Emotional Film “The Voices” Takes Sturtevant and Kirby All the Way to State

Courtesy of Timothy Sturtevant

Courtesy of Timothy Sturtevant

Alicia Correa, staff writer

The film— a product of Sturtevant and Kirby’s hard work and imagination — earned fourth place overall. The Wylie students entered the competition knowing they were the underdogs against bigger Texas schools, but still their dedication to their craft and their creativity earned them some of the greatest accolades young cinematographers can hope for.

‘The Voices” follows a character portrayed by Wylie student Mason Kirby as he goes about a troubled day in his life. Whenever he talks to someone, he imagines that person voicing and reinforcing his deepest insecurities. Eventually, these voices become too overwhelming for our main character, and he decides that taking his own life is the only option. In the end, however, he realizes that there is nothing that humans have more in common than suffering, and our shared experiences of pain mean that we can never be alone. The idea for the story was Kirby’s. “I had an idea for a short film where I wanted the main character to be self-manipulated by the people around him,” Case explains. Both students worked equally on the script, and when it came time to write the ending, they both knew that even though suicide would be a heavy topic to tackle, it was the most realistic outcome to the character’s situation.

Once the idea arose, the real challenges began. For one, though the Wylie equipment is formidable, it pales in comparison to the equipment that larger schools are provided. “We weren’t exactly sent on our way with the most cinematically pleasing cameras,” says Kirby, “so we had to use our cinematography, subject matter, and editing to carry the short film.” Another issue was time. They started working on the film two weeks before the original deadline, and filmed most of the scenes in one day. There were also problems with locations. “…The gas station we were originally gonna film at dropped out last minute, so there was a rush to find somewhere to let us film asap.” Despite the constraints, ‘The Voices” turned out to be a project that both Case and Timothy and the Wylie High School community can be proud of. 

After hours of filming and editing, the film was finally submitted. Though Kirby and Sturtevant were proud of their creation, they knew they were up against stiff competition. “…Not to say that we didn’t have confidence in our film,” Kirby clarifies, “we just knew that there were 6A schools in that same competition that made state advancing films every year…” But the film made it past round one, then two and three, and eventually, they got the news that they had made it to state. Sturtevant says that when they found out they “shared a solid high five and then [he] called his mom.” Kirby explains that though the news was welcome, it also came as a shock. They knew that their film was good, but now that the UIL judges had thought so too, Case and Timothy were at an all time high. 

Emotions reached a peak when it came time to attend State. The Wylie students didn’t just have the opportunity to view their own project, but also other State qualifying shorts. When asked what the top films had in common, they both asserted that other than quality, there was no common thematic factor. “There was so much variety,” Case notes, “among the state finalists, one was a social issues film, one was a comedy about a gorilla escaping from a zoo, a wild west comedy, and there was even a horror film!Sturtevant states that what he loved the most was that “you can make whatever your heart desires.” Though their film did not make the top three, they did come home with one of Wylie High School’s greatest Audio and Video accomplishments. 

Kirby and Sturtevant set out to make a film that would leave an impact on their audience, but their story does not just teach us one lesson but two. The film strives to convey that even though self-consciousness, anxiety, and depression may feel suffocating and ever-present, you must “always remember that you are never truly alone.” The second lesson comes from Case and Timothy’s own story of success against all odds. “If something seems impossible,” says Sturtevant, “go for it, give it everything you’ve got…” They wanted to leave an impression with their creation, and their dedication and hope managed to leave the audience with a lesson as well. 

To say that the Wylie community should be proud of ‘The Voices” and its creators would be an understatement. This story of unlikely success is an example of true hard work and spirit. This, we hope, is one of many achievements for Kirby and Sturtevant. This accomplishment makes their future and the future of the Wylie audio and video department look promising and truly exciting.


Watch the State qualifying film here