Sean Cooper Films His Future

It was around 7 p.m. on a Saturday night this past July when junior Sean Cooper received an email back from the second-second assistant director of “The Senior Prank.” It was, quite literally, right out of a movie. It was a call sheet, which later became one of Cooper’s two prized souvenirs from his film internship this summer. 

Senior Carys Meyer, who was an extra in the film, hosted the camera director, Lynn Padetha, at her home for the duration of shooting. When Padetha asked if she knew of any potential interns who would be interested in working for him, she immediately thought of Cooper.  An active member of the drama department, Meyer spoke appreciatively of the work Cooper has done for them.

“He’s really passionate about it and he’s really good at what he does and he works really hard,” Meyer said.

A couple hours into his first day at work, Cooper took over as the personal assistant to the camera crew, learning how to page cable inside while his mentor played Risk on an iPhone outside. He said he knew he was officially the new personal assistant when the director of photography asked him to take everyones Starbucks orders.

“It was six days in a row, 12 hours a day, standing the whole time,” Cooper said. “It was the most physically painful experience but definitely the most rewarding.”

Not only did he gain valuable working experience, but he was also able to make contacts in the film industry he hopes will help in the future. His goal is to make a career out of film and broadcast, which he says is a networking based career path.

“It doesn’t matter how many years you spent in a class studying film theory, what matters is how many years you spent doing work,” Cooper said. After this internship he said, “it feels great to make such progress into a career field that’s so socially driven.”

It is the “beautiful moments” of genuine happiness Cooper finds gratification in. These moments are the reason why, after becoming involved with the Robinson drama department, he would wake up every morning, eat canned soup, go to school, stay after school for drama rehearsals, walk home at five, have canned soup, do his homework, do video work, have canned soup for dinner and then do video work until 11. He found solace in this schedule, in doing what he loved.  

“It just felt great to be that productive, be part of something bigger and to advertise such great work by these wonderful people,” Cooper said. 

He found a new home in his role as the video crew chief and publicity assistant for the drama department, a position created specifically for him. He attends almost every rehearsal, shooting footage both on stage and behind the scenes, and then disappears to create the final product.

Drama teacher Chip Rome said, “We’ve really noticed the amazing increase in quality and the amazing response to his clips. He knows how to get it out and keep it interesting. He’s skilled and creative and we’re really glad to have him.”

Cooper’s second souvenir is an empty can of silly string, the last one he used to play the punk Asian teenager in the opening scene of the movie. It was the last day of shooting, around one a.m., when the director came up to Cooper and said, “Hey, Sean, do you want to be in the movie?” Cooper scrambled over, so wired on caffeine he couldn’t stay still for long enough to stay in the frame. This may be why he stays behind the camera, but wherever he aims his lens in the future, his presence will surely be felt.