What its like to intern at Warner Bros., according to 3 who did it

  • 3 former Warner Bros. interns shared their experience in the program, as well as its perks. 
  • They shadowed team members, attended early screenings, and got swag bags, studio tours, and more.
  • They also received access to mentorship and support when the pandemic cut their internships short.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

If you’re a young professional hoping to break into the entertainment industry, an internship at Warner Bros. can be a great place to start.

The 98-year-old company operates in more than 30 countries, releases films in more than 120 territories, and employs 8,000 people worldwide. It’s ranked No. 30 on career-research site Zippia’s list of 100 best media companies to work for, ahead of the likes of The Walt Disney Company and Paramount Pictures.

What’s more, those who work there rate it highly, according to Glassdoor, which reports a 4 out of 5 rating, an 80% approval rating of WB’s CEO Ann Sarnoff, and that nearly 80% of employees would recommend working there to a friend. 

According to WB’s job posting for spring 2020 digital-marketing interns, the studio is “always on the lookout for energetic, creative people to join our team.” 

Insider spoke with two current students and one recent grad who applied last year and got the job. They shared what it’s really like to participate in the program, as well as some perks they got out of it that went above and beyond their $15 an hour pay.

Gigi Robinson, a social-media strategist and designer who’s a master’s student at the University of Southern California, described the WB internship as a “total score.”

Gigi (1)

Gigi Robinson.

Courtesy of Gigi Robinson

“If I were to be offered the position again as an intern, I would 100% take it,” she told Insider.

Among Robinson’s many duties during her WB stint were researching the latest TikTok trends and updating release schedules for international theaters, which she said were constantly changing because of COVID-19.

Liliana Armendariz, who graduated in May from Chapman University and now works as a service specialist for Apple, continually applied for a WB internship throughout undergrad before finally landing the opportunity.  

Liliana Headshot

Liliana Armendariz.

Courtesy of Liliana Armendariz

Armendariz’s role as a digital-marketing intern for WB’s worldwide theatrical digital marketing department involved responsibilities such as researching marketing and trends, reading scripts and books, and contributing to strategy brainstorms. 

“One of my biggest goals during my time at Chapman was to get an internship at a major studio,” Armendariz told Insider. “Warner Bros. had always been a dream of mine. I knew I would have had to work hard to get noticed by such a sought-after company.” 

Exposure to different departments and staffers

Jack Bolen, a senior at UCLA who’s now an intern at Disney, where he’ll be continuing in a corporate-strategy role this summer, told Insider that he got to work with “so many exciting departments” at WB and that interns get plenty of exposure to the inner workings of the studio. His internship involved conducting research for WB’s television division.

Armendariz enjoyed meeting senior executives and the fast pace of the environment. 

“I was invited to the majority of the meetings, both for my team and the departments, and afterwards, the coordinator or manager would check in to see if I had questions about the topic or what my thoughts were,” Armendariz said. “They truly wanted me to learn.”

She even got to shadow some of her team members, which helped her learn about the different positions and “how the hierarchy levels work.”

The first person she shadowed was a creative manager. One meeting she found “extremely interesting,” she said, was about how her team should design or create a graphic lens for a social-media platform. 

“I thought my team was more strategy based, but seeing how the creative manager worked creatively, I got more insight on how this team works,” Armendariz said, noting that before beginning the workday her creative manager often took her out for coffee to spend time getting to know each other. 

“Eager to learn her career journey, she reciprocated on my early career journey,” Armendariz said. “Til this day we still keep in touch.”

Robinson said she was also able to sit in on a majority of meetings as an intern but noted a “significant amount of internal bureaucracy.” 

“It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. It is simply how the industry is,” she said. 

She also found the role “way less hands-on and more administrative,” she said, adding that a lot of her job involved updating spreadsheets and doing competitive analysis.

“I am so creative on an individual level that ultimately, I would not want to work in a structure as such,” Robinson said. “At the studio, I was essentially just one small piece of a much larger marketing strategy — we’re talking million-dollar budgets — and I did not really enjoy that.” 

What she did appreciate though was when her team asked her to make and send them her video of the “#ScoobDance” for a highlight reel, which they posted on their official Instagram and TikTok feeds.

Bolen said his role was specifically focused in research for Warner Bros. Television. He was amazed at all the collaboration that goes on between WB and outside partners. 

“I found it to be one of the most interesting parts of my experience,” he said. 

“If you want something tech-oriented with a fast-paced startup culture, then

would be a great fit for you,” Bolen said. “If you want to dive into TV-show pilots with focus groups, the TV-research department would be your place. We even had neuroscientists working on advanced applications in TV research. Warner covers all the bases, making it a very exciting place to work.”

An inclusive culture

Armendariz’s role involved presenting decks to the team. She said she found her team to be collaborative and attentive to her work. 

“One project I worked on was ‘The Witches,’ which is on HBO Max now,” she said. “I spearheaded a comprehensive deep dive comparing the script, book, and the original film to pull out marketing opportunities and watch-outs.” 

As an intern, Armendariz had expected to be more of an observer during team meetings but soon found that wasn’t the case. Her team consisted of a senior vice president, creative directors, managers, and coordinators, and she said they particularly valued her Gen Z perspective.

She added that diversity within the department was a positive influence on her experience. 

“As a Latina myself and seeing people of color in this corporate level, I felt safe and empowered,” she said.

While Armendariz said she couldn’t really gauge how many people of color were in the department, she noticed that there were “so many women in the department” and that the culture felt inclusive. 

“Especially seeing that there were women of color in this position giving their insights and perspective during meetings, it showed me that the department does care for all different types of voices,” she said. 

Swag bags, free studio tours, prescreenings, and recruiter access

Armendariz said that on her first day, her desk was decorated in a Superman theme to reflect the type of work WB has done and was equipped with a swag bag that included a thermal water bottle, a director-slate picture frame, and a WB-designed pen.

Liliana's WB swag bag

Liliana’s Warner Bros. swag bag.

Courtesy of Liliana Armendariz

A pre-pandemic perk that Armendariz, Bolen, and Robinson all took advantage of was a free Warner Bros. studio tour with the other interns. 

Bolen said the studio tour was his favorite event of the intern program. 

“The team booked the whole intern cohort a bunch of trams with private tour guides to show us around the lot,” Bolen said. “We got to go inside the WB archives and see costumes from ‘Harry Potter,’ the DC comics, and tons of wacky items in the prop warehouse. We even saw the real Batmobile from ‘The Dark Knight.'” 

The interns also got to attend an early screening of “Birds of Prey” in the theater on the WB lot. 

“One fun fact is that while most outdoor sets are just fake building facades, the WB’s downtown set actually has a fully functional movie theater inside,” Bolen said.

When a title launched, Armendariz said, the department always had some kind of celebration.

For example, when “Birds of Prey” was released, the departments had a cotton-candy stand that was decorated with elements from the movie. 

“One swag item I was able to get my hands on was a Harley Quinn Funko Pop! pen,” Armendariz said.

Additionally, interns had access to a panel of recruiters from different departments who shared helpful tips and insights to leverage when applying to jobs, which Armendariz described as “informative and effective.” 

“The major tip I took was to be intentional,” she said. “As interns we were told that when applying to jobs, you want to cater your résumé to that position, and when writing your cover letter show your passion and why you’re applying — to represent yourself as a brand.”

Robinson particularly appreciated that the interns could go onto the studio lot at any time — as long as nothing was being filmed — and could buy lunch from the lot cafeteria, which she said was “pretty good.”

Gigi at WB1

Gigi Robinson on the set of “Friends.”

Courtesy of Gigi Robinson

“They had a variety of cuisines — a sandwich counter, salad bar, burger counter (switched to be a breakfast counter in the morning), a wok bar, and a burrito bar,” Robinson said.

While none of the three interns had any personal encounters with celebrities on the WB lot, Bolen shared that “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is filmed there, which brings a steady stream of celebrity guests into the vicinity. 

“During my internship, guests who came on the show included Kris Jenner, Justin Bieber, and Demi Lovato,” Bolen said. While WB employees are able to go to tapings, Bolen said it never worked with his schedule.

Armendariz said she was “starstruck” being on the lot. 

“There were often crews around filming, and the atmosphere felt really inspiring,” she said. 

Support during the pandemic

The three interns landed their gigs in November 2019 and started working in mid-January 2020 — right as COVID-19 was beginning to spread. 

While the internship had been scheduled to run through the end of April, the pandemic cut it short. Robinson said her last day in the office was March 8, with the internship being fully canceled March 10 — but she said she was paid for the entire program.

Bolen said WB cared for its interns throughout the early days of COVID-19. Because interns were compensated through the end of their contract, none of the interns had to panic about immediately finding another job, even though they couldn’t come back on the lot.

“It wasn’t possible to convert the internship to remote work on such a short time frame, but I think they did an excellent job of working with the circumstances at hand,” Bolen said.”We still received all the benefits that we expected through our end date, including having access to the recruitment team for questions,” he said. 

Jack photo taken on his last day as WB intern on WB studio lot

Jack Bolen, a 2020 Warner Bros. intern.

Courtesy of Jack Bolen

The most memorable moment of Bolen’s WB internship came on his final day with the company.

“The other intern in my department and I learned that same day that we wouldn’t be coming back to the studio due to COVID, so we had the afternoon to collect our things before going home,” Bolen said. “We ended up being the last to leave our building, with everyone gone by the early afternoon.” 

The pair decided to have a last-hurrah photoshoot around the empty studio lot, taking pictures on New York Street — a permanent outdoor New York-themed space that’s one of the most famous sets on the WB lot —  and by the iconic water tower.