David admits that his passion for Film began during high school after being inspired and motivated by viewing Orson Welles’ CITIZEN KANE. “I realized that I wanted to become a Filmmaker and somehow I had already taken the first step…”
Majoring in Motion Pictures at UCLA, David gained both theory and practice in the Art and Craft of Cinematography, Directing and Editing as well as studying every film available, from D.W. Griffiths’ INTOLERANCE to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001... Influenced by the European New Wave, he soon gained experience with the camera and began to shoot small independent productions. He was usually hired as the Cinematographer/Editor, but did anything that needed to be done, from treatments, budgets and production boards, to storyboards, second unit and production supervising.
By gaining the reputation of being a DP who could deliver a quality look on a modest budget, David earned the attention of Clint Eastwood. “I consider the year that I worked with Clint, to be my PhD in filmmaking… We had an excellent rapport from day one, because we both loved the films of John Ford and hated the thought of wasting any time or money.” Their first feature BRONCO BILLY, wrapped two and a half weeks under schedule, largely due to David’s lighting techniques, which saved the production over a million dollars. It also became one of the most critically acclaimed Clint Eastwood films ever, while their next feature ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN, received the Academy of Country Music Award as Picture of the Year, and became one of the top grossing films for Warner Brothers.
David admits to being at the right place at the right time to be both the Director of Photography on BLOODSPORT, then the Director on KICKBOXER. Both films combined cost under 5 million dollars to produce, still they racked up remarkable grosses worldwide, became martial arts classics, and launched the career of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
He also acknowledges that he brings a fist-full of experience to the table, after Directing episodic television, thrillers with Roy Scheider and Dennis Hopper and several “micro budget” High Definition (HD) films. “I’ve worked with indigenous crews all over the world, from Sweden, Italy, Mexico and South America, to Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Israel, South Africa and Bulgaria, and discovered that with today’s technology, quality films can be made anywhere on the planet.”
D.W. transitioned into Academia over ten years ago and has taught filmmaking at Chapman University, USC, Chapman Singapore, and UCLA. He is currently teaching both Onsite and Online at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. His textbooks, MILESTONES IN CINEMA, 50 Visionary Films & Filmmakers and ZEN & The Art Of Independent Filmmaking are available at www.amazon.com. What’s on the horizon? “First, never retiring! I’ve recently completed my MA, and I’m always open to the offer of more Directing especially on location… Presently, I’m focusing on teaching, writing, conducting seminars, mentoring young talent and keeping up on the explosion of cutting edge technology.”
I guess by now I can honestly say that: “I’ve been there and done that.”