Journey of a Student Filmmaker Part 1: An Introduction

In the past two years there’s been a rise in the amount of e-mails from university students wishing to use Thenublack as a platform for getting their work shown to a wider audience. From first year students to graduates, it’s interesting to see their journey from finding their feet to becoming more established in their field.

After getting in touch with me about featuring his work on the site, I’ve become a fan of Xavier’s work and also through following him via Twitter have gotten to share the ups and downs of being a student filmmaker. I’m excited he’s agreed to come on board and share his journey with Thenublack and hope you enjoy it too.

In this first instalment we’re re-introduced and brought up to speed with what Xavier’s been up to since his feature on the site, and as graduation draws closer the task of of getting into a good grad school comes into play.



My name is Xavier L. Neal-Burgin. I am a current senior at The University of Alabama working on an interdisciplinary degree in film production. Nearly a year ago I was featured on The NuBlack for my work as a photographer and filmmaker.

I work under my moniker, Que The Lights, which represents my business as well as the creative and artistic endeavors I pursue.

I’m here to say the journey from where I began has been arduous and challenge, yet unbelievable fulfilling.

As a student across the world in one of the biggest filmmaking venues of our time, The Cannes Film Festival,  I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of individuals within the industry. Everyone had a website, a business card, and a slew of work experience far beyond my measure. Many of the students I worked and lived with boasted work and material far beyond the scope of an average student. Exploring the festival and meeting the assortment of individuals with the same drive and goal as me made me come to a realization. If I was going to take this career path of filmmaking seriously, I had to be willing to display the same determination those around me sustained. This coincided with another question.

Was film the medium I truly wanted to pursue?

I challenged myself to start building a portfolio which signified an honest dedication to the craft I wanted to make my life’s work. This is  when the idea for my website emerged. Why not build a viable portfolio open to the world’s scrutiny. Encouraging or belligerent, this would motivate me to seriously engage the goals I’ve set up for myself.

Sometimes I’m honestly surprised by the progress of my work as a filmmaker,


My most recent was for the sorority Theta Sigma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha at The University of Alabama for their Greek Week. They wanted a film noir look to their video.


Now, in my last year as a University of Alabama, I decided to apply for graduate schools in film production. I applied to The University of South Carolina (USC), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), The American Film Institute (AFI), New York University, and Columbia University.

I was accepted into USC and NYU. UCLA has recently called me back for a second interview. AFI  said no, and I’m waiting to hear back from Columbia.

I’ll be making my decision soon so I’ll be sure to keep you update in the next post.

So till then be sure to check out my most recent work at Que The Lights and follow me @XLNB.