In combining his love for film and theater, a recent University of Arkansas Little Rock graduate created a piece for his final project he hoped would, someday, serve as a symbol of his legacy.
Following his high school graduation, William Wofford said goodbye to his hometown of Brinkley, Arkansas, and headed to college in the big city. Upon his arrival to UA Little Rock, Wofford decided he would do everything in his power to succeed.
Five years later, Wofford obtained bachelor’s degrees in mass communication and theater, along with experience that could take him both far and wide.
Thanks to the work he completed while attending UA Little Rock, Wofford’s confidence in his abilities amplified. For his final project, he edited five years worth of footage to include in his brief documentary, “Theater and Dance: Perspectives.”
The 45 minute documentary is both philosophical and instructional, addressing the questions, ‘What is theater and why do we do it?’ The film also focuses on student’s and professor’s inspiration in the field and discoveries they’ve made throughout.
“I dedicated this entire documentary to a very brilliant woman named Karen Harris,” Wofford said. “She was the administrative assistant in the theater and dance department. Unfortunately, she passed away two years ago, but it was her that encouraged me to really embrace my skills and flourish.”
The original purpose of Wofford’s project was to serve as a classroom tool for his professor’s, Bill Marshall, introduction to theater class. With a greater vision in mind, Marshall insisted, ‘Why stop there?’
Contemplating Marshall’s advice, Wofford considered options that would take his project to the next level.
“I was always taught in theater to ask questions and do the research,” Wofford said. “I asked myself, ‘What is theater?’ I had no idea that this question would be enough to make the people who hold Ph.D.s in my department say, ‘I have to think about that.’”
Seeking to answer the age old question, Wofford interviewed more than 20 students and professors to hear their valued opinions. With the additional footage in hand, Wofford combined it with auditions, events, and other recordings he’d filmed throughout previous years.
“I never thought I would be using videos of random memories to create something as big as this,” Wofford said.
Because it took Wofford an entire semester to complete his project, he was more than excited to showcase the completed film. He submitted his work in the 2017 College of Social Sciences and Communication Research and Creative Works Showcase and took home the “Best Undergraduate Creative Work” award.
“My professors pushed me beyond my boundaries,” Wofford said. “I was the director, editor, producer, and everything in between. I didn’t sign a contract or get paid for the project, but I simply did something I loved to do.”
There were many times Wofford wanted to give up on the project. He remembers one of his roughest moments when almost all of his actors dropped out three hours before shooting a scene.
“That day, I completely broke down,” he said. “I cried to my professor and I’ll never forget his reaction. After he laughed he said, ‘It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.’ He told me it wasn’t the first time something like this would happen, so I would have to find a way to make it work.”
And so he did.
Thanks to the support of his family, professors, and peers, Wofford was determined to see the project to the end.
Now that his work at the university is over, Wofford is gearing up to tackle the next phase of his journey.
In 2018, he plans to move to Los Angeles to attend a conservatory school, a college for the study of classical music or other arts, including theater. Until then, he said he will continue to make as many videos as possible and work to perfect his craft.