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Film / Work Experience

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Work Experience is a 1989 short film (10 minutes) directed by James Hendrie.

An affable young man named Terence (Lenny Henry) dresses up in a suit one day and goes out for job interviews. He waits patiently in a supervisor's office only to find out that the job has already been filled. Several different interviews end in failure. Finally, Terence is moping around a department store when a customer sees his suit and clean-cut appearance, mistakes him for a floor manager, and asks for assistance. Suddenly Terence is helping customers, carrying bags, manning the cash register, and performing all the duties of a job he doesn't have.



  • And the Adventure Continues: Terence is really taking the Refuge in Audacity too far at the very end of the short, when he's putting on a doctor's coat and stethoscope.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The scowling floor manager seems to be suspicious of Terence, as he keeps glancing at him. In fact, he promotes Terence to assistant floor manager.
  • Billions of Buttons: Terence is sent to man a register. There's a shot of all the buttons on the register, which he has no idea how to use. His face briefly shows panic, but after a little trial and error he's managing the register confidently.
  • Brick Joke: Thanks to Terence, a little girl winds up peeing in the supervisor's trash can. At the end of the short the supervisor is rinsing out his trash can with hot water.
  • Compartment Shot: The opening shot shows a door opening which turns out to be the door to an armoire, as Terence pulls a jacket off a hanger.
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  • "Eureka!" Moment: Terence clearly has a moment of realization after two people in quick succession mistake him for a floor manager and ask him questions.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: No more than a few hours at a department store, except for the And the Adventure Continues finale which is uncertainly timed.
  • Hey, Wait!: Terence is BSing with a couple of real employees when the sour-faced manager comes right up to him and says "Just a moment." Has Terence been busted, no, the manager wants Terence to take over while he talks to Greg, who is up for the assistant floor manager job.
  • Match Cut: A clever cut disguises that it's Terence who examines a display of Garfield dolls but the scowling supervisor who stands up from the display of dolls when a customer approaches.
  • Potty Emergency: A father has to find a bathroom for his little girl. Terence, who has no idea where the bathroom is, directs the father to the basement. The little girl winds up peeing in the supervisor's wastebasket.
  • Refuge in Audacity: If you can't get a job, you might as well pretend to have that job. And in fact, at the end of the short Terence gets promoted.
  • Whip Pan: Used to cut from Terence at home to Terence in an office, getting rejected for a job.