You cannot sit around waiting for your dreams to fall directly into your lap, according to Cari McInturff, a senior in English literature and global studies. Most of the time, the bull's horns require a bit of steering or – in McInturff's case – creating.
This is why she co-founded her own entertainment advertising business, C+C Creative.
"I started C+C Creative last spring semester with a good friend of mine, Conner Harville," McInturff said. "The idea really came to us one day pretty spontaneously. At the time, we were all kind of in the stressful season of trying to find 'the' internships for 'the' summer between your junior and senior year. We kind of just thought to ourselves, 'Why are we waiting for experiences in these fields? Why can't we just do it?'"
McInturff and Harville, senior in communications, met as sophomores in high school where the signs of a budding business partnership were already beginning to appear, Harville said.
"We became business partners because our senior year of high school, we actually decided to rent out the Square Room in Market Square to raise money for Second Harvest," Harville said.
Since then, their interest in the entertainment field has grown with the befriending of many of Knoxville's burgeoning musical talents.
"I feel so lucky to be able to say that I have so many very talented friends and, in my time here at UT, met so many talented people and groups," McInturff said. "I really just wanted to find a way to help and to shine a little more light in their way. At the same time, I wanted to utilize my own talents and the interests of my other friends in PR. So, C+C was born."
Since its founding last spring, the company's focus has shifted from an emphasis on event planning to one more focused on artists' needs.
"Our main focus when we first started out was to help out our friends and ultimately promote local music in Knoxville," McInturff said. "We wanted to provide a space where people could investigate on any given night what kind of local shows were going on and where they could find them."
After temporarily separating for the summer – with McInturff in New York, Harville in France and another colleague in Spain – the group reassembled this semester with fresh goals.
"We had a shift in focus in our services, which is the cool thing about having ownership over what you do," McInturff said. "Now we work directly with artists in their 'branding' and promotion, and in some cases we've adopted a slightly more managerial role. It's been an awesome transition and really, really fun."
Beyond her work as an entrepreneur, McInturff has also begun an internship with AC Entertainment.
"I have always gone to AC shows in Knoxville growing up and I've gone to Bonnaroo for years, so I've always known and love what the company stands for and does," she said. "As an intern, I am responsible for collecting and organizing materials that AC uses to advertise artists, shows and events so that their marketing team has a record of exactly what they have done for each campaign."
Overall, McInturff is enamored with her position.
"It's really awesome," she said. "I get to see exactly what goes into creating a hype around each particular show and how it varies between artists and events."
McInturff said as long as she is involved in the music industry – in whatever form that may be – she will be fulfilling her life's purpose.
"I love helping artists," she said. "I think live music is one of the most powerful, amazing things you can experience on planet Earth and I love the idea that I could have a part in making that happen."
Harville is convinced that this idea will be a reality in McInturff's future.
"She's really, really on top of it," Harville said. "She's effective, extremely driven and knows exactly what she wants to do in life."
McInturff might deny that she knows "exactly" what she is after, but she admitted it's all part of the adventure.
"For a lot of people, trying to get into the music industry is pretty frightening," she said. "It's 'falling apart' and 'isn't stable,' they say. But to me – it's so exciting. It's always changing, always evolving, and I am continually figuring out my role within it. The next step is always a little bit of a mystery.
"For a lot of people I think that's terrifying; for me and for now, it's everything."