On campus, a sleepy-eyed student is walking to his next class. He’s back in Moorhead after a busy summer in Los Angeles. Chance Cole, 21, of Dickinson, N.D., has returned for his senior year. Cole is majoring in film production, and his last few years in the film studies program led him to California.
Before landing the internship, Cole briefly worked for ArtsPulse in Fargo and for a local public access station, but he wanted to find something different. Cole eventually came across Prettybird, a production company in LA that produces commercials and music videos. Rihanna’s “We Found Love” is one of Prettybird’s credits, and that intrigued him.
“They replied the next day, and told me to call for an interview,” he said. “They exceeded my expectations.”
As soon as he got everything in order, Cole was off to California.
His internship duties at Prettybird were typical, Cole said.
“A lot of office work, assistant editing and transferring stuff,” Cole said. “I hooked up with Braxton Pope, who produced the film “The Canyons” starring Lindsay Lohan.”
Pope introduced Cole to the director of the film, Paul Schrader. “I did some Kickstarter stuff, and helped them with some music videos,” Cole said.
But the high point was getting to work on a music video for Device, a band led by David Draiman, the lead singer of Disturbed.
“It was just crazy,” Cole said.
In addition, Cole directed a music video for the group Moving Parts and their song, “Share The Blame,” starring MSUM alumni actors Joey Kramer and Caroline Stommes.
When Cole had free time, he enjoyed going to the beach with friends, exploring the town and soaking in the hot tub at his apartment complex. However, going to see movies was what he loved to do the most. He also had the opportunity to go to the Sunset Music Festival.
Before Cole got to LA, he collaborated with other film students during his first few years at MSUM. Jared Myers, 21, said working with Cole was a blast.
“Our spring semester of our sophomore year, Chance and I teamed up to produce our most ambitious film yet, ‘The L(i)fe of Evelyn.’ The production challenges were enormous, but Chance handled the direction of the project very professionally,” Myers said. “And through the stress, unexpected craziness and sleepless nights, he really grew as a director and a filmmaker.”
During his junior year, Cole edited a film directed by Robert McDermott, 23, a recent MSUM graduate. “Deliver Us From Evil” won three awards at the end of the year screening this spring, landing Cole a “Best Editing” award. McDermott now works in the film industry in Albuquerque.
“Chance is a rare talent because he has an innate ability for filmmaking and especially with editing,” McDermott said. “Being able to feel out a scene and cut accordingly to the beats is something that really cannot be taught. I have worked with a lot of editors, and none were able to have their finger on the pulse of a scene better than Chance.”
It was easy to leave California, but when Cole returned home, he missed the sun and the fun. “I’ll definitely go back,” he said.
Cole said he intends to make the most of his final year and is excited for his future plans.
“I want to be a production assistant on the occasional movie set, get a job with a company doing that, but wouldn’t be opposed to an editing job,” he said. “In five years I want to be able to direct music videos, maybe make short films to make enough money doing that to live on.”
BY ROD HADLAND