Find Your Passion: A Well-Scripted Life

Xavier Burgin Burgin, a film production major from Columbus, Miss., relaxes between “takes.” (Samantha Hernandez)

By Katie Breaseale

If there was a script of Xavier Burgin's life, it could not have been laid out better.

Not everyone is lucky enough to build a major around their hobby. Burgin, a junior from Columbus, Miss., did just that through New College at The University of Alabama.

A film production major with a triple minor in French, liberal arts and telecommunications and film, Burgin is following his passion of film and art and making those hobbies a way of life.

Actively involved on campus, including the Blount Undergraduate Initiative, New College and the University Honors Program, Burgin has been a residential adviser for two and a half years and serves as president of his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. While that may sound like a full schedule, he still finds time for his passion and continually shares his work with others.

Burgin considers Billy Field, a film production and screen writing professor at the University, to be the reason he is involved with film and photography. Before Field's class, "Make a Movie," Burgin was more interested in the written word than film. Field showed Burgin film's ability to get a message and vision out to the masses. He was hooked.

"The 'Make a Movie' class was the first thing that told me this is the route I wanted to take," Burgin said. "Billy Field is the reason why I am here at this moment; he gave me the first push."

Field says what he looks for in a student is desire. He could tell from the first moment he met Burgin that he had the intensity and desire needed.

Xavier BurginThe UA student credits his UA professor Billy Field with showing him the potential of film to share his messages. (Samantha Hernandez)

"Xavier's work is original, he never gives up, he has a passion about his work and he cares about the outcome," Field said. "It's not just a class for him."

Since the moment his passion was realized, Burgin has done everything he can to immerse himself in film production and photography.

"When I get into something, I have to understand it," Burgin said. "I started reading everything, asking questions, bugged everyone I knew, and now we can talk on the same level."

As a sophomore in May 2010, Burgin was one of 22 students from UA who were granted scholarships to be a part of the Cannes Film Festival in France.

"Everyone at the film festival had business cards or a website," Burgin said. "I felt far behind and wanted to come back and get on the ball. I incorporated what I am plus what I am actually doing in film. It started off tiny with a few writings and bad films. Now it is not only my videos, but videos from other people."

Burgin's most recent success is his short film, "Bottom of a Glass," a story of a man who copes with tragedy and his struggles along the way. The film is unique in that puppets are used as the main characters, and the ending is open to interpretation. "Bottom of a Glass" won Best Drama at the Campus MovieFest at UA in February and was also one of the Rethink Possible Award Semifinalists.

Xavier BurginA faculty mentor says Burgin has the intensity and desire necessary to achieve within his chosen profession.  (Samantha Hernandez)

After graduation in May 2012, Burgin hopes his portfolio site will help him attend graduate school at NYU, UCLA, USC or the American Film Institute. After graduate school he plans to go into the industry as a screenwriter, because he feels the most important part of a movie is the story.

"The idea of making it inspires me," Burgin said. "Now people come to me. I get requests, and I have so many I have to turn down people, and I am doing my passion."

If anyone ever needs his services, Burgin is more than happy to help.

"I like what I am doing, and I don't need pay. If you don't have the money and it is for a good cause, we can figure something out. Money is not the main cause. It is not a business; it's something I enjoy."

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Katie Breaseale is a senior from Oneonta, majoring in public relations and minoring in political science. She served as an intern in the UA Office of Media Relations during the spring 2011 semester.

This story is part of the Find Your Passion feature section of the UA home page. For more stories, please visit Find Your Passion or Crimson Spotlight. To learn more about how you can find your passion at The University of Alabama, please visit UA Undergraduate Admissions.