• Kristian Lawing

Meet Dane Lawing of Roadworthy Films in Santa Monica

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

Interview I did with Voyage LA Magazine

The original article can be found at

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dane Lawing.

Dane, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today? My story starts as a child who knew early that he wanted to be a cinematographer. At a very young age, I read the 5th Edition of the American Cinematographers Manual and made Super 8 movies in my parent’s garage.

I went to a North Carolina middle school with a television program and was also an avid illustrator. After graduating from New York’s School of Visual Arts with a degree in photography, I found myself unsure of how to continue to peruse my passion and ended up spending eight years as an advertising Art Director in New York.

However, this would prove to be a vital education for what was to come; feeding me with knowledge on how to run sets, storyboard, supervise editing and color correction as well as how to understand and work with clients. When the tech bubble burst in 1999 my Creative Director needed to lay people off and offered me a severance that would allow me to but a Super 16 film camera package, which I did, and never looked back.

Now, after 20 years in the film business, I am amazed and incredibly grateful at the myriad experiences I have had and the fantastic places my career has taken me thus far. I now live in Santa Monica, California with my wife, and Chihuahua. My oldest daughter is in the animation program at CalArts, and my younger daughter is attending a top art High School in Jacksonville, Florida.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? The road is as smooth as you want to see it. It would be easy to craft a tale of hardship, setback, and fear. However, each of those moments that seemed especially difficult on my own personal journey has, upon reflection, led to somewhere that was important for me to go, taught me a vital lesson or opened a door that needed opening.

Every step on what seems a circuitous road led to where I am today; which is a wonderful place. Don’t get me wrong, some experiences I have gone through were very hard and certainly qualify as dark teatimes of the soul. Some I am still dealing with the pain of. Yet each chiseled a piece of the overall sculpture of my life thus far.

Please tell us about Roadworthy Films. I am a cinematographer with over 20 years of experience shooting projects at many budget levels in many countries for many types of clients. I have seen a little bit of everything along the way and bring that wealth of experience and know how to whatever I work on. I like to split my jobs between narrative feature film and documentary work, feeling that each exercises a different part of my brain and lessons learned in one discipline enhance the quality of the other.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood? My paternal grandfather was an amazing man who was interested in everything, encouraged my personal passions and introduced me to photography. He had seemingly infinite time for me while he was alive and also was seemingly always upbeat.

Even when pancreas cancer was taking him away from us physically. Towards the end of his life, he took me on a walk and invented an invisible friend to watch over me after he was gone. That memory is my favorite and still carries great power in my life.

Contact Info:

  • Website:

  • Phone: 917.434.4755

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