Christopher Ihlefeld ’18 recently wrapped up a stint as a set production assistant for the film “Wonderland” that will air on Netflix later this year. Ihlefeld credits his HWS connections for launching his promising career in the movie industry.
“Hobart and William Smith opened the world to me,” says the English major who is now also writing several screenplays of his own.
He says Director of the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education Brandi Ferrara initially connected him with Redtree Productions, a television production agency based in Boston, where he spent the summer of 2017 learning his way around a set. Following graduation, he found further work with Redtree and other production companies on commercials being shot for corporate clients ranging from the Boston Museum of Science to Carpet One.
“Job shadows can be instrumental in opening doors for students,” says Ferrara. “Chris’ shadow at RedTree is a great example of how students can turn a one-day experience into a launching pad for their careers. He is highly motivated and made the most of the opportunity and the connections he made, earning an internship with Redtree Productions from that one-day experience.”
Ihlefeld has since been hired as a set production assistant on larger projects for Showtime Networks and New England Studios, where he helped with filming the second season for the comedy series “SMILF” and the pilot for the Netflix show “Hamelins.” Most recently, he enjoyed working on “Wonderland,” a film based on a detective novel by Robert B. Parker that stars Mark Wahlberg and Alan Arkin.
As a set production assistant, Ihlefeld says he was a jack-of-all-trades performing a variety of tasks that allowed the filming to proceed smoothly. His duties ranged from setting up props to evaluating a movie’s daily rushes to helping with crowd control.
With his career goal set on being a director, Ihlefeld says he intends to continue to work hard and network. Jobs come by word-of-mouth, he says, and the more people he works with the more likely it is that he’ll be chosen for future productions.