Many Southern California bastions of journalism, movie making and other media fields rely heavily on the blood, sweat and – yes, sometimes – tears of interns. But 24-year-old West Hollywood entrepreneur Talan Torriero (pictured) is hoping to speed the progress of a 21st century free labor twist: the virtual intern.
His brand new site CyberInterns.com has initial employer listing fees ranging from $49.00 to $87.00 and he is about to start officially approaching area colleges and universities. Job seekers are not charged, and Torriero adds that if an employer reading this article wants to give the operation a whirl, they can enter the code “FishbowlLA” for a free 30-day trial.
“In the last four years, I have had the opportunity to intern at some pretty incredible places, from Warner Bros. Records to Akiva Goldsman‘s production company,” Torriero tells FishbowlLA via email. “After that, I got the social media bug and decided to switch gears career-wise. I enrolled online at the University of San Francisco and got an internship at Lunch.com.”
The CEO of Lunch.com, J.R. Johnson, previously ran VirtualTourist.com, a pioneering firm in the realm of user-generated content that was sold to Expedia. It was his mantra of thinking ahead and pushing boundaries that eventually sparked Torriero to CyberInterns.com. Certainly, sites like Craigslist.org already provide localized intern job listings, but if Torriero can unify it all under the umbrella of value-add and maintain free access for job seekers, he might be onto something.
“I had to go through a ton of different websites until I found virtual internship opportunities,” he recalls. “I said to myself, there has to be a website that just caters to virtual interns looking for jobs.”
Fittingly, Torriero is currently virtual-interning for CoverAwards.com, an online publication run out of New York by Mark Pasetsky, a former editorial exec at OK! Magazine, Life & Style and MTV Networks Online. He talks to his boss a couple of times a week to ensure he is running the social media aspects of the operation the way Pasetsky sees fit. “I am living proof that this process can be very seamless,” Torriero insists.
Cyber interning also fits in nicely with Torriero’s separate career as an actor. He appeared in the 2010 feature film The Killing Jar and most famously was a 2004-05 first season player on the MTV reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County.
Update – 02/07/11: Torriero has secured an undisclosed amount of angel funding, which he will use to redesign the website.