Student Voices: Carlos Duralde - Centre for Digital Media
My Experience As a Digital Media Design Intern at Rainmaker
Mar 09, 2016 By Crissy Campbell
An internship is a core component of the Master of Digital Media program. It’s a chance for MDM students to take what they’ve learned and apply it to a work setting. Students accept internships in a variety of industries and roles, and most students are very pleased with the level of hands-on experience that they get, while employers are blown away by the talent and expertise that MDM students bring to the company.
In Fall 2015, Carlos Duralde took an internship as a Digital Media Designer with Rainmaker Entertainment, an animation and design company here in Vancouver. As Carlos explains, the MDM internships are not your typical internships of getting coffee and making copies. Choose your internship right and you could be designing game elements, writing for a TV series or receiving mentorship advice from top CEOs in the games and digital media industry.
Read Carlos’ recap of his internship below as he discusses how the MDM program prepared him to embrace new roles and handle unforeseen deadlines and how the internship far exceeded his expectations.
I enrolled at the Centre for Digital Media because I wanted the opportunity to work on real world projects with talented people in the video game industry as well as other digital media industries. As I completed the program and transitioned to looking for internship positions, I sought the same work environment that would maximize my learning opportunities, working towards my goal of becoming a full-time Game Designer.
As a Digital Media Designer at Rainmaker Entertainment, I found myself in a new environment with the chance to be involved in projects at a scale I’d never dreamed of before. My first project was a continuation of my second client term at school, working on the new ReBoot show and associated digital media components. I quickly became involved with the ReBoot production team to see what progress was being made on the show, and with the President and VP of the company as my supervisors, I was able to gain focused insight into the vision of the show as well as the show’s long-term potential.
The first surprise of the job came in the form of consulting on the scripts from a game design perspective. I was aware before starting in the position that I would have some involvement in looking at the scripts and offering any opinions I could, but I had no idea that I would be in direct communication with the show’s lead scriptwriter. The CDM had taught me how to handle unexpected challenges, and I embraced this new role with all of my enthusiasm, exceeding everyone’s expectations of what I could offer to the writing team.
Once I worked for a month or so on ReBoot, it was clear that I had more to offer. The president, Michael Hefferon, starting giving me opportunities to push myself, and I took each and every one of them. I soon became a point-person, a primary line of communication, between Rainmaker and several high-profile companies. When these companies would visit to learn more about our ongoing projects, I would personally fill them in on any of the projects I was helping on, and I happily fielded all of their questions. Again, this was not a role that I saw myself doing, but one that I found I could do well if I focused and pushed myself.
Another unexpected moment occurred near the middle of my internship: an unforeseen deadline had appeared, and we had only 2 days to put together a crucial proposal for one of Rainmaker’s upcoming TV series’. The CDM had once again prepared me for what to do when seemingly impossible deadlines become a must. I structured my formidable task into small parts and planned how long each one would take. When I saw a blocker, I asked coworkers for help, even those that I knew were just as swamped with work as I was. Never giving up on the job and not being afraid to ask for help were key to allowing me to help finish the proposal on time.
Some of my proudest moments were when I could positively impact the production team members of a project I was working on. While working on a digital experience that could launch with the new ReBoot TV series, I constantly told employees at Rainmaker that if they were interested in testing out the experience, I would love to share it with them. Those who took me up on my offer were thrilled at what I showed them, and ultimately they became even more excited for the series as a whole. I had not been expecting to be able to bring that sort of positive energy as only an intern, and it was indeed a pleasant surprise for all of us.
Overall, my learning goals were far exceeded while working my 4-month internship at Rainmaker Entertainment. I not only got to design game elements and directly input on a TV series that I genuinely cared about, but I also got to receive feedback from people who have been working in the technology and television industry for decades. My supervisors pushed me to every day get better at my job, and that’s something that I will continue to strive for the rest of my life.
"It was a true pleasure to have Carlos a part of the team here at Rainmaker. He brought a great deal of game depth to ReBoot and played a key role integrating game play sensibility into the linear television series. Carlos has great ideas and demonstrated strong initiatives in his work. He fit in well with the team on the project and was a solid addition to the group. We wish Carlos all the best in his future endeavors and hope that we can welcome him back at Rainmaker at some point in the future.”
- Michael Hefferon, Internship Supervisor/President and Chief Creative Officer at Rainmaker.
Carlos is currently employed at V2 Games as a Narrative Game Designer.
Original source: Centre for Digital Media. Reprinted with permission.