Spencer Hawkins ’23 (He/Him)

Many of us grow up wanting to be movie stars or famous directors, but our parents and friends call them dreams. We dream of having our face on billboards and our name cemented in the walk of stars in LA. Yet, we do nothing to turn that dream into a reality. Over time, we convince ourselves to believe it is impossible, and to aim for more stable, reliable lifestyles. 

Today, each of us carry around a 4K camera in our pocket, never investing time or energy into how it works or what we can do with it. What’s stopping us?

For Wes Clark ‘24, the only thing holding him back from filming movies on campus are how many hours there are in a day. Entering college, he was unsure whether he wanted to be a lawyer or a movie director. Like most of us, he spent his time dreaming and the rest of it working toward another – much safer – goal. However, when deciding amongst schools, he chose not to attend film schools, and instead chose Davidson College, despite our not having a robust film program. He came here because he “wanted to learn, use [his] knowledge to create more honest stories, and spend [his] freetime investing in my craft.” So yes, he’s a political science major, but he’s going to become a movie director. To Wes, it’s not a backup plan, but a chance to grow as a person and therefore grow as an artist, whose true passion lies in the politics of the film set. 

His plans are not just talk: since entering Davidson, he’s managed to find work on several professional movie sets, train under major directors like Blair Hayes, and work for production companies approving scripts to invest in. Just last month in October, Wes left campus for a week to work on the set of Pinball: The Man Who Saved in Manhattan, a movie that will be on Netflix in the summer. And though he’s only a sophomore in college, he’s been able to earn an education here at Davidson and attend his own version of “film school” through real life working experiences. When asked about his work he says, “it’s nothing glamorous… just PA stuff. But I’m learning how a set works, and everytime I leave a set, I leave with one more contact and another job offer. That’s why I love PA work, I know it’ll help me reach my directorial goals!”

Another way Wes is reaching for his goal is by creating his own content. Using a camera provided by the school, he’s been able to write, direct, and produce an original script here on Davidson’s campus. Still in production, the movie is called Gap Year and tells the story of a high school boy who runs away from home after his mother’s death. After a drunken stupor, he ends up on a college campus (Davidson) and strikes a deal with a failing student to take his classes in exchange for a place to live. As of now, Clark has filmed over half the scenes and is aiming to be able to present the full movie before finals in the spring. 

While the film has been cast and is already in production, Wes is offering a chance to include more of the school in his work. What does he need? He needs extras: people who are willing to stand in the background of scenes. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to say that you helped Wes Clark, the famous director (and fellow Wildcat) on the path to achieving his dreams. 

If you’re interested in being an extra, please contact weclark@davidson.edu. 

Spencer Hawkins ‘23 (he/him) is a Theater and Computer Science double major from Spokane Valley, WA. He can be reached for comment at weclark@davidson.edu