Growing up in Russia, Pavel Suslov developed his passion for filmmaking from the time he got his first camera at the age of seven. Who could have guessed that this camera would eventually lead him to an internship at Warner Brothers?
“Kids today may not find this unusual (everyone has a smartphone in their hands from an early age),” noted Suslov, “But back then it was quite out of the norm.”
During school years, Suslov was making videos about his dogs, family members, friends, and toys. He soon realized that he wanted to turn this creative hobby into a professional career. After graduating from the St. Petersburg State University of Cinema and Television, he worked for five years creating music videos and commercials for such companies as Ski-doo and Mercury engines, as well as making video reports on local and international events for Gatebil, Formula Drift, and RDS.
Suslov told NYFA, “At some point, I realized that I wanted to grow even more. That’s why I started looking for a film school abroad. There’s probably no better place to gain film industry experience and networking than Hollywood. It became one of the fundamental reasons I enrolled in the New York Film Academy’s MFA Filmmaking Program.”
Immediately after graduating, Suslov secured himself an internship at Warner Brothers, and was happy to sit down with us and share his experience with NYFA community.
ET: First of all, congratulations on your internship with Warner Bros. Tell us, what is included in your daily duties?
PS: Thank you! It’s hard to name it an internship; it’s more a full-time job. I work in the Visual Department, which is responsible for all the video content produced by the company: music videos, promo videos for social networks, new albums, singles, artists, etc. My duties include editing, project development, filming, creating graphics and concepts for various artists. One of my recent projects was a new clip for Linkin Park’s “Talking to Myself,” which was completed shortly before the death of the lead singer, Chester Bennington, and will be the last music video made with all the original members of the band.
ET: What day during the internship was the most striking and why?
PS: It is difficult to single out a certain day, since each of them is very different from other. Today you are going to work on a shoot with Echosmith, tomorrow you are editing the Linkin Park music video, after that you are thinking through new ideas for Mastadon and how to revive their cover visually and dynamically, and the next day you go to the lobby where you meet the new singer of the label. I’m very grateful to my manager, Laura Mende, who tells me various stories about artists and the shooting processes.
It is worth noting that team spirit is very developed at Warner Bros. Every week there are different staff lunches or meetings. Sometimes bands come to our office to give mini-performances for employees in the backyard. Every time a band or a single of the label goes to the top of the chart, we order huge pizzas for the entire office and arrange lunch in the courtyard.
ET: How long will your internship last?
PS: Under my current contract the internship will last 5 months. After that I can decide whether I want to stay or not. I think that my answer is obvious.
ET: Do you think that the experience you got at NYFA has come in handy for you during this internship?
PS: Definitely. Firstly, it’s about communications, and team work. Almost nothing can be done without a team. I learned this from numerous experiences at NYFA and from our group workshops.
Then, the filming process. Of course I had experience in implementing projects before, but at NYFA I got an education that allows me to understand who is responsible for what on a set, as well as the main points of pre-production.
I must say that the differences in the filmmaking process between Russia and here are enormous. I have never regretted going to NYFA, it allowed me to strengthen my filmmaking knowledge and afforded me the chance to intern at Warner Bros.
NYFA: What are you planning to do after your internship at Warner Brothers?
PS: In fact, there are many plans. Recently, I started my Vlog on YouTube: at the moment it is designed for a Russian speaking audience, but I have plans to expand it to the English speakers as well. I do not know yet where it will lead, but I can say one thing; for the time that I’m doing this internship, I met a lot of people from completely different industries. And with some of them, we have interesteing projects planned for the future.
At the same time, I manage to work on independent projects: commercials and music videos. I’m about to finish my short film and in August we have plans to shoot an Imagine Dragons video, but unfortunately I cannot disclose details yet.
And, of course, I would like to continue working for Warner Brothers.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Pavel Suslov for his time and wish him continued success in his endeavors.