When we first met Xavier in 2011, he was 18 years old, looking for a way to make money on the side. He showed up at a major wedding convention, following the advice of his stepmom to make as many connections he could and to find work. He had designed his own business cards, and handed them to every person he encountered at the convention. Most people blew him off, until he came across our Founder, Johnny West. With this encounter, something was different. Xavier says now that he felt a connection with Johnny. He noticed that Johnny was interested in helping him out. After the event, Johnny actually called him. Xavier was interviewed and was scheduled for his first wedding with ArtsGroup soon after.
Just like that, our internship program was born.
Here at ArtsGroup, we believe that education includes real-world, on-the-job experiences. Every one of our programs exposes our participants to professionals, or gives our participants the tools they need to gain experiences in their fields. Every year, we provide open slots for interns to complete photography or recording training. Our interns learn the technical aspects of their craft, but they also learn the business side: including project management, client management and marketing.
It's those same opportunities that Xavier was exposed to, which allowed him to grow from a second shooter photographer to the lead on wedding assignments. During his training period, Xavier shot a weekend every week, and learned the ropes while studying under Johnny. He learned how to interact with brides and grooms, what poses work best for weddings, the art of engaging with wedding guests, and how to close a sale.
When asked about the extraordinary opportunity he was given to work with ArtsGroup, he says, "It's a good way to be independent, if you don't mind working. As a teenager making steady money on the weekend, no bills, no anything, why not start early and save money now, than sit at home and not doing nothing at all? If you don't like it, the worst thing you can do is not try at all. I recommend anybody try it out and see how it is."
Xavier is now a professional in his own right who is a trusted team member who still shoots many of our weddings. He credits his training period with ArtsGroup for getting him to that level: "Johnny pushed me toward stepping up and being a lead. It was a big step because I don't like talking to people. It was quite a leap from not being real social to dealing with people one-on-one on my own. From shooting weddings, I became more comfortable because i watched it." It was the real, on-the-job training that we value at ArtsGroup that pushed Xavier to excel.
When asked to describe his experience with ArtsGroup in 5 words or less, he says, "Amazing." If you know a young creative who wants the same amazing experience, or if you want to join our team as an intern, apply here.