David Ray: With NSI, I felt like anything was possible

David Ray

Photo by Wayne Hoecherl

Storytelling is more important than ever as we all face the unique challenges this year has brought us.

Stories entertain, inspire and transform. They remind us of where we come from and where we can go. We need more stories to free our imaginations and open our hearts to create a path of understanding and healing.

To mark the season of giving during December, we’re sharing impact stories from our alumni and board members to show the power of story in action.

Current NSI students are blessed by the commitment of NSI’s Board of Directors – 100% of whom have donated to NSI’s annual fund. Please join them in supporting our students by donating today and making the power of story even more powerful.

Today’s alumni impact story comes from David Ray, NSI Features First and Totally Television grad.

David wrote and directed his NSI Features First film, Fetching Cody, in 2005. The film is one of 24 fully produced films to come from the program. His NSI Totally Television show, The Last Nation, was developed with CTV.

His most recent film, Grand Unified Theory, screened at film festivals across North America. The film was nominated for best screenwriting at the 2017 Leo Awards.

David credits NSI with providing the opportunity for him to build lifelong friendships with people in the industry – some of which he still works with today.

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If you could describe your experience with NSI in three words what would they be?

Inspiring, demanding, fruitful.

How did your training through NSI help you get to the place you’re at in your career today?

My first feature was made with the help of NSI’s Features First program.

The series we went through NSI Totally Television with was developed with CTV. NSI played a massive part in all of that, moved it forward and introduced me to lifelong friends and peers.

How did your instructors, mentors and peers influence you to become a better storyteller?

Challenged me, believed in me, connected me.

What advice or encouragement would you give a prospective applicant considering NSI programs?

I don’t know of a better way to level up in this country.

What has your career trajectory looked like between when you completed training and now?

I have one.

What was the most transformative part of your learning experience?

NSI escorts you through the looking glass, introduces you to the movers and shakers of the industry and treats you like you belong there.

What skills did you acquire in your NSI program that you did not have before?

Professionalism perhaps – and industry perspective, confidence.

What project(s) are you currently working on?

I have three series in development with a writing partner I met at NSI, Paula Devonshire.

Where can people find out more about your work online?

My IMDb page.

What is your favourite Canadian film / TV show / web series?

Schitt’s Creek of course as of late. Letterkenny. Orphan Black.

But all time? I loved The Grey Fox, pretty much anything by Villeneuve, Cronenberg and Arcand.

I wanted in after watching films like Léolo, Atanarjuat, Roadkill, CRAZY, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing (NSI took us out for dinner with Patricia Rozema). I felt like with NSI anything was possible.

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Keep the story going and donate today

At NSI, we’re passionate about nurturing storytellers because stories connect us all.

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