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The various elements of a young man’s mind are projected and analyzed, providing a snapshot into the oddities and inconsistencies of existence.

Brainstorm was created for my “Writing and Directing for Film” class at Virginia Tech. Amidst several other projects and commitments between our collective schedules, it was enjoyable work for everyone involved. The film was practically self-funded on a budget of roughly $350, utilizing most of my own personal equipment. In regards to location, Brainstorm was filmed on the Virginia Tech campus, and in a few surrounding areas of Blacksburg, Virginia. A stylistic precursor to Harmony (2018), the concept was particularly influenced by improvisation, and the Kuleshov effect, in that a film’s meaning derives from the sequencing of otherwise random images and scenarios, as opposed to those isolated elements. A loose breakdown of each scenario was prepared, for the sake of logistical preparation, in addition to an outline for the narration, but the final product was genuinely born in the editing room, like many experimental films or works of visual art. In any case, my primary hope is that viewers simply enjoy the finished product.

This project was quite a delightful challenge, in the sense that I was thrown into unfamiliar territory at the behest of my professor, who urged me to work on something much more personal, more direct than my previous endeavors. Momentous (2016), Essence (2017), Spark (2017), and Menace (2017) had all been written within a fairly conventional narrative structure. This was my attempt to follow my professor's stern suggestions, to assess the way in which I approach cinema, up close and personal, rather than from a distance. 

A radically different work in my student filmography at that point, Brainstorm opened my eyes to the possibilities within a cinema of engagement, one of self-reflexivity. No less worthwhile than the aforementioned projects, this hybrid piece concluded a remarkably prolific year in my student filmmaking career. 

Brainstorm Poster.jpg



W. Trent Welstead


W. Trent Welstead


W. Trent Welstead

Sarah Hammer

Caitlyn Murray


W. Trent Welstead


W. Trent Welstead

Art Director

Sarah Hammer


Caitlyn Murray

W. Trent Welstead

Andrew Huang

Sarah Hammer

Mordecai Lecky

Production Assistant

Claire Jessie


Original Score

Nicholas Potthoff


"Under the Tongue" by FILTER

Poster Designer

Rebekah Seiler



W. Trent Welstead

The Yawner

Sarah Hammer

Clown Girls

Caroline Silas

Jessica Beaudet

The Clown

Thad Petty


Mark Meardon

The Shadows

W. Trent Welstead

Samantha Hamilton

Jason Neiswinter

Prom Girl

Catherine McMullan


Little Bunny

Destinee Jones-Elliott

Big Bunny

Sydney Kendrick

Chess Players

Devon Jackson

Thad Petty

The Faces

Sarah Hammer

Caitlyn Murray

The Dancer

Mikaela MacDonald

The Painter

Brendan Daly


Cat Lover

Micah Untiedt

The Swinger

Molly McIntyre

The Waver

Mordecai Lecky


Virginia Gray

James Jaffee

Mary Pat Gilliam

Christina Hastings

Andrew Schurr

Amy Rice

Shannon Clarke


Production Photos

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