i. I work as an instructor of Anthropology & Sociology at Columbia College, where I am head of the department. Apart from academic activities, I am active in independent theatre production as a producer, and in documentary film as a filmmaker, primarily working on location in South Africa.
ii. I do this creative work because:
It is fulfilling, and allows me to express my wonder at the world, and exercise my critical faculties and imagination.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
Being an astute observer of society, and a good listener, which encourages people to share their “stories” with me.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Accepting that my personal artistic vision and priorities are not necessarily shared by everyone.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
Writing poetry and prose; making scale models of cars, ships & planes; dabbling in drawing and painting.
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
Theatre people, both onstage and backstage, and other documentary filmmakers working outside their own cultural environment and “comfort zone” – and my daughter, Jessica Stuart, a singer/songwriter and composer who has created unique and original music for our films.
vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career:
Working in the social sciences and interacting with people from widely divergent backgrounds; doing “Applied Anthropology” in fostering dialog and discussion among different cultural groups.
viii. The biggest myth about this type of work is:
That it is more inspiration than “perspiration.” It’s definitely inspiration up-front, but hard work thereafter.
ix. Some proud career moments:
Standing ovations at shows we’ve produced; kudos for films we’ve screened; our first South African documentary being shown to audiences throughout South Africa, Namibia, Botswana & Zambia; the gratitude of the people we’ve featured in our films and the viewers.
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Look around you, and listen to people’s stories. Some of the most interesting might occur in the most familiar but unexpected places.
xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
Continuing to refine my interviewing and editing skills, and working again on direction of live theatre.
xii. If you want to see my work, go to:
Cultural Odyssey Films Our new website is presently under construction, and will be online later this summer. It will provide background on our company and easy access to film trailers and contact information.
Header Photo: Ron + Wendy Stuart