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A Grey World

A lonely, young man joins an obscure organization and quickly becomes its most ambitious member.

Kyle McLaughlin and I created A Grey World as a personal project for a campus film competition held at Virginia Tech, having no experience whatsoever, aside from producing our own low-quality, original YouTube content in high school—many years prior—in addition to a shared interest in film, which often materialized in many late night, dorm-room screenings. At the time, I devoured films whenever possible, but never delved into a genuine production of any sort. A convenient visit to Virginia Tech by Campus MovieFest, and a lengthy twist of the arm by Kyle ultimately led to an awakening of my passions, at a time when I was already becoming disillusioned with my Engineering studies.  


The film was shot and edited within five days, hindered only by our obligations to attend class throughout such a joyous week. Relevant to the story, but also for the convenience of two amateur filmmakers, A Grey World was filmed entirely on the campus of Virginia Tech, with many scenes taking place in our own dorm, West Ambler Johnston. It was self-funded on a prop budget of roughly $50, otherwise utilizing the rental equipment provided by Campus MovieFest.

The story of A Grey World was admittedly crafted primarily out of convenience for the competition, and our own whimsical interests. What if there's this cult, right? Okay, what do they do? Alright, where can we film it? The classic beginners' tale. Do we know how to write a script? Experimental. Alright, how will we make the lighting consistent? Black and white. Do we know how to write dialogue? Silent. Oh cool, now we don't have to worry about capturing sound either! Needless to say, our 'performances' originated from the same philosophy. 


Realizing even at that point that many experimental films are truly born throughout the edit, our world began to fall into place as we sat in front of the computer, myself at the keyboard while Kyle hovered over my shoulder from behind. Things made sense. Themes began to emerge which may or may not have been there all along within the initial conception, but nonetheless became prominent as we stitched everything together. And just like that, we finished our little film—an accomplishment which wouldn't have amounted to anything had Kyle not passed a Campus MovieFest booth on the way back from lunch one afternoon. No awards, little prestige, but we made a film that screened in front of hundreds of people. That was the extent of Kyle's cinematic contributions while enrolled at Virginia Tech, but I knew by that point, I had to make a change. It wasn't until a couple years later when I officially joined the Department of Theatre & Cinema at Virginia Tech, that I began to treat film as a profession, instead of a mere hobby.

A Grey World Poster.jpg




Kyle McLaughlin

W. Trent Welstead


Kyle McLaughlin

W. Trent Welstead​



Nicholas Potthoff

Poster Designer

Katie Watanabe


W. Trent Welstead

Kyle McLaughlin

Additional Cast

Andrew Gidzinski

Dan Olear

Benjamin Deneault

Skyler Green

Amanda Patterson

Michelle Jones

Tom Gaudioso

Natalia Gonzalez

Matt Gabriele

Dalton Holody

Rachel Freeburger

Rupali Bhave

Blake Bauserman

Dana Kazerooni

Robert Kramer

Tom Fenninger

Zachary Burns

Logan Beveridge

Paul Veracka

Selected Screenings & Awards

For the complete list, see my CV.


Campus Movie Fest at Virginia Tech


Campus Movie Fest at Virginia Tech

Campus Finalist


Production Photos

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