David Walter, '20

David Walter sits on a ledge that looks out over the Rockhurst campus

An English and secondary education major with a passion for filmmaking, junior David Walter is one-third of a sibling-run film production agency. Walter Bros. Pictures, consisting of Walter himself, his brother Patrick and his sister Anastasia, began with a simple spark of interest in creating a movie.

“My older brother, Patrick, was a professional wedding photographer for a really long time. He had a lot of gear and one day I asked him, ‘Hey, can I use this to make a movie?’ And he was like, ‘How do you do that?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, I think you just go out and hit the record button,’” Walter said.

That curiosity led them to take their business more seriously.

“We figured we should incorporate it as an LLC because, at that point, we were getting a lot more corporate contracts and we were getting paid to actually do it. So, we were official,” Walter said.

Many of the corporate contracts that they were receiving came from people that they knew. These videos ranged from promotional videos for businesses, to training videos or content for social media.

“There’s this gondola place on Brush Creek and that guy wanted a promotional video. We pitched him this commercial where these two people were going on a date on the gondola and it was the funniest thing. It reminded me of a jewelry commercial, but that’s what we did for him and it was just fun,” Walter said.

Walter took the role of director, and the roles for his two siblings seemingly fell into place.

“My older brother, Patrick, is very technical so he was the cinematographer. He really understands the technical side,” Walter said. “My sister, Anastasia, produces for us. She controls budgeting and things like that. She’ll also be our liaison for things like location scouting or negotiating with people who own locations that we need, and she’s also our boom mic operator.”

With all of their roles filled behind the camera, they reached out to people around them to fill the roles in front of the camera.

“Usually, what we would do is ask our friends who are actors,” Walter said. “I’m in the theater department, so I would always ask them and kind of make connections that way. Usually, they need stuff to build their reel and they will want to work for free.”

While they can recruit friends for most roles, they decided to audition for the short film they produced this summer, titled One Night. The crew auditioned 60 to 80 people for the film.

“It was a pretty big response only because getting a paid role for a short film in this city is actually the rarest role you can get,” Walter said. “Short films are usually 100 percent free because students are doing them, so when people saw that, they jumped on it, and intensely.”

While each project has a different timeline and process, Walter used the team’s most recent piece as an example of the process and time that goes into it. He began working on the film in May and the project wrapped around mid-August.

“If you do the math there, One Night was 16 minutes and 55 seconds on the final cut. After all the time I spent writing, auditioning, editing and producing, it was roughly 20 hours of work per minute. It’s a lot of work,” Walter said. “You just have to endlessly scrutinize to make it look like you didn’t endlessly scrutinize and make it look like you didn’t try at all.”

Walter believed that the most enjoyable part of the filmmaking process is being on set with the cast and crew and collaborating to create the film.

“It’s just awesome because you’re out there and you’re really creating. You’re pulling from your director of photography who’s coming up with stuff on the fly, and actors who are coming up with stuff on the fly,” Walter said. “It’s an amazing environment to be in because everyone’s contributing and everyone’s contribution is so incredibly important.”

That collaboration continues not only with his own cast and crew, but also other production companies as well. Walter Bros. Pictures has worked with fellow filmmaker, Shawn Taylor, ’20, as well as other producers in the Kansas City area.

“You never understand how important your creative allies are until you find some that you just jive with,” Walter said.

Being a part of a creative community is something that Walter learned by being a part of the theater department at Rockhurst.

“Rockhurst’s theater program taught me a lot about how to lean on other people and how to really make connections that matter,” Walter said. “I think that being in shows over there and working with our director has taught us a lot about how to put your ego aside when you’re creating stuff and really rely on your community. That’s really what’s more important because you can’t make a movie by yourself.”

Walter has no solid plans for Walter Bros. Pictures for the future. Overall, he would simply like to continue making films and enjoying the process.

“I would really hope to continue telling stories that I care a lot about that I think have meaning,” Walter said.


Follow Walter Bros. Pictures on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to them on YouTube