Dan began working as a cinematographer in 2001 in the indie-friendly city of Austin, Texas. His first film credit, however, came a few years earlier when he composed the score for a feature film. That film’s box of dailies on VHS, combined with the hours spent watching over the shoulder of editors Mark and Jay Duplass, served as Dan’s own film school and introduced him to the process of cinematography for the first time.
Soon after, Dan completed an 8-week production workshop at the New York Film Academy in Manhattan with thoughts of becoming a director. When friends heard he was in “film school” they asked him if he would shoot their films when he returned to Austin. For the next few years, he worked almost non-stop as a cinematographer going from film to film all the while wondering when he would have a chance to develop and direct his own projects. It was during his third year working in production that Dan realized he wasn’t just working as a cinematographer—he had become one. Along with that realization came the desire to teach cinematography.
In 2008, Dan received his MFA in Film Production with an emphasis in Cinematography from Chapman University where he served as teaching assistant for esteemed educator and cinematographer, Bill Dill, ASC. Dan worked in California for several years after graduation until he relocated to his home state of Ohio. In 2011, he began teaching Digital Media at Zane State College while continuing his work as a cinematographer. During this time, Dan was awarded a “Distinguished Professor” endowment for his efforts in providing real-world production experiences for his students. Those real-world experiences came from arranging for four of his classes to work on the set of The Reliant, Dan’s first faith-based feature film.
With over 250 credits on features, documentaries, television pilots, short films, industrials, and music videos, including Treasure Lies (showing at this year's festival), Dan has acquired footage on all major film and digital formats. He lives in Ohio with his wife, Amy, their children Brennan, Ollie, Anya, and Piper, and stepsons Marc Anthony, Drew, and Zach.