Summer internship

Claire Fisher

Internships can provide a lot of experience for students who are looking to expand their talents. Many positions require that the student be dynamic – and one Grand Valley student learned that this summer during her internship.

Samantha Vlaming went to her summer internship at DropDrop Studios as an editing intern and left with experience in an abundance of roles in the film and video world. Working with GVSU alumnus Zachary Page, Vlaming had the chance to serve as the voice actor for a commercial for GR Forward.

“I really got to put my heart and soul into these projects,” Vlaming said. “I got to have my own creative ideas and really had freedom. In the GR Forward commercial, I even got to try my hand at voice acting.”

According to the GR Forward website, the company developed a 10-year community plan and investment strategy to restore the Grand River and support growth in Grand Rapids’ downtown area.

As creative writer and director at DropDrop Studios, Page worked on the GR Forward video with Vlaming. The commercial highlights activity and growth in Grand Rapids and gives insight into the plan that GR Forward has for the city.

“It was kind of an interesting project because in this very short turnaround time we actually had to do five different camera scenes,” Page said. “I know one of our shoots, Sam (Vlaming) was actually there with one of our camera teams helping them out, just taking footage of just people, events and environments in Grand Rapids to get as much dynamic video footage as possible in that short of time.”

Vlaming was hired as an intern for DropDrop Studios after meeting one of the founders, Cassidy Bisher, on a set for a film. After having a conversation with Bisher on the set, Vlaming kept in touch with him and was eventually offered the internship.

“It was kind of a breeze,” Vlaming said. “I talked to Cassidy while we were at that shoot, and I honestly didn’t know that he was the owner of a company, but he was asking me about my aspirations and what I like to do. Then he sent me an e-mail and asked if I needed an internship.”

Page explained that when looking for interns, DropDrop Studios was looking for someone with an open mind and a willingness to have new experiences.

“The number one things we look for are a desire to work hard, a desire to learn and a desire to try just about anything,” Page said. “Sam had a very articulate way of presenting herself and her goals, she was very open to everything, had a can-do attitude and was a very driven individual.”

Film and video internship coordinator, Joseph McCarger, said that this internship was truly a good fit for both Vlaming and DropDrop Studios because of the opportunities Vlaming was given and the work she did the studio.

“I have to give equal praise to both Sam and DropDrop Studios–this was clearly a really good fit,” McCarger said. “To DropDrop for giving her the opportunities and to her because she’s very sharp and super organized and has made the most of her classwork in the film and video major and it really shows.”

Vlaming said this opportunity to try new things was one of the most exciting parts of her internship. During the internship, she was able to work as a production assistant on set. Vlaming explained this as a “catch-all” job in which she would help with whatever needed to be done on set.

“I got to interact with real people when I was a production assistant,” Vlaming said. “I once had to donate my tank top to a model because she didn’t wear the appropriate clothing to a shoot and I had an extra tank top on under my shirt so she borrowed that.”

The best part about working with interns, according to Page, is the opportunity to learn from them and to have them around to help out with all the things that need to get done. After building this relationship, he says he enjoys helping interns plan for the future.

“You always learn new things when working with interns,” Page said. “I think maybe I’ve learned more from (Vlaming) than she learned from me. The best part is just learning with the interns and building that relationship and getting to see a future unfolding for them while they help with what we’re trying to do as a company.”

Since completing her internship at DropDrop Studios, Vlaming has been asked to help out with more projects and will continue to be offered work in the future.

“(Vlaming) has done a really nice job with the projects that she’s done,” Page said. “We’ve got work coming down the pipe that we’re going to be able to give to her. We know that we can use her in any capacity. She’s been a boom operator, a production assistant, a number of things on set during production and post-production.”

After Vlaming’s experience at DropDrop Studios, she said that she would recommend this internship to other students and encouraged them to do work in the Grand Rapids area as the industry grows.

“Grand Rapids is up there as being a film and commercial industry location and it could be so much bigger if people were to just stay local and work with their connections,” Vlaming said. “If students were to get out there and get their names out and stay local and produce better local projects, it would be a great experience to watch Grand Rapids grow.”