De’Ariss Hope and Darien Taylor’s vision is not exclusive to the football field. Their abilities expand to the creative landscape. The two major in Film and Media Production creating award-winning films and carving out their path in the entertainment world.
Hope was the editor on the team that created the short film Fire Trajectories!, which is nominated at multiple film festivals.
The production of Fire Trajectories! was as hectic as any other film.
“From eleven in the morning to five in the morning the next day. Shooting, setup, tear down, for a three-minute short,” Hope said. “It was definitely an eye-opening experience — what you put in is what you put out.”
But his skills aren’t housed in editing suites alone. Taylor smiled as he spoke about his fellow filmmaker, “He (Hope) is into writing … he’s into audio … (he) has the gift of audio … he can do camera work …”
Lincoln Reed, the assistant professor of film and media production, commented on Hope’s writing ability, saying, “He’s a very talented writer and it’s been so much fun to … brainstorm with him, make up fun ideas … I love every time I get to … trade ideas with him and just figure out the best way to tell a story.”
The work ethic Hope developed on the football field translated perfectly to the studio. When asked about what his favorite part of the filmmaking process was, he thought about his answer for a few seconds, then said, “Production. Actually being out on the field, shooting or directing.”
“Because it’s the most challenging.”
As if Hope’s skills already seemed incredible, he also has a foot in the door of music production. He has two albums currently released online, Tales of an Insomniac and Unlike the Rest under the name D.B.M. D.Hope. Self-taught from ninth grade by combining his love of music and poetry, he expresses himself through his hip-hop singles and albums.
Taylor’s filmmaking skills are also exceptional. The documentary Kojak: A Fuller Life, directed and co-written by Taylor, was the winner of Best Student Film at the Hobnobben Film Festival in 2022, and he’s still not done touring the award circuit. Can I Get a Job?, again directed by Taylor, is currently making its way across multiple film festivals.
Kathy Bruner, professor of film and media production, complimented Taylor and said, “Darien grew enormously as a filmmaker and storyteller while working on (Kojak: A Fuller Life). The team faced a number of obstacles but never wavered in their commitment to tell Kojak’s redemptive story.”
Taylor displays abilities in multiple facets of filmmaking, from the director’s chair to the writer's room. His drive lives in his desire to inspire the audience of his films.
“One of my favorite moments was a little kid coming up to me and saying … ‘Oh, I want to play basketball now,’ all because he just watched a documentary about Kojak. That’s crazy — inspiring people … how many other kids can I inspire? How many other people can I inspire?” Taylor said.
Behind the line and behind the camera, stopping screen plays and writing screenplays, Hope and Taylor are brothers both on and off the field. Their teachers, mentors and coaches can only shower them with compliments.
“It’s been great to see them … develop their artistic voices the past couple of years and to have more of a sense of … who God has called them to be,” Reed says.
Now, after four years, both Taylor and Hope are just a couple short months from graduating and letting the credits roll on their Taylor University story.
The two are working on their final project for Narrative Filmmaking and their first project together. The film, set to be approximately 15 minutes long, is in pre-production as the script is finalized before eventually being filmed and released for a projected May 2023 release date.
When asked about the future film, Taylor and Hope kept their cards close to their chests. Hope leaned back in his chair when asked about the project and said, “Won’t spoil anything, but we have a story.”
Taylor, meanwhile, just smiled and put a finger to his lips. The best from these two is yet to come. It may be coming to a theater near you.