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Check Out David Wilkinson’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Wilkinson.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Before I was ever a “professional”, I hustled as a writer, director, and editor of my own stories. In Fall 2005, I convinced a Nashville film company to allow me to intern for free as a 32-year-old.

So I quit my day job, packed, sold the house, and moved to Music City with my wife (Cheryl) and three kids. We lived in my parents’ furnished garage until the semester of free interning came to an end.

I fell into a freelance job as an assistant video editor on Music Row, at a post-production company where I’d been shadowing the tape op. No more $100 checks as a production assistant for country music videos! With a steady income, Cheryl and I thought we hit the jackpot. So, we eventually moved our family into our own suburban home outside the city, and I got a full-time gig doing marketing video work that lasted over a decade.

During that time, I developed skill sets as a producer, director, post-production leader, and podcast producer. I also continued to create my own stories as well, including Fruitcake The Movie (Amazon Prime). Now I work with my own clients to produce podcasts or video documentaries. For the last few years as a sole proprietor (Mana 3 Media), I have overseen multiple clients shows for my podcast network, including my own show: Dad Matters.

And as a documentary filmmaker, I’ve co-founded Story Preserve, with long-time collaborator and friend Justin Baker. Because every story is worth preserving, we create documentaries about that person that matters to you: that inspiring group, hero, guide, mentor, or loved one that you want to celebrate. We believe a story told is a life lived!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
In truth, it has been a fairly smooth road, but a very slow one. I started working for free just hoping someone would think my storytelling abilities had professional value. The scariest time was the move to Nashville because I already had a family and felt like I was playing catchup with everyone else. But people were kind and took time to give me opportunities.

So every promotion or pivot just seemed like the next big thing. There are only three reasons this experience hasn’t been rocky: My wife and children believe in me and support me 100%, I continue to hustle, and I invest in relationships. I prefer people over products any day of the week.

That may sound like a line, but I kid you not: listen well, keep it casual, and champion other people’s ideas. That’s been my best shot at a life worth living!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
For the last few years as a sole proprietor (Mana 3 Media), I have overseen multiple clients shows for my podcast network, including my own show: Dad Matters. And as a documentary filmmaker, I’ve co-founded Story Preserve, with long-time collaborator and friend Justin Baker. Because every story is worth preserving, we create documentaries about that person that matters to you: that inspiring group, hero, guide, mentor, or loved one that you want to celebrate. We believe a story told is a life lived!

I’m most proud of other people’s stories that I get to help articulate. Even on my own podcast, Dad Matters, I’ve leaned heavily on other parents’ stories and my own kids’ lives for distinct input.

As a documentary filmmaker for Story Preserve, I get to collaborate with my friends to spotlight other people: stories of good living, messages of hope, and giving a voice to the marginalized.

The best feedback is when someone close to one of our subjects on camera says, “I never knew that about them.” Of course, a few shed tears are also nice to hear about.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Collaboration may hurt, but it always helps! I learned this the hard way. It’s inevitable that young creatives struggle with ego and want to be innovative.

But I simply believe my idea is only better when it’s chewed on, tweaked, updated, and added to by someone else’s ideas and input. As an older person, I’m at peace with the fact that there are a few things I’m good at, and a lot that I suck at.

I’m glad for someone to help me look good. I can relax and smoke my pipe instead of trying to masterclass every skill out there.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Dad Matters Story

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