Steven Clifford

By IIIC Staff

Steven Clifford is a young Irish graduate with hopes of working in the highly competitive arts, entertainment and music management industry. Before leaving his home in Dublin, he received important advice from staff at the Irish International Immigrant Center, which sponsored his visa. The agency underscored to him that it was a tough job market and that following through on leads would mean the difference between success and failure.

Jude Clarke, the IIIC’s J-1 IWT program manager, interviewed Steven for the program.

“When I chat with the young graduates,” he says, “I often get a sense of how motivated they are, what their attitude may be like and how well they may or may not get on in America. I sensed straight away that Steven would do well for himself. He was willing to listen to my advice and he appeared to be a very committed, confident, and hard-working young person.”

Jude’s colleague, Megan Carroll, is director of intern placements at the IIIC and she gave Steven what would be prescient advice: “It’s all about the contacts.”

Wanting him to be able to “hit the ground running” when he arrived in the US, Megan worked directly to support and prepare Steven before he even left Ireland, by helping him rewrite his resume and cover letter to conform to American standards. She then provided him a list of websites and job boards, so he could start researching positions to apply for once he had his US address.

Once he arrived, she was able to offer job leads tailored to Steven’s personal situation and to help him prepare for interviews. He attended the IIIC’s special J-1 IWT Networking Event in New York, where he was able to meet other students and graduates in the program, have his papers edited again, and meet with staff to discuss networking ideas. But it was Megan’s ability and willingness to share a personal contact in the film business which led to the real breakthrough.

She introduced Steven to Avram Ludwig, producer/director of Mr. and Mrs. SmithThe Bourne Identityseries, and other well-known titles. He agreed to let Steven shadow him on the set of his current feature film project, Hairbrained (set for release in 2012) starring Brendan Fraser.

Steven worked on the set for several days, an experience he says opened the door to the tight-knit film production world. Ludwig was very pleased by what he saw. Steven “was really qualified,” Ludwig says. “He was on the ball, experienced, and obviously had been around sets before.” Thoroughly impressed, the director offered to hire Steven as a paid intern. Alas, Ludwig was too late. Wasting no time, Steven had already used his new contacts to secure another internship.

The advice and support he received from the IIIC had really paid off. Getting a contact in the film world was “invaluable,” Steven says. “It put me straight into the lion’s den and enabled me to network with members of the crew. They even used me as an extra, and I look forward to seeing my photogenic ‘back of head’ in the finished product!”

For more information on the IIIC’s Learning Exchange Program please contact Megan Carroll at mcarroll@iicenter.org or at 617-542-7654 ext. 23.