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Internship leads to Nashville gig for new grad

Film studies alumnus shoots country music videos for record label

During his sophomore year at MSUM, film studies student Ivan Clow decided that getting an internship would help him secure a good job right out of college. As it turns out, he was right.

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After two summers working with the creative director at Big Machine Label Group in Nashville, Tenn., Clow accepted a full-time position with the company. Just a month after receiving his bachelor’s degree in film studies and a minor in business administration, he is living in Nashville, thankful that his efforts toward arranging internships paid off.

Clow’s internship search started online in 2010 where he discovered the Big Machine Label Group’s website. Familiar with artists on the label such as Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts, he decided to give Big Machine a shot. He sent an email stating that he was a film studies student looking for internships related to his major.

Big Machine responded, saying that the company wasn’t looking for a video intern at the time. Then, one month later, Clow received an email from Big Machine saying it was looking for a video intern.

“They asked to see my resume and some of the video work I’ve done in school,” he said. “I sent them that stuff, and a couple phone interviews later, I got the internship.”

Clow says he will never forget his first summer in Nashville: “I had never done anything professional before. I was just a student. My boss told me to go shoot this concert at the CMA music festival … every night there was this huge show in LP Field (home to the Tennessee Titans). My boss turns to me and says, ‘OK, you’re going down to the very front of the stage, in front of the barricades, and you’re going to shoot our artist Reba.’ I’m down there shooting this artist and there are 60,000 screaming fans behind me. All I’m thinking is, ‘Whoa, am I really doing this right now?’ ”

Big Machine liked his work so much that the company invited him back for the summer in 2011 and then made a full-time job offer in September, three months before he finished his degree.

Clow says working for any company as an intern gives a student an “in” after graduation:  “The experience you get from internships is huge. A lot of what film and video is about is just getting out there and getting that real world experience.”

During his summers with Big Machine, Clow edited photos and videos and sent media out to people, making sure it was ready and in the right format. A couple times a week, he went on shoots doing artist interviews, concerts and music videos.

“At music video shoots, my job was mainly to shoot ‘behind the scenes’ footage,” he says. “My boss’s job, along with the artist and director, was to create the actual music video.”

Even if he hadn’t gotten a job at Big Machine, Clow says having the Big Machine internships on his resume would have helped him secure positions elsewhere because of the practical experience.

In high school, Clow did a lot of theater work including acting, making sets and running the lights. He says his love for movies led him to pursue film and video as a career.

Clow’s job title at Big Machine is “creative assistant/film and photo editor and coordinator.” To see samples of his photography and video, visit his website at www.ivanclow.com.

BY STEVEN KUHLMANN
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