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MSUM student gets 2 internships in a year working around celebs

Brian Ashburn, a Minnesota State University Moorhead junior, has interned on a Quentin Tarantino movie and will soon serve another internship on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show." Special to The Forum

Brian Ashburn is getting a double dose of celebrities this year.

A junior at Minnesota State University Moorhead, Ashburn recently returned from a summer internship where he assisted on the movie set of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" and will soon be jetting off to Los Angeles for an internship on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show."

While on the set of the Tarantino film, Ashburn was mainly involved with behind-the-scenes production. Ashburn spent his days in the presence of the film's stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Kerry Washington.

On one occasion, Ashburn says, he had the chance to meet and talk with DiCaprio, and also had a memorable experience with Washington one hot, humid afternoon.

After filming had stopped for the day, and all the other actors went back to their respective trailers, Washington went around and personally thanked each member of the staff - Ashburn, a production assistant, included.

"It was really cool, that you see these people that you've seen before on the big screen, and they're just down-to-earth people," Ashburn says.

And even if he didn't actually interact with the stars much more than that, Ashburn at least valued being a part of a big-budget movie like "Django," which is scheduled for a Christmas Day release this year.

"I think the coolest thing was being on set, being behind the scenes and just seeing how a big-time movie really works," he says. "It was so cool that I got to be a part of something bigger than myself."

As for his fall internship, Ashburn says he was one of six applicants chosen out of a pool of thousands from throughout the country. He will be rotated throughout the show's different departments, including social media, production, working directly with celebrity guests and more.

Ashburn eventually hopes to get involved with a television show full time, and will return to MSUM in the spring 2013 semester. He'll gain credit from the internship for both his film studies and mass communication majors.

Ashburn says he's excited about the experience he's going to gain from his second internship in a year, but as with his summer position, he's particularly thrilled that he'll be working around celebs once again.

"All of (the show's departments) are very cool in their own way," Ashburn says. "But the celebrities part is going to be pretty sweet."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535