Film and television studies major
- By Megan Morley Thomas
In Park City, Utah UVM senior Will Trowbridge was at home at this year's Sundance festival among filmmakers and movie stars. But he's already achieved something most film students — and plenty of professionals — won't. At the festival's premiere of Safety Not Guaranteed, he saw his own name roll by in the closing credits. In May of 2011, the Peterborough, N.H. native spent four weeks on the film's set in Seattle as an assistant to Williston, Vermont-based director Colin Trevorrow.
The story of how Trowbridge landed the internship actually began months earlier, unbeknownst to him, on two exercise machines at a gym in Vermont. There, film and television studies professor Sarah Nilsen, multi-tasking work and fitness, was reading a screenplay when her neighbor on the next machine over struck up a conversation about the film world. Nilsen's gym-mate was Trevorrow. Upon learning about his experience writing, directing and producing, she invited him and his writing partner to her screenwriting class, where students (Trowbridge included) grilled the two on their script.
A sample of his work:
- Seasonal Siblings, a Web series shot and edited by Trowbridge
Other recent student internships:
- Trowbridge interned at Disney in production technology
- Ashley Neuhof interned on Safety and at Paramount Pictures assisting a producer on the Dr. Phil show
"To get on a major production that will likely be released from a major studio is not an easy thing." — Professor Sarah Nilsen
But it was Trowbridge's move after the class, when he approached Trevorrow to continue the conversation, that left an impression on the writer/director. A few months later, Trevorrow called Nilsen asking for Trowbridge's phone number to offer him an internship on his new project, independent film Safety Not Guaranteed, written by Derek Connolly. An invitation — rather than an application — for an internship was a compliment for Trowbridge.
While FTS is dedicated to the study, rather than the production, of the media, faculty are aware that many students have an interest in learning the ins and outs of the production side as well. To that end, professors have done what they can to make connections with alumni and locals to help students in the still-young program. "I seize anyone I can — even at the gym!" Nilsen says. "If I have an opportunity to do anything for students I absolutely try." With Trevorrow on the phone, she asked if he'd be willing to take more student interns. That question secured positions for two more students.
Trowbridge is optimistic about what comes next. "It's been an incredible year," Trowbridge says, "I'm glad to be back in Vermont this fall, but I'm also excited to graduate and see what happens."