Sacrifice and Olive Garden in pursuit of the dream
Working for Sender was Kyle’s dream job throughout college, and when he got an unpaid internship with the company after his senior year, he gave up a paid position at another company in Colorado to pursue it. Following his passion meant long days at Sender followed by waiting tables at Olive Garden, but when Sender offered him a full-time position that fall, the hard work paid off.
“Rock climbing is the first sport that I got passionate about, but I also have a passion for filmmaking. It’s important to combine what you love so that your work doesn’t feel like work,” he said.
To change the world—or not
Kyle says a lot of new college graduates want to change the world—at least he did when he started working at Sender Films.
“In my first few months I was really cocky and thought I could change things, but then I realized that I just needed to work hard. My boss flat-out said to me, ‘We’re not looking for creative people. We’re looking for people who have passion and who work hard.’ “
This is where Kyle’s experience in Calvin’s media production program helped him shift his thinking about his role as a rookie in the workplace. Working on projects at Calvin—including a documentary film shot in New Jersey with Professor Fuller—gave him a work ethic that is pure gold to employers in the film industry.
“The long hours in the editing rooms and shooting on weekends showed me what kind of work ethic was needed to make quality films … and it showed me what it takes to be in this industry.”
While someday Kyle might be the creative genius running a media production company, for now he’s content to spend long days shooting and evenings backing up video files by campfire.
All in the family
Charles Breiner spends his days sitting on a couch. But this isn’t just any couch—it’s the living room couch made famous by Phil and Claire Dunphy of TV's Modern Family.
A 2009 Calvin graduate, Charles is on the production staff as a stand-in on the Emmy-winning show. This means that he works through the scenes for each episode of Modern Family for sound and lighting purposes while the actors who play Phil, Claire, Gloria, Jay and others get their hair and makeup done. Still, he gets plenty of time to be around the actors.
“Ty Burrell (Phil) and Julie Bowen (Claire) are two of the funniest people on earth—they work off of each other so well. It’s crazy because some of the funniest stuff doesn’t even make it to the screen,” he said.
Getting off the couch
In reality, Charles does more than just sit on a couch all day. He’s constantly observing the actors and making sure he understands what the production staff need in a given shot. By paying attention to detail and the various aspects of production, he’s able to do his job well. This awareness comes directly from his experience in Calvin’s media production program, he says.
“If I didn’t have the knowledge and been able to demonstrate what I was doing, I might not have lasted as long as I have. It was clear to my boss that I had knowledge of how things work.”
Though Charles’ primary interest is in film editing, Calvin’s media production program prepared him to understand every part of the production process.
“I’m of the opinion that the more you understand the complete process, the better you’ll be at your specific job. All of these people are working together in such a collaborative art. If you’re able to take all of their roles into consideration, the easier you’ll be able to work collaboratively with them.”
Creating community on campus and on the job
While at Calvin, Charles loved the way Professor Fuller encouraged all media production majors—freshmen and seniors alike—to work and play together—even enjoy dinners at the professor's house.
“Brian really understood the collaboration, how interacting and working with each other is very important for what we do. And from the very first day, he's making sure that we do that. He's so good at tying that in biblically—reminding us of how Jesus called his followers individually, by name. That kind of camaraderie is really valuable while you're at Calvin, and now beyond Calvin.”
As Charles makes his way as a sort of “freshman” in the world of Hollywood, the benefits of community collaboration and plain old hard work make even more sense.
“Your resume is never going to get you hired; your interview and experience will get you hired. So having the ability to do lots of things at Calvin will definitely help you get jobs down the road."