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Intern Insider: Reitnouer Finds Film in Nashville

A couple of cities across the nation more readily align themselves with the motion picture industry. Of course, there’s Los Angeles and New York, the bastions of the film business. To a lesser extent, tropical locations such as Honolulu and Miami are no strangers to movie crews.

Reitnouer has gained experience in a number of areas of the film industry because of her internship with Hi-Def Entertainment in Nashville.
But nestled away in the middle of Tennessee lies the bustling city of Nashville, now the host to a burgeoning film industry that’s bringing motion pictures to the Midwest and slowly wrestling control away from the coasts. And senior cinema major and Honors Fellow Amy Reitnouer is in on the ground floor.

Reitnouer is an intern for Hi-Def Entertainment, located in Franklin, Tenn., a wealthy suburb of Nashville. She says she essentially works as a producer’s assistant, but she has “yet to get a cup of coffee” or “to go and stand at a copy machine all day.”

Instead, she works closely with a producer named Cat Zappa, so Reitnouer has worked on contracts and negotiations, completed script coverage and filled various roles on the set of Hi-Def’s upcoming release, “Endure.”

“I’m basically working with producers every day,” she says. “It’s been exactly what I had hoped for.”

Hi-Def is a small production company that was established three years ago by three Los Angeles transplants, who all have varying degrees of experience in the film industry. Hi-Def has produced several webisodes and worked on the Jamie Kennedy film “Kickin’ it Old Skool.”  Some of the producers at Hi-Def played a part in the production of the Academy Award winning movie, “Crash,” as well.

Hi-Def’s latest endeavor, “Endure,” is a $30 million production that will be the first film completely developed and produced in the state of Tennessee. The movie is a thriller about a detective who finds a photo of a woman gagged and tied to a tree in the wreckage of a car accident. He and another detective are assigned to the case, as they both attempt to track down the woman in the photo.

At the moment, Reitnouer says producers are working on casting.

“Even if I had been in L.A., there’s no way I’d be working one-on-one with producers doing a $30 million film,” Reitnouer says. “As a result, I’m getting to write up contracts, making calls to agents and to all these different people in L.A., reading tons of scripts, helping with development and deciding what scripts we even get to accept. I’m getting to live it as a producer’s assistant every day, and I’m loving it.”

Reitnouer has been afforded such a wealth of experience because she purposely sought out a cinema internship in a city not necessarily recognized for its film presence. Tennessee was a perfect fit, Reitnouer says, because the city is trying to grow its movie industry. As such, production companies like Hi-Def are small and always looking for motivated interns to take on integral responsibilities.

“I was looking for an alternative to Los Angeles,” says Reitnouer, who fell in love with Nashville after she visited for her 21st birthday in April. “There’s so much else out there in the world. I wanted to see what it had to offer.”

After the quick respite, she says she knew where she wanted to be this summer. Still, she says she applied for a slew of internships because she didn’t simply want to lock into one place. At the last minute, she found some postings for internships in Tennessee, one of which was for Hi-Def.

She e-mailed her resume and cover letter and within 24 hours, she had received a phone call asking for an interview.

“They said, ‘We can’t say you have it right now, but we’d really like you on board here,’” Reitnouer says. “And so everything just kind of worked out.”

Reitnouer says the training she received writing coverage in her Screenwriting class has helped her during her internship. (“It’s hard to summarize a 110-page script in two pages,” she says.) She also says the knowledge she gained about copyright law in her Media Law and Ethics class has been a boon this summer.

Most importantly, she says, her experience at Hi-Def has assured her that she’s chosen a career path that suits her wholly.

“I’m glad I have this internship before my senior year,” Reitnouer says. “Elon has been my home for four years, and it’s been a wonderful home to be at and I love it. But I’m feeling more and more ready to go. The more I get to do at Hi-Def, the more prepared I feel I am. This has kind of assured me that I’m on the right track because I know it’s time for my education to start wrapping up.

“I’m ready to make my mark and see what I can do.”

Intern Insider will run one to two times a week during the summer and will feature brief stories about some of the interns from the School of Communications. 

Colin Donohue,
7/30/2008 6:17 PM