Asher Trout ’17

Internship: Story Tank Media
Award: Community Scholar
Major: Anthropology, film and new media

A lens on culture: “My internship at Story Tank Media gave me access to the world of independent filmmaking in Portland, Ore.—one of the fastest growing film industries in the country. It also allowed me to work on my anthropology thesis research in my downtime, which is on informal tent villages created by the homeless in Portland.”

Behind the scenes: “My duties ranged from working with Head Filmmaker Kai Tillman on commercial and independent shoots as a production assistant (helping with odd jobs on the set such as jib construction, light placement, camera set up, etc.) and as an assistant director, which involves researching documentary shoots, running the second camera and handling sounds. I also worked with Nili Yosha, head of Outside The Frame, as an assistant editor (organizing footage and editing interviews), and helped teach film workshops for homeless youth.”

Fun at work: “I’ve learned that being easy and fun to work with is the key to getting job offers and recommendations. Learning about lighting, sound recording, different cameras, aftereffects, and how to work with subjects, has made me a better filmmaker and anthropologist—but learning to relax, be comfortable and enjoy myself in professional film settings is, without a doubt, the most valuable skill I have gained.”

Finding support: “The biggest challenge was overcoming my fear of messing up a shoot. I had a nasty habit of freaking myself out about not being as familiar with all of the equipment as everyone else, or not sure if everyone would take kindly to a 21-year-old intern on the shoot. Once I let my guard down, everyone was very kind and over time I became more and more comfortable behind the camera. Some of the filmmakers I’ve met have even offered me help with my anthropological research.”

Favorite moment: “I was working with two professional filmmakers on a commercial shoot when we used only natural light to light the shots. The whole process was very educational and introduced me to a minimalistic approach to lighting that I had not considered much before.”

Collaborative filmmaking: “Wheaton has done a great job of providing me with theoretical know-how and my production classes have given me an idea on how shoots tend to go, the only way to reach any level of professional filmmaking is by actually making films with professionals. The course ‘Production II’ did the most to prepare me for the collaborative filmmaking process. In addition, my anthropology classes have given me a background in documentary research and interviewing that provided me with an edge in many shoots I’ve been on. These internships have been essential part to my Wheaton education around filmmaking.”

More summer internships

Wheaton students gain essential career skills at sites throughout the country and around the world with support from internship funding. These opportunities are part of the college’s commitment to experiential learning formalized through the Wheaton Edge. Return to main page