Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

IE News

The CIEhawks Media Team: Passion and Profession Combined

by Nikki Kroushl on March 3, 2017

Media Team Jon Chowthi

Media Team member Jon Chowthi shooting a video. Photo by CIEhawks Media Team.

The Story

Nestled in the back of the CIE’s private offices is one startup that’s not a startup at all—or at least, not anymore. The Media Team began as a tenant company a few years ago, but it slowly transitioned into a branch of the CIE. A passionate film student founded it and now its legacy continues with student staff members from UNCW’s Film Studies and Communication Studies departments.

The Media Team has done everything: eighteen short videos in one go for a tax school, a twenty-minute pilot for a documentary on historic Wilmington churches, narrative commercials for a steering wheel bracelet that reminds parents they have a baby in the car, and even instructional videos about puppy training.

“We got paid to shoot video of puppies, which is the dream,” says Sean Froeb, team member and self-described “sound guy.” “I didn’t mind being here late editing puppies.”

Froeb, alongside Sean Gallagher (assistant media producer) and Damien Capps (producer), are three of the seven current Media Team members. Froeb and Capps are film studies and communication double majors, while Gallagher sticks to film. Each of them has his own specialty.

“I’ve always been creative,” Damien says, “and I feel like film is the most applied art form there is.” Sean Gallagher explains that he “was the neighborhood kid who always had a camera and would be making projects.” And Sean Froeb “fell into it,” especially sound work, because his father’s first job out of college was assembling microphones.

Film is more than a hobby for them; it’s vocational. And the Media Team is more than a way for its members to make pocket money during college—it’s a practicum in all the skills they will need as film professionals.

Sean Froeb emphasizes how much he likes the hands-on experience of the Media Team, the action-oriented work that goes beyond classroom theory. “It pushes me to do things that I normally wouldn’t be doing, like editing photos and videos,” he says. “Now I’m getting paid to learn stuff instead of paying to learn stuff, which is fantastic.”

“It’s so much better than working at a grocery store,” Damien says. “We’re getting paid to operate equipment that we might be using in our future professions.”

“One of the most interesting things about this job is getting to meet the clients,” Sean Gallagher observes. “It never gets boring because we always have new faces coming in.”

As the Media Team members observe, there’s an interesting parallel between film folks and entrepreneurs: both types are incredibly passionate. Damien explains that the Media Team’s end goal is to create a video or other product that’s polished and professional, something the team and the company hiring them can take pride in. And the entrepreneurs’ enthusiasm and drive make the long and difficult creative process much easier.

“You get to help out with other people’s passions,” Sean Froeb says. And sometimes, you get to make montages of puppies. All in a day’s work.

The Logistics

Media Team services used to be open to the larger community. Due to growing demand, however, when the CIE switched to a tiered membership system in 2017, access to the Media Team for video projects was restricted to tenants and members at the startup level and above.

Prospective clients within the CIE must also pay an annual $200 fee and a $15 per hour wage for each team member who works on each project. This extends for up to ten projects per year. Interested parties are free to email the Media Team at or to visit their page on the CIE website and fill out their media request form. Following a consultation, the team draws up a contract and gets to work.

“Last year we had an influx of projects—big projects,” Damien explains. “And compared to other production companies, $15 an hour is dirt cheap. A lot of people showed interest in that, so we had people who wanted twenty or thirty or forty videos over the course of the year.”

Now that parameters are in place, the Media Team has the time and focus to do some of its best work. They’re even open to take on new projects and clients now.

Check back on the website often or follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep up with more of the CIE's events and news.