When Tyler Wentworth ’13 turns on the TV this evening, he could encounter something few ever do—a show or commercial that he helped to make.
This past summer, Wentworth interned with dphilms, a production company in Rock Island, Ill. “I freaked out the first time I saw one of my commercials,” Wentworth says. “My dad was in the other room, and I was yelling at him to turn on the TV.”
Early in June, though, it looked like he might never get the experience. Two weeks after the semester ended, he still hadn’t heard back from dphilms about the job. Spurred on by impatient parents, he made a follow-up.
“We’ve got a spot for you,” they assured him. They’d just been too busy to call. After accepting the production assistant internship, he soon found out how busy the business could be.
“Film has always been a side passion for me,” the junior business management major says. He is minoring in visual communications and has always done creative side projects, but working with a production company was a big leap. From developing concepts, finding talent and writing scripts to working on set and helping in post-production, he became familiar with nearly every phase of the production process.
Wentworth got the chance to work on some high-profile projects for dphilms. He met head men’s basketball coach, Fran McCaffery, and head women’s basketball coach, Lisa Bluder, while filming at the University of Iowa, where he ran the teleprompter.
The most recognizable project he worked on was the History Channel program American Pickers. The show follows an Iowa-based crew as they travel the country salvaging antiques. Wentworth worked on two shoots with co-star Danielle Colby-Cushman at the pickers’ Le Claire office.
“I sort of felt famous,” Wentworth says with a laugh. Crowds he helped to quiet outside the shop assumed he was a major Hollywood player. “Danielle came up and talked to me like we were already friends.”
Wentworth also quickly learned the amount of work it takes to get a major TV show ready to air. He watched his dphilms co-workers put in three hours of work to finalize a 10-second segment for American Pickers. At times his work days started at 3:30 a.m. and lasted 16 hours.
Despite the chaotic schedule, Wentworth says his working atmosphere was relaxed and collaborative. “It was really motivating. I could see very clearly the direct impact my efforts had on the project.”
Though he’s not sure his future lies in film, Wentworth is grateful for the experience the internship provided.
“It helped me realize there are a lot of jobs out there,” he says. “I can do what I want to, and I don’t have to compromise on my career.”