DCP 135: Filmmaker Ron Dawson on Finding Inspiration in Unusual Places

Ron Dawson returns to the Digital Convergence Podcast after moving from Atlanta to his new home in Seattle, Washington. He talks about working as an employee versus being self-employed–and he's doing both! Usually most of us in this business are artists first. We need to make money to meet our basic needs and wants. However, when we do work for hire (either as an employee or freelancer) we rarely get to express our art the way we want to–you obviously have to do what the customer wants. So how do we get to the point of doing what we love?

Ron's secret sauce: MITMO.

In other words, Minimize Input To Maximize Output. Ron says, "Specifically, in order for you as an artist to maximize your creative output, and still make a living, you must minimize the amount of input the person(s) paying your bills has on your art. It’s that simple."

A good example of Ron applying MITMO to his own art is his recent short film Unusual Places. Ron talks about how responding to a Craigslist ad for furniture unexpectedly led to making a passion project film about a woman from Paris, Aline, who makes furniture from cardboard. Ron talks about how the idea for the short film came to fruition. He wanted to do something different than the usual documentary. Aline takes discarded pieces of cardboard and makes furniture strong enough to stand on. Out of thousands of people who dismiss the cardboard as garbage, was one person who saw something special in it. Ron's "ah-ha" moment came in recognizing the beauty of the metaphor. He wrote a poem to serve as the foundation of the film. The poem is narrated in French by Aline, with English subtitles in the film. The effect is powerful. It's definitely not your typical documentary.

An interesting side note: Ron shot the film using a Nikon 7100. It was edited in Final Cut Pro X–Ron's preferred NLE.

Ron Dawson
Ron Dawson

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