Acting, singing, dancing, writing, and now directing?!? Nineteen-year-old Bryson Burnette is here to prove he’s more than just a triple threat. Coming from Dalton, a small town in Georgia, Burnette played a big role at Northwest Whitfield High School, and is now doing the same in the real world after graduating in May of 2021.
In his high school career, he was very active, starring in several musicals, improv shows, and one-act plays. Bryson also received the 4A Region Best Actor Award twice in a row, as well as one 4A State Best Actor Award in 2019. He was President of the school’s Drama Club his graduating year. Now he’s doing more of the behind-the-scenes work, directing and writing. Currently, he’s in between colleges, but spent a semester at Oglethorpe University studying theatre and is planning to become a film major at a new college this fall. A member of S.T.E.P. Studios (an award-winning student film studio based in Dalton that has branches throughout Georgia colleges and universities), Burnette is spending this semester making a short film, which he’s written, directed, and even played a supporting role in.
I first asked Bryson what drew him to the camera, and he responded: “It was the opportunity to tell a story to audiences using a wholly unique medium.” He goes on to talk about his love for film, saying, “Film is so complex and intricate. With so many moving parts and roles, each piece can be used to invoke emotions and to tell stories.” While he talks, he is giving credits to his team at S.T.E.P., and talks about the thrill of making it all come together.
When I asked when he was drawn to what he does now, he explained that there was no “when”, it was more of a process. He recalls watching all kinds of movies with his father: “I was enthralled with being immersed in each world those films presented.” He also recalls his early high school days, as his love for acting and the thought of filmmaking seemed to go hand-in-hand. He started to get into more “surreal arthouse films” and uses Bergman and Eggers and Marble Hornets (low-budget projects on YouTube) as examples. It was the versatility, accessibility, and creativity that drew him in.
I then asked, “What’s next for Bryson Burnette?”, to which he replied, “My mind is a constant stream of ideas…” and explains that he’s focused on finishing this short film, as well as looking for a solid acting role. He hints at an independent summer project, but says it’s early in development, so keep a look-out for that.
Finally, it was time to ask Bryson what he had to say to other aspiring directors: “I don’t think anything I say will be too revolutionary, but just keep working… Any experience is good experience.” He then gave a quick shout-out to S.T.E.P. Studios: “If you’re in the Dalton area, or a college in Georgia, contact Jacob Poag, through email at email@example.com. He’ll be happy to talk to you about getting started with employment.” His final words are, “Film is a growing and evolving medium, and there’s always room for you.”
We at Art Infliction look forward to seeing more of Bryson’s film journey, whether he’s behind the camera or in front of it. Best of luck to him and the rest of S.T.E.P. Studio, as they move forward with the production of “Dalton: A Story Of Survival” and their upcoming projects.