Commencement 2012: Samuel Davis
Radio-Television-Film senior embarks on Los Angeles acting and producing career
He won't officially graduate until the College of Communication's fall 2012 commencement ceremony on Dec. 8, but Samuel Davis' IMDb profile already boasts five film credits. After the Radio-Television-Film senior and about 246 other College graduates throw their caps, he will move to Los Angeles to build upon the acting career he began in Austin.
In between attending classes, Davis appeared in three films. During the spring of his junior year, he was cast in a horror film titled "Exists," in which a group of friends is stalked by Bigfoot.
"We spent five weeks out in the woods filming and I was also taking classes at UT," Davis said. "The director, Eduardo Sanchez – also co-director of the 'Blair Witch Project' – had an interesting style that helped and challenged the cast and myself."
In his senior year, he was cast as "Clebourne" in "Machete Kills," an action film directed by Department of Radio-Television-Film alumnus Robert Rodriguez. Set to premiere in 2013, the film also features Jessica Alba, Sofía Vergara, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lady Gaga.
"Talking with Robert Rodriguez about how he made his first films and seeing how he operates the set was of great value to me," Davis said. "It's so possible to become someone like that, and it was reassuring to see that it can happen to someone who has been where I have been."
He also appeared as "Seth," the main character in "Abel's Field," a drama about an abandoned high school senior struggling to support his young twin sisters while enduring bullying at school. The film is set to be released to DVD and digital channels on Jan. 22.
Other acting credits include "New Hope" and "Steal Away."
While he plans to devote a significant amount of time to auditioning in Los Angeles, Davis said will also focus on filmmaking, having accepted a new job at a television production company.
"Acting has always been a passion, but even more was the magic of filmmaking, both production and business," Davis said. "There are many actors who become so boxed in with 'acting' that they forget that filmmaking is a living and breathing organism with many viewpoints. The Department of Radio-Television-Film has introduced me to all aspects of film and television, including screenwriting, film history, directing styles and producing, and being aware of those enriches an actor's performance."
Among his favorite courses were Assistant Professor Cynthia McCreery's "Advanced Screenwriting for Feature Film," which provided thorough feedback on film scripts.
He also especially enjoyed lecturer John Pierson's "Advanced Producing" course, which screened rough cuts of films and provided students an opportunity to speak to visiting filmmakers.
"His class is very challenging but highly rewarding," Davis said. "I really appreciate him and his course for keeping us up to date on the status of films in production to those seeking distribution. Pierson as an individual is a great mentor because of his willingness to expose his students to the real world of filmmaking."
Laura Byerley, (512) 471-2182