Pursuing the Filmmaking Dream

By David Nessl

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” I heard this in my first video production class. Students were told that we were pursuing a career in the most expensive art medium in the world. As you can imagine, this was very depressing; paying thousands of dollars for a college degree that requires you to pay an arm and leg in a dog-eat-dog filmmaking industry after you graduate. 

As a student following a dream of producing film, I try to encourage the UC Davis Film Festival production team to remember that our event and everything leading up to it is what they make it. If someone wants to learn how to operate a camera, then by all means, show up on time and contribute your two-cents.

Should anything go wrong, we always have a plan B. For instance, as a back-up to no-show actors, we were ready to outfit the crew with costumes to take their place. Our motto is: Turn something bad into something fun! Luckily the actors did show up for this promo video shoot, but we’re always ready for what is thrown our way.

Bringing talent to life

Most students have a dream of going into the film industry because deep down they truly feel that they have talent. Bringing that talent to life and watching it evolve with the influence of your peers is what our organization is all about.

This promo shoot went well because everyone believed in our director’s vision. We did what we could to show the idea visually. This, combined with the cooperation of everyone working as a unit, created a successful final product. 

These short productions provide students who want to try their hand at cinematography, editing or even producing, an outlet to practice their desired field.

200 percent into delivering results

I put 100 percent into guiding our team in the right direction; they put 200 percent into delivering results. This kind of dedication is an amazing thing for me to see and I’m very happy to have such a fantastic group of people to work with. 

I hope that the making of this promo video gives you a sense of what short film production is all about and that it encourages you to submit work to the film festival or get involved in another way. Being a part of the UC Davis Film Festival is an experience that you will never forget. It may take effort, but seeing your work or the work of other students on the big screen is f#^$%@ng awesome. 

See the UC Davis Film Fest 2014 Promo at the Film Fest Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UCDavisFilmFest?ref=hl.

Learn more about student film clubs, including the new UC Davis Film Club and the Filmmaker’s Ambition.


David Nessl is a fourth-year cinema and technocultural studies major and student producer of the 14th Annual UC Davis Film Festival. He has produced and directed dozens of short independent films. His work “The Cave” was awarded Best in Show at last year’s film festival. 

On the UC Davis home page: UC Davis students Sam Ribakoff, left, and David Nessl change the frequency channel on a wireless mic connected to director Adrian Cacho.  Anna Oh/UC Davis Film Fest photo