Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SFI Productions

My name is Holden Brown and I am a senior Video and Film Arts Major. Over the summer of 2012, I was an intern at SFI Productions, a tabletop commercial production company located in Long Island City, New York. The production company focuses primarily on shooting beauty shots of products and close‐ups for commercials, using elaborate rigging and lighting set‐ups and high‐speed cameras. The SFI studio and production facility contains two shooting spaces each with its own industrial kitchen, offices, work spaces for visiting clients, and post‐production rooms for color grading and editorial services. SFI has shot commercials for numerous clients, including Adidas, Calvin Klein, Heineken, Joe’s Crab Shack, andBurger King.

While searching for an internship opportunity during my junior year, I learned about SFI Productions through Patrick Wright, the head of the Video and Film Arts Department. He informed me that the company had just generously donated a 35mm camera and film stock to our department and provided me with contact information. After a few conversations through email, I was able to set up a brief, informal interview at their studio in New York, and was hired on the spot! At SFI Productions, my direct supervisor was Chris Simpson, a MICA alumnus, who is the company’s stage manager and still photographer for ad campaigns. I worked directly alongside Zoe Brunn, the production coordinator, and assisted her in managing and organizing each commercial shoot we worked on. During the course of my internship, I worked as a production assistant on four commercial shoots, including commercial shoots for Campbell’s Soup, Dannon Yogurt, Kraft Mac and Cheese, and Bear Naked Granola. My tasks for these jobs ranged from making phone calls, setting up for pre‐production shoots, picking up and dropping off props in the city, filling out paperwork, helping the food stylist and prop master, and assisting on set.

After the Bear Naked Granola shoot, they even allowed me work as an editing assistant, and I put together some rough special effects shots for the rough cut of the commercial, that was shown to the clients. The thing that I am most proud of, however, during my time spent at SFI, was locating and organizing the shipment of cranberries to be used in the Bear Naked Granola commercial. David Nelson, SFI’s Executive Producer, put me in charge of a nearly impossible task: finding fresh cranberries in summer. Cranberries, as I discovered, are a fruit, which are only harvested from mid September to late November. I spoke on the phone with numerous cranberry growers, before finally getting the highest quality frozen cranberries I could find. I even got one of the cranberry farmers to pick and send us cranberry vines from the bog, in order to make the berries appear as fresh as possible in the commercial. The berries I found were used extensively in the final cut.

Interning at SFI Productions was a fascinating, exciting, and rewarding experience. I gained an extensive understanding how the commercial production world works and made a lot of really great contacts, which I have learned, is probably the most important component of success in this industry. Working as an intern for this company has given me the skills and confidence needed to move forward in my pursuit for a career in media and advertising. The experience has shown me that with hard work, dedication, and a good attitude, you can make any career goal a reality.