Media arts student interns with the Nashville Film Festival

After being encouraged by his professor, Zachary Vaughn, a senior Trevecca media arts major, applied for an internship with the Nashville Film Festival.

According to Vaughn, Seth Conley, Trevecca professor of communication studies, told him the Nashville Film Festival had an opening for an internship and encouraged him to apply. To his surprise, he was accepted and interned with the organization during the Spring 2019 semester.

“It started off going through emails of someone who had left to see if there was anything important,” Vaughn said. “Then it became reading screenplays for past festivals and the current festival, and going to screenings for short films.”

Conley said he was excited about Vaughn’s opportunity and the continued partnership between Trevecca and the Nashville Film Festival. The organization is a non-profit institution that sheds a light on independent film makers. It has been around since 1969 and is considered one of the top film festivals in the United States.

“Zach has been a hard working student ever since I’ve known him,” Conley said. “He has a definite passion for film and especially in screenwriting.”

Vaughn said he has been writing since elementary school, and remembers writing a “not-so-good” children’s book with his mom. When he got to high school, he started experimenting with scriptwriting and making short things with his brother and friends from church.

His talent has been particularly evident during the spring semester at Trevecca. He won Best Screenplay for his film, ”Take You Down,” at the Trevecca Film Festival, and won the “Excellence in Media Arts” award during the Chapel Awards.

“This semester has been really cool,” Vaughn said. “I didn’t think it was going to be me, but I was excited.”

He said another interesting thing about this semester is that his peers would send him writing and ask for feedback. He also helped a friend on a final project in their production class.

According to Vaughn, he felt prepared for the Nashville Film Festival, and he feels well prepared to find a job after he graduates next year.

“I think my production classes and my major courses have been a great help,” Vaughn said. “They actually had me do the job that I eventually want to do, like making short films, working on sets, creative writing, and getting everything in line.”

Conley said courses in Trevecca’s media arts program are designed to make sure students are prepared for the real world and the industry itself. Students complete projects that mimic those they’ll undertake as filmmakers—things like documentaries, short films, and music videos.

“We put our students in real-world scenarios,” Conley said. “Writing scripts, shooting their own footage, and a lot of production are useful in preparing them.”

After graduating, Vaughn hopes to continue doing what he’s passionate about. His dream is being a screenwriter and a producer.

Vaughn is set to finish classes a semester early, after the Fall 2019 semester.

By Kayla Williamson
Media contact: Mandy Crow,, 615-248-1695