Ron Dawson conceived, produced, directed, hosted and co-edited the first ever online reality TV series for and starring professional photographers. It was part of WPPI’s social media marketing campaign for their 2009 trade show.

Ron gathered 24 of the top wedding and portrait photographers in the country and two of the top wedding videographers, and split them into two teams. Each team had 24 hours to conceive, shoot and edit both an original short film about the business, as well as a PSA for a worthy cause. The charities served were Thirst Relief and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.

Starring such luminaries in the industry as Dane Sanders, Jasmine Star, David Jay, Kevin Kubota, [b]ecker, Bambi Cantrell, Jim Garner, Catherine Hall and more, this was a hilarious and engaging series that has everything you love about reality TV: drama, comedy, suspense, and a surprising conclusion.

The Challenges

There were a number of challenges getting this project produced. It is a premium example of production management and indicative of DDM’s skill to manage larger productions with disparate personalities and stakeholders.

  • Fundraising: Ron had to raise the funds to hire two small video crews, fly all the photographers out to Los Angeles, feed them, and provide the cash prizes to the charities. Some of the donors included Mircosoft, Nik Software, Kubota Images, Triple Scoop Music and Loktah.
  • Recruiting: in addition to raising the money, it was also necessary to recruit the cast and coordinate a date that could fit the schedules of over two dozen professional artists in high demand: right before Thanksgiving!
  • Directing: Ron was not only the on-screen host of the show, but he also had to direct the behind the scenes video crews.
  • Managing the talent: when you gather over two dozen artists who are considered the best in the industry, managing egos and temperament is no small task. Luckily everyone involved came with a terrific and self-less attitude to help these worthy causes.
  • Editing: working with a motion graphic artist to produce the opening and an assistant editor to assemble the bulk of the footage, a total of nine 20 minute+ episodes, two preview videos, and three recaps were produced from nearly 48 hours of footage (two video crews rolling non-stop for 24 hours straight). A gargantuan feat.
  • Distribution and Marketing: we produced a website for the show and managed the roll-out of the social media campaign which involved getting the audience to watch the shows and vote for their favorite PSA and short film. This series was instrumental in helping WPPI reach record attendance numbers that year.