Clinton Elmore is not your average student.
Yes, he attends classes and has spent many a day dedicated to studying and finishing homework, but how many students wandering around campus can say they've created their own curriculum and, on top of that, have made a 20-minute short film to be shown at Regal Cinemas Downtown West?
"When I came back to UT, my first intention was to finish out my English degree," Elmore, a returning student, said. "I took a cinematography class as art and ended up taking Cinema Studies with Dr. Maland.
"I was hooked, so I began changing all the classes I was taking in order to mimic a film degree."
However, Elmore was faced with a dilemma: in order to pursue his newfound dream, he would need to graduate with three majors and two minors. Luckily, his advisor pointed him towards the College Scholars program, the oldest honors program at UT.
"[College Scholars] was designed for students who were talented, motivated and whose educational interests and goals do not fit comfortably into a conventional major," said Jeffrey Kovac, director of College Scholars.
Elmore fell under this category.
"I was set on getting the education I wanted, not just to get a diploma," he said, "but when I walk out of here to have the best education to accomplish my goals."
With that thought in mind, he launched himself headfirst into the program he dubbed "Cinema Studies and Moving Image Production," taking classes in the college of journalism, theater, cinema studies and 4D art.
"He has a fine grade record, he works hard, he followed his dream," Kovac said. "He's found all the people he needs to find and all the courses to build this package for himself for the craft of filmmaking."
Despite several hardships, including being in a wheelchair for a semester after a back injury, Elmore found himself beginning his senior project. He decided to make his own short film, deviating away from the typical senior project.
"I've worked on film projects before, but nothing quite to this scale," he said. "I was directing, I was working the camera, I was taking care of lighting and costumes. It was quite the undertaking."
Elmore credits his actors with several creative contributions to the film.
"Each person has their own idea of what the project is," Elmore said. "If you are the only one making the creative decisions, you're only going to see your vision.
"The others see not only your vision, but your vision interpreted through their own."
Elmore also said that his actors went above and beyond while playing his characters, suggesting various ideas in regards to blocking or how to perform his or her lines.
After a semester of writing, casting and editing, Elmore is finally ready to show his film to the world.
"It was educational, [and] it was uplifting," he said of the experience. "I got to work with some of the best actors I've ever worked with, and it was an honor to share that with them."
After graduating from the College Scholars program in May, Elmore plans to enter graduate school in the Journalism and Electronic Media department. His long-term goal is to write and direct feature-length films and eventually own his own production company.
The film, entitled "Crux," is about a man recovering from back problems and his wife, who both become victims of a home invasion. It will premiere Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Downtown West Regal Cinemas. The viewing is free to the public.