By Micaela Figueroa
Content creation is what David Sams, a senior new media production major and film minor, describes as his passion and what he came to UT to study. He has always had a love of video games and films and gained an appreciation for the making of such content, which resulted in him winning the Student of the Year award for his major.
“The moment where I realized that I could possibly do this for the rest of my life was because of a YouTube video I saw in high school,” Sams said. He recalled the first time he was made aware that digital media could make him money in the future.
It was a hot summer day in 2011 in Westborough, Massachusetts, where he was sitting in his room scrolling through YouTube. David happened upon a vlog (video blog), by a video production company Apprentice A, by the name of “Harry Potter and The Vlog of Azkaban (Huggies, Waterfalls, and Bobby Blaze).” This video sparked something within David to pursue a career in video production. He looked up to the creator of the Apprentice A production company, Corey Vidal. He then started using “freeware,” free software, to start his new, exciting journey.
Since this spark of interest occurred, David’s brother, Matthew, surprised him with several Adobe applications on his 17th birthday in 2012. This package included downloadable disks containing software used to create creative content right from his computer. David mainly used Adobe Premiere and Adobe Photoshop to help enhance his image and video quality, and said that Adobe was a step up from the free software he had used previously.
This was not the first time Sams put his love for the technological art into action.
“David always made little stop motion movies when he was little, with his action figures and legos,” said Julia Sams, David’s’ mother. She knew at a young age David would go on to bigger and better things in this field.
“He was super creative with pictures and images,” Julia said. She remembers that her husband would teach David and his other siblings how to work on a computer and code websites.
Julia even recalled when the family would get together for game night and David would take it upon himself to enforce new rules for the games — rules he made up. She says that David never really stated to his family that he wanted to be a creative content developer, to which David responded, “I didn’t really say it, I just did it.”
According to David’s girlfriend Kamakshi Dadhwal, a junior psychology and philosophy double major at UT, David uses his knowledge of technology and content creation for good.“Technology is not nice to me, but he is so helpful to me and many others,” Dadhwal said.
David not only is a full time student, but he also works at the cass lab as a lab tech assistant and a resident assistant (RA) on the sixth floor of Straz Hall.
Dadhwal was often told that David would stay late at his job in the Cass Annex to assist with several students needing his guidance to complete assignments from those students’ classes. Students were very appreciative of David’s willingness to use his free time to help them with things they were struggling with, but came so naturally to David.
“He tried to teach me Photoshop, so I could improve my creative content,” Dadhwal said. “That didn’t work out very well.”
As an RA, David uses his skills to construct his very creative and massive door tags involving famous movie scenes and stretching all the way back to his infatuation with the Lego franchise. He also made the colorful and eye catching flyer for the Straz building wide carnival program.
“He is very technology creative; he knows the background information and knows what is aesthetically pleasing,” Dadhwal said.
His residents enjoy his dedication to making his floor look and feel lively and his dedication to informing them with his bulletin board filled with self-made posters that includes helpful information and emergency UT phone numbers.
David’s family and friends were not the only ones to see his many accomplishments; the faculty members within the art, communication, information and technology management, music, and writing departments thought his academic work has really made a lasting impression. In the Spring 2016 semester, faculty awarded David New Media Production Student of the Year at the Communication Department Awards Ceremony. Gregg Perkins,communication’s chair and associate professor at UT, honored David this award because of David’s dedication and strong academic standing above the many other amazing students within the new media production major.
According to the UT website, “The [new media production] program focuses on designing and creating applications for interactive media, mobile platforms and the Internet for both commercial and artistic intent. NMP (New Media Production) studies the associations between these areas in the context of academic scholarship, aesthetic exploration and technical research.” Those faculty members voting who received this award felt as though David exemplified these characteristics and represented the department well.
David knew his family was going to move from Westborough, Massachusetts to Florida at some point during his time at college, so he looked into UT and happened upon the new media production major.
“I liked [new media productions] because it was broad and really had everything I liked; art, technology, film, writing and music,” David said. “I applied and accepted to go to UT before even visiting the school, I just knew it was right for me.”
David has been very thankful for his time at the UT. Although he is graduating this December, he will never forget the faculty members who have taught him through his time at UT and helped him build his portfolio. “I still don’t know what I want to do with my life,” David said. “But in this field I am constantly learning about new things I can do with my future career.”
Micaela Figueroa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.