[sorry this is long] I recently took up an unpaid internship with a VERY prominent photographer. I've been freelancing for a few years, but want to know more about the business and how a large scale operation like this guy's is run. Mostly it was curiosity. I've been there 2 months and there is no culture of education. It's "pick up tid bits along the way" if you manage to be in the same room at the same time something amazing is happening. I'm starting to feel like Cinderella. Today at an important shoot with a Disney celebrity, when I asked if I could shadow the lighting crew, I was told, yes, but only if my tasks were done. Fair deal, right? Wrong. I spent the entire day sitting at an electronic gate letting people in an out. People would come by about once an hour to be let in. The first 3 hours, I sat on the curb until I moved to my car. I was also told all us interns would rotate out at the gate, but was later told it was MY job for the day. I went into the studio for about an hour, but spent most of that time cleaning up the kitchen. I was later allowed to help the crew break down the set, but was immediately traded back to the gate for a man. Since I had a lot of time to think today, I realized that I could do exactly what I'm doing at a restaurant, not learn anything, and at least make minimum wage! So why was I volunteering my time to clean the kitchen and sit at a gate all day? Not working on the shoots or anything else meaningful? In the 2 months I've been there, I've hardly even touched any equipment. This appears to be a period of hazing, but I'm the only one getting hazed. The other issue is, I don't get any face time with the photographer and because he's burnt out by the lifestyle and doesn't even live in Los Angeles, is hardly enthusiastic about his job anymore. It's not about seniority because interns with less time than me were working on set. Did I piss someone off? If so, they're not acting like it. In fact, it's all la-dee-da, everything is fine, go work the gate. A month ago, at a bigger shoot with more talent and crew, no one worked the gate. It felt like outright punishment, but if I could figure out why, I'd be alright. Are all internships this bad or this out of the ordinary? I agree it's not all fun and games, but like I said, there is no culture of education and I'm not really learning anything I couldn't learn working at a restaurant or working TFP on an indie film crew. Am I overreacting or shouldn't I expect to work the shoots in some meaninful way? I give up 30 hours a week for this internship and I'm getting nothing in return. What should a proper internship look like? Advice??