09:23 AM

Summer film project has student-athlete learning outside the classroom

Kyle Skinner grew up about 90 miles from Tinseltown but the biggest steps he’s taking to break into the movie industry are 2,300 miles away at The Ohio State University.

Skinner, a fifth-year film production studies major, left his home town of Santa Barbara and its close proximity to Hollywood to finish his college career in Columbus. Skinner is an outside hitter for the men’s volleyball team and transferring to an elite volleyball program attracted him to Ohio State – but the university’s connections helped seal the deal.

“I realized the networking connections that Ohio State had and that really got me,” he said. “Despite that it’s out of state, it’s very far from home, I’m confident in the fact that I’m going to have a very large networking skill set and connections once I graduate. That’s something that is huge for the film industry.”

Those connections are already paying off. This summer Skinner is shooting a documentary for The Up Company. Up Company co-founder Jay Clouse is a Buckeye alum and co-host of the Upside podcast.

“With the podcast, which we’ve been running for a little over a year now, we are exploring startup ecosystems all across the country that are not in Silicon Valley,” Clouse said.

Clouse and his co-host Eric Hornung wanted to study a single startup community in greater detail and decided a documentary would be the better way to go. That led them to Skinner.

Skinner and more than 50 fellow Buckeyes are part of the Huntington Bucks Go Pro 2.0 corporate internship program. The program is exclusively for Ohio State student-athletes to provide real-world experience with dozens of organizations and corporations.

The program is part of the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute at Ohio State. Interns are paid and participate in weekly conference calls with institute staff members to offer feedback and share experiences.

For Skinner, the chance to work with a local company on a full-length documentary is daunting but exciting.

“It’s given me a lot of great experience and creative freedom to build this documentary and piece everything together,” he said.

His background as a student athlete has helped to keep the project on track.

“A lot of what I’ve learned at Ohio State is work ethic and time management. Especially being a [Division 1] athlete, going to all your classes, trying to have a social life outside of that and adding on any other projects that I wanted to do,” he said. “It’s been very difficult to pull that all together and keep it together, but it’s definitely helped me going into the future. I understand if I have multiple things on my plate, how to allocate time and make sure I get everything done.”

Clouse is guiding the project and mentoring Skinner. He sets up and conducts the interviews of leaders in the Columbus startup community but Skinner is doing all of the filming and editing for the project. The internship is an opportunity to turn a hobby into a career.

“I always had a GoPro growing up and I would capture the adventures that I went on while traveling with my family,” Skinner said. “But I really started realizing that it was something that I enjoyed and something that I could be passionate about doing.”

For Clouse, it’s a chance to give back to a university that helped launch his career. Skinner is one of three Ohio State student-athletes working for The Up Company this summer.

“Anybody who has graduated from Ohio State knows that anywhere in the world you go, if you say ‘O-H’ or wear Ohio State apparel, someone is going to respond to you,” Clouse said. “We’re everywhere. So there’s this sense of family and wanting to pay it forward.”

This is the first year The Up Company has been involved in the Huntington Bucks Go Pro 2.0 program and Clouse considers it a success.

“It is the best to get real world experience, to get a taste of what life can and will be like after college and help shape what you want to spend your time on once you get outside the classroom.”