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A confused, oppressed individual encounters a unique young man, discovering the importance of perseverance along the way. 

As writer, producer, and editor, my principal crew consisted of fellow friends and classmates, Alex Salvato as director, and Caitlyn Murray as director of photography. We created Essence for our Fiction Cinema Production class at Virginia Tech; amidst several other projects and commitments between our collective schedules, it was enjoyable work for everyone involved. The film was shot in five sporadic evenings throughout roughly a ten day window. In regards to location, we shot primarily in or around various apartment complexes just off-campus. The film was practically self-funded on a budget of $50, utilizing most of my own personal equipment and props.

The story of Essence was crafted out of my attempts to explore two specific questions. What determines the essence of a human being? Do labels accurately reflect the true reality, or essence of anything? I was specifically interested in exploring these questions through the perspective of an LGBT protagonist character. As our cast and crew consisted of both LGBT and non-LGBT identifying individuals, the production was a diverse and delightful experience all around. In any case, my primary hope is that all viewers simply enjoy the finished product.

Essence Poster.jpg



Alex Salvato


W. Trent Welstead


W. Trent Welstead​

Director of Photography

Caitlyn Murray


Nicholas Potthoff



W. Trent Welstead

Mark Meardon

Boom Operator

W. Trent Welstead


Blake Bauserman

Poster Designer

Rebekah Seiler



Kevin Foster


Logan Beveridge


Megan Johnson

Selected Screenings & Awards

For the complete list, see my CV.


Out & Loud - Pune International Queer Film Festival

RVA Filmmakers Showcase

The Chi-Town Multicultural Film Festival


Direct Short Online Film Festival

Best LGBT Film | Winner

Direct Monthly Online Film Festival

Best Student Film | Winner

Macoproject Online Shorts Festival

Best Drama | Winner


Production Photos

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