Taylor filmmaker and musician embraces liberal arts
By Laura Koenig | Echo
Studying the past in Professor of History Steve Messer’s History of the U.S. Since 1877. Learning Chinese in a class with only four people. Engaging with Russian history, politics and philosophy while acting in “The Cherry Orchard.”
Senior Andrew Paul Davis writes, edits and directs with the knowledge and inspiration he gains through his experiences and relationships to go beyond his film and media production assignments. His website displays a collection of original short films, wedding videography and corporate videos. Spotify holds his first lyrical song, “Frenemy,” released in 2016: his second song, “Together,” will be released this April.
Davis developed a passion for film and music early on. However, in tenth grade, he made the difficult decision to stop playing trumpet in band and join four of his friends in his high school’s digital video production classes instead. The group made at least one film a year. Davis also acted in annual theatre productions, giving him the experience and love for theatre that helped lead him to Taylor.
Following in his older siblings’ footsteps, Davis ventured from the warmth of Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the four seasons of Upland. After completing Foundation of Christian Liberal Arts and acting in “The Cherry Orchard,” he realized the vital role of a liberal arts education in his film and music making.
“I was very much sold on the liberal arts in relation to film and theatre because these tangible storytelling platforms possess the capability to act as intersections of all the humanities and even the maths and sciences,” Davis said. “I’m fascinated by the educational opportunity that comes with diving into a film or play production, but more importantly, the opportunity to empathize and hope through dissection (and then portrayal) of unique human experience.”
His relationships with others play an essential role as well. At Taylor, Davis’s friends act and help with all of his videos and music. His friendships strengthen with every project.
One of these friends is housemate and senior Sean Sele. Davis and Sele collaborate and reflect on projects of all kinds. This partnership builds trust and leads to larger visions and ideas.
It also led to their constantly moving furniture, painting props and running out of food when Davis used their house as the set of Davis’s film, “The Summer of ’59.” Sele said this film is his favorite project so far.
“When I’m acting in one of Andrew’s films, I always know that I’m engaging in something meaningful and that I can trust his instincts completely, which gives me as an actor the freedom and safety to engage honestly and wholly with the character,” Sele said. “Even if I’m not acting in one of his projects, I usually volunteer to be the on-set sound technician just because I believe in what he’s doing.”
Even though film plays a huge role in Davis’s life, for him, everything begins and ends with music. Playing live for the first time, he performed his new song, “Together,” at IFC’s Spotlight on March 15. Over the past year, Davis wrote more music and is hoping to release a full-length album next year.
Davis faces many challenges when creating films and music, but lack of time is the main barrier. Whether writing and editing film, taking classes, having a social life or working shoot schedules, Davis finds time management difficult.
Even with difficult time management, Davis loves when everyone is together and the collaboration of a recording or shoot begins.
“One of my favorite things in the world is giving a great actor my words and them bringing that to life,” Davis said.
Curious about what music Davis loves? Check out his top ten favorite songs:
- “Summer Is Gone” by Bill Baird
- “Never My Love” by The Association
- “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles
- “Brain Damage” by Pink Floyd
- “The National Anthem” by Radiohead
- “Subterranean Homesick Alien” by Radiohead
- “Life’s a TV Show” by Bill Baird
- “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys
- “Once I Was” by Tim Buckley
- “The End” by The Doors