ago, with the AAS degrees at City Tech as the main focus.) I change the text, the images, icons, colors and slide lengths in the already existing composition. I record a scratch track, a placeholder voice-over of the script to combine with the visuals, to help guide me in properly timing the slides. After finishing the visuals of the project, i have to bring it into Premiere Pro to work on the audio aspect. Here i add the final voiceover, provided to me by another employee on the team, and any necessary music and sound effects. 

The editing process is not linear. For each new file version I make and send to my supervisor, he may send me back in to make more changes. I also need to reflect those changes in the Google Doc if any sentences were re-worded, so that the information can stay consistent throughout.

As a remote intern I’ve had to log my work hours into a time-sheet and submit them to my supervisor for approval. I think that is something worth mentioning since I have never needed to do that for a job before, and I’ve learned that it is something important to stay on top of, especially if you want to be properly compensated for your work.

On Working Remotely

Photo by Tranmautritam

For this internship, I have been working from home and so far it has been an enjoyable experience. I like being able to work in my own space. I also appreciate that this position is flexible and I was allowed to make a schedule that accommodates my other responsibilities and daily commitments. I chose to work from 10:00AM until 4:00PM, and it helps me balance my days. By working remotely, I also get to save a little time and money on transportation costs, as well as money on outside lunches, so thats a plus too.

This is is my first working-from-home job, but i can compare it to when I took online classes at City Tech during the pandemic. Remote classes weren’t so bad, but it definitely stressed me out at the time. The first two semesters I took online went very well for me. But after that I couldn’t focus anymore. It was a tough time for me, and for many others, I’m sure. Taking multiple classes, having to stay on video calls and sit at the same desk for 3 hours, was not so easy. It started getting hard to avoid distractions and motivate myself to finish my work. On top of that, the pandemic itself was still ongoing. But i do know i learned a lot from that experience and today i am much better at managing my time and responsibilities. I’ve learned how important self-discipline is, and I’m able to implement that while I’m working remotely now in order to do better.

I believe that one of the most important skills to have in order to successfully work-from-home, is to learn how to manage your time. I try my best to plan out my tasks by priority level. I also loosely plan out my week, to keep track of my classwork, other responsibilities and chores. Something I try to avoid is spending too much time overworking on one aspect of a project. I’ve learned that if you’re stuck on something, it’s better to take a break and come back to it later with a fresher perspective (Something I’ve definitely suffered with before). And breaks – they are so important. I take little breaks every now and then, especially if there is some down time, so that I don’t burn myself out by sitting at my desk and staring at my screen for too long.

One last thing I learned that is essential to prioritize while working remotely, is communication with your team or supervisor – whomever you’re working closely with, to make sure everyone is on the same page. I always want to be sure that I am on the right path, so I appreciate receiving feedback as well.

Meeting with Clients

For my internship, my supervisor organized a consultation with the client, a professor from the Computer Systems Technology department at City Tech. She was nice and enthusiastic about working with us, and I feel like that helped us have a more open discussion about the project. Since we’re working remotely, the meeting was held on zoom. We shared the information we had researched and outlined in a google doc about the degree program with her. For the most part, she was content with what we had already. It felt good to know that in the client’s eyes I had done a good job with the initial research. 

The client gave us beneficial feedback. She asked us to add in some more specific details and change the wording of some phrases. She also specifically asked that any images we introduced into the project be more inclusive and diverse of women and people of color because they are least represented in the Computer Systems industry. We plan to meet with her again in a few weeks when we finalize our first rough drafts for the project, so that she can give us more feedback to refine it further.

These consultations are great to ensure that everyone is on the same page about what the project goals are and what the timeline is. I had never met with a client before, and this first time was an interesting and positive experience. For my own projects for previous classes, I spend a lot of time critiquing my own work, getting feedback from a professor. But for this internship, I just have to worry about doing what the client wants, putting my skills to the test. It’s intriguing to have someone else be the main critic instead of myself. Although I do still have opinions on the work being done, and I could make suggestions as an intern from a designer point of view if I felt inclined to, but in the end the client will be making all the decisions.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Self Evaluation as Intern

Being a part of this internship has challenged me in many ways. I’ve had to work on my time-management, organization, prioritization and self discipline. I’ve grown a bit better at communicating with team members and asking for help as well as feedback when I need it. I usually try to find all the answers to my questions on my own, but I’ve learned that it’s okay for me to ask for assistance when I need it. I am not expected to know how to do everything, especially not as an intern.

Photo by Yasin Aydın

Another part of myself that has grown during this internship is my skillset. I’ve learned to use After Effects more efficiently for video editing. I have struggled using it in previous classes, but I can say that I’ve gotten the hang of it (at least the essential parts of the program) during this internship. Although, a lot of the work process involves recycling templates, slides and assets in After Effects from previous projects, instead of making them from scratch. That is something I wish I had the opportunity to try and learn how to do more of. Overall I enjoyed getting to practice motion design and learning about professional industry methods while doing so.

Ethics in Design 2A & 2B

So far for my internship class I’ve done a lot of reading about designer contracts and how to be more ethical in design when it comes to photography, illustration, and copyright.

2A) Ever since I started majoring in graphic design related classes (since I started college in general really), I’ve always felt the need to be more cautious when it came to getting and using information online from different creators or sources. A little voice inside my head will automatically go: “Is it okay for me to use this photo for class?” or “How do I credit this sentence?” I remember learning to use quotes and cite them properly for many argumentative essays in English Comp classes and I compare that with design copyright. 

With time I’ve accumulated better practices from what I’ve learned in design classes when it comes to using other creator’s content for my work. I do my best to credit photographers and illustrators, and to accordingly cite my sources when it comes to written text. 

If I could, I’d love to take my own photographs or make my own illustrations because those are also fields that interest me. But I know it’s not always doable or realistic to create everything from scratch on your own. And that’s why it’s great that there are so many designers, artists and photographers with unique styles looking to put their work out there. It’s important that they get properly and righteously compensated for when they do.

2B) On the Shepard Fairey Case, in my opinion a lot that situation could have been avoided if Fairey would have credited Garcia and the Associated Press for their Obama photograph. But I do think Fairey was unethical on more than one count in this case. He removed the Garcia Obama image’s copyright notice, he registered the Hope poster’s copyright as his own original creation, he tampered with evidence that would’ve proven he was using the Garcia Obama photo and not the Garcia Clooney photo that he originally thought he had used, and he claimed his work was not commercial when he clearly received profit from his creation. 

‘Hope’ Poster, Shepard Fairey

I can see how his work was transformative and definitely looks more “idealistic” than “realistic” in comparison to the original photograph, but when you look at the poster you can still tell that the creation’s likeness is taken and edited from a photograph. I also don’t think it takes away the fact that the original image was still used while owned by someone else. I do believe there’s good in seeing other’s artwork as inspiration and using them as references, but Designer’s need to be discerning and respectful in how they do that. It’s good idea to stay up to date with copyright laws when you work in design and similar fields.

Sources

  • “Use of Photography” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA.
  • “Guide to Copyright” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA.
  • Kennedy, Randy. “Shepard Fairey Is Fined and Sentenced to Probation in ‘Hope’ Poster Case.” The New York Times, 7 September 2012. https://archive.nytimes.com/artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/shephard-fairey-is-fined-and-sentenced-to-probation-in-hope-poster-case/ 

Reflection of Internship Experience

My first internship has been a good experience. It’s also been my first remote job in which I got to work individually for the most part, I got to make my own flexible schedule to fit my work/life balance. I’ve had positive interactions learning to communicate better with my supervisor, coworkers and clients. I’ve learned more software skills in Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. I’ve grasped better ways to organize myself and promote my self-disciple in order to get my work done on time. I feel like I even learned about the Computer Systems degree I was working on because of all the research I had to gather about it. Which initially I didn’t know much about.

Photo by Donald Tong

Overall I feel like this summer I’ve gained an upper hand in experience that will help me in any future motion design endeavors I may choose to pursue. I’ve also decided to keep working on these projects for the remainder of the year with RFCUNY, so I will continue to gain more practice in this area.

The Company: Research Foundation Of CUNY

RFCUNY Logo

The Research Foundation of the City of New York (known as RFCUNY) is a not-for-profit educational organization founded in 1963. RFCUNY supports CUNY faculty and staff in identifying and obtaining external support (pre-award) from government and private sponsors and is responsible for the administration of all such funded programs (post-award).

As its name states, RFCUNY is focused in New York City and is a pretty large organization that has grant offices located in all its 25 partnered CUNY institutions. In 2021, they had 10,553 full and part-time employees.

My job title is that of RF technician: video editor and motion designer. The project I’m working on is sponsored by a NSF (National Science Foundation) grant. It falls under the Academic Affairs department.

Source

  • Research Foundation of CUNY. https://www.rfcuny.org/rfwebsite/about/overview/. Accessed June 2023.

On Collaboration

For the most part, I’ve been working individually during this internship. I know that working in teams can be beneficial, but personally I enjoy being able to get my tasks done on my own. It is still a collaborative effort, in the sense that everyone involved is working on 2 videos each, in order to collectively produce 13 videos by the end of the summer semester. 

Teamwork comes in more when creating the final voice overs. I need to make sure the outline and scripts i produce are clear, correct, and that all information correlates with what’s on the video. It’s important that I do my part correctly so that when my coworker creates the voice over, they can also do it right. If i make a mistake at that stage of the process it will definitely reflect in their work, and we may have to re-do things with a short amount of time on our hands.

Photo by Anna Shvets

And of course, most of the collaboration comes from working with my supervisor when it’s time to edit the outline. We both have access to work on and make changes to the outline and scripts. We meet often during the research phase of the process to discuss the inputted information, come up with clearer ways to express a statement, give suggestions, talk about revisions, meet with clients, and simply bounce different ideas of each other in order to come up with the necessary solutions. When I get to building and editing the project files, I do that on my own.

Obtaining an Internship

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Photo of individual handing a resume to another individual.
Photo by cottonbro studio

Towards the middle of my Spring 2023 semester at City Tech, I began searching and applying for internships because I knew I wanted to take that class in the Summer. I didn’t have a portfolio at the time, so little by little I put together some of my better work on Behance. I relied heavily on the Communication Design Internship Coordination Site to look for rising opportunities, but I also looked for job posts on LinkedIn and Indeed. I applied to a few graphic design oriented internships, but only heard back from a couple.

The first possible employer that answered my application was a print/production business. They wanted an intern to work on social media for their company. They asked me a couple questions about my design and social media skills via email. In the end, they decided I wasn’t a good fit for this role because they were primarily a B2B company, and they believed my experience was more suited for B2C businesses. 

The second employer that answered my application was for a graphic designer that was looking for interns to help create graphics and menu layouts for restaurants. I was intrigued at this opportunity because I currently work at a restaurant, so I have experience seeing menu’s and indoor restaurant signage/promotions. They gave me an interview date and I was somewhat excited and nervous about it at the same time. But in the end I canceled it, because another opportunity was presented to me.

A couple days before that interview was supposed to happen, a professor from City Tech reached out to me about an internship opportunity under his supervision for the Research Foundation of CUNY. In his email, he explained that the job involved editing informational videos about bachelor degree programs offered at City Tech. He thought I could be a good fit for it, since he had seen my work in previous classes. I accepted his offer immediately, because this experience involves more practice in video/motion editing, which is an area in design that I am most interested in learning about. I’m grateful that I did.