For Sean Davé, the mark of a good storyteller is the gift of creating stories that keep people hanging on; stories they want to share with others.
“If you want to know what happens next, that means you’re invested in the characters,” Davé said. “…That means you believe in that obstacle. It means you believe in that character.”
If that insatiable urge to show someone, anyone, is the mark of the greats, then Davé is doing things right. His most recent project, the music video for Pentatonix’s single “Cheerleader,” is well on the way to its 20 millionth view.
For Davé, the art of telling stories through film is about even more than the already-formidable task of breathing life into something that millions of viewers will react to: collaboration is king. Davé is an indisputable standout in his field; his 2014 short film Wieder ‘Zam won a slew of awards, including the Golden Tripod Award for Best Picture at Campus Moviefest Hollywood and Best Narrative Short at Black Warrior Film Festival, and yet he holds the effort of those around him paramount to any chance of success.
“It’s an industry where a lot of people want to work and a lot of people want a few key jobs where they can be creative,” Davé said. “You have to be patient and realistic … the best thing for me at UA, production wise, was the attitude that professors and students put out, that is, to stay humble.”
Rachel Raimist, associate professor in UA’s telecommunication and film department, is certain that Davé has what it takes, though. She reflects on the striking quality of one of Davé’s early films, Wieder ‘Zam, and the distinct challenges of the project.
“The fact that a short, four-minute film that was conceived, shot and edited in less than a week has ‘that’; it means that [Davé] really is studying filmmaking, and I think that is why he has started to find success, because he is a thoughtful filmmaker.”
Davé is just two years out of school and has already made a place for himself in an industry that is notoriously difficult to enter. But big jobs and blue ribbons don’t come easily and they aren’t free. Raimist has seen Davé earn his stripes over the years.
“He is one of those people that genuinely deserves it,” she said. “All the good things that come, he’s been working for quietly, humbly.”
There is another key factor in Davé’s recipe for success: emphasis on the ability to evoke.
“If you tell a story and ninety-nine people hate it, but one person loves it so much that they want to tell everyone, that’s better than if a hundred people just kind of like it,” Davé said.
Davé has a keen eye for detail, and even at five minutes or less, his works leave the viewer noticing something new every time they watch. This is a powerful talent, and Davé uses it to leave a lasting impression no matter what the project.
To see Davé’s music video for Pentatonix or watch his short, see the clip below.