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CoastLine: Scott Davis on Wilmington Theater and a film career from Firestarter to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Scott Davis started his film career on Firestarter in the 1980s in Wilmington, NC and ended it in 2017 with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Scott Davis started his professional film career as a set painter on Firestarter in the early 1980s. He also landed a small part in that project, and for almost four more decades, he continued what he calls his gypsy life as professional film crew member. He picked up a StarNews lifetime achievement award in 2019 for enduring contribution to Wilmington theater, which he shares with his brother-from-another-mother, Jeff Loy.

Scott Davis landed his first professional film job as a painter.  It was an entry-level position, but he was just happy to have a foot in the door. After he started work, he learned he would also play a small part as an actor on that project.

The film was Firestarter, it was the early 1980s in Wilmington.  For nearly four more decades, Scott Davis would work on major motion pictures doing everything from rigging to Best Boy to Key Grip and eventually producing his own work.

The 1990 low-budget indie film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gave him his first key grip job.  Since then he’s worked as a member of the film crew on Stephen King’s The Night Flier, Tammy, the TV series Matlock, Bolden and Oprah Winfrey’s The Wedding -- among many others.  

In 2019, he received the Lela Thompson Award for Enduring Contribution to Wilmington Theater as part of the StarNews Theater Awards

The 2017 film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, closed the book on his film career. On this edition of CoastLine, we find out why, we hear about his adventures in the screen trade, and he shares advice for the next generation. 


The North Carolina Filmmakers Series is offering a free screening of the 1990 film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, on Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 4 PM at The Pointe 14 in Wilmington. Scott Davis, key grip, will answer audience questions after the film.