Magazine Feature / People

DU grad hits the small screen

In the old days, breaking into television meant moving to Hollywood and slogging through the ranks.

Enter the Internet, broadband and digital streaming. For the price of a computer and a digital camera, anyone can play.

University of Denver School of Communications 2005 graduate Christiaan Enthoven, 25, is part of the revolution, working with friends on a new online video series called “Winners” that documents the awkward time between college and settling into a career.

The story, definitely “R” rated, is free for viewers, available anywhere in the world at any time, and there are no network bosses to meddle with the script or censor the content. Enthoven says in some ways, it’s the future of entertainment.

“We were always talking about what our next movie project would be and how we could possibly get around not knowing anyone in the business or having the ability to finance a full-length feature that could run into the millions,” Enthoven says. “At the time (online video showcase) YouTube was taking off, and we realized we could do whatever we wanted on the Web.”

Making a show

With a digital video camera he got as a graduation gift, friends with connections to the New York independent film industry, a cast of actors willing to work just for the exposure, Enthoven and his friends — ranging from 22–25 — are making a real show.

New episodes go online every week, and past episodes stay on the Web site so new viewers can catch up any time.

Enthoven spends his time behind the scenes, helping to write scripts, doing most of the filming and spending hours in editing. It’s a lot of exacting work, but he says he’s encouraged by the results. Still, he’ll watch a finished episode of “Winners” for hours, looking for ways to make the next one better.

Building the skills at DU

Enthoven says he chose DU because it had a communications school where he could pursue his passion for film and video, and a Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) that could help him overcome a learning disability.

“My high school guidance counselor recommended DU,” Enthoven says. “It’s a top-flight university that has a strong LEP program. It was a great match.”

He says the hands-on work he did with digital cameras, editing and script writing gives him a solid background in filmmaking.

The individual attention from the professors in communications was key, he says, noting, “They were pretty much the foundation of everything I learned in terms of filmmaking, editing and storytelling.”

Professors weigh in

DU communications professor Sheila Schroeder remembers Enthoven and is glad to see him pursuing his passion.

“Our focus is to try to create filmmakers who have a critical vision about the world in which they are living, who have an understanding about the world,” she says. “We try to create students who aren’t there to produce fluff, but whose work has some value.”

Students study the theory and ethics of communication and production while getting real-life experience writing, filming and editing their own pieces. Graduates, she says, have gone on to careers in film and television, with some writing for Hollywood productions or working in a burgeoning Denver video production scene.

Professor Tony Gault remembers Enthoven’s hard work and flair for the unusual, specifically an engaging documentary on “frolf,” a cross between Frisbee and golf.

“It was pretty insightful,” he says.

Professors, he says, try to instill some core values in students: First, they have a responsibility to produce honest, insightful films, and second, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to succeed. To get ahead, students must commit themselves 100 percent.

“You can’t go wrong if you follow your passion,” he says.

Life after graduation

Enthoven got a job in the New York indie circuit after graduation, working 100-hour weeks for small films and then spending every free moment with friends penning scripts for their own efforts. After two years, Enthoven says he’s going back to school for an advanced degree near his home in Greenwich, Conn., and dedicating long hours to “Winners.”

“Students have gone all over the place really, from DU,” Schroeder says. “It’s exciting to hear about Christiaan and his project. He was definitely one of those kids who wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.”

Watch for yourself

“Winners” is online at Some content may not be suitable for children.

A sample of documentaries produced by DU students is online at


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