We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrick Cone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrick, what role has risk played in your life or career?
People who know me well might laugh at my decision to answer this particular question. If you know about the Enneagram, I am a six, which generally means “risk averse”, among other cautious attributes. In my personal life, I am very cautious and suffer from anxiety. However, when I am in the field shooting, I generally tend to be fearless. “Doing anything for the shot” is cliché, but seems to be my guiding principle when shooting vérité documentary content. A mental health professional told me that when an anxious mind has a task to fixate on, the general anxiety tends to slip away. This would explain the high I get from shooting in the field – whether roaming freely in heavily gang controlled barrios in El Salvador, gleefully motoring across stormy water in leaky fishing boats in Ghana and Honduras or stepping backward off the thousandth busy sidewalk and into traffic, I feel most alive when I’m locked in on my craft. Most of my proudest moments behind the camera are times I took great risk to get a shot. Also, because the film and video industry is so saturated with would-be practitioners, you really have no choice but to engage in a fair amount of risk taking. Otherwise, you are going to miss out on a lot of opportunities. That means, if you are just entering the industry, take every single one of those unpaid jobs and internships. Now that I’m a little more established, I think the most common tactic I use, with a fair amount of success, is to approach a brand or an individual I believe in and ask if I can create content for them pro-bono, with the hope they’ll like my work and and bring me on as a paid vendor. At the very least, you can beef up your reel this way. It’s unfortunate that our industry has to operate this way and we could have a whole other conversation about that but it’s the reality. Anyway, in my opinion, healthy risk taking is a good quality to have. I really admire those for whom it comes natural and I am always striving to be a smarter, healthy risk taker, both in my personal and professional life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a filmmaker and I love my job. I am very excited about a sports documentary passion project I am producing. Getting here (wherever ‘here’ is) involved a lot of hard work, long hours and saying “yes” to every project that came across my radar. It was (and is) certainly not easy. I still do all those things. To make a living as an independent filmmaker is hard and there are many days I want to pull my hair out but I reckon the hard is what makes it great. Above all, in this industry, you really need to have patience and good relational skills. I am a shy, anxious introvert, so this is a daily challenge for me but it’s so important. I would like people to know that I love this world and the stories to be found in it. I kind of borrow the Navy’s line: “there’s no beach outta reach” for me to take a job, large or small. I love shooting around the globe and I love serving my clients.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
While I like to say I’m “worldwide” based, my actual house is in Dallas, Texas. If friends were visiting for a week, we’d first and foremost take part in the Texmex restaurant scene.. You can’t have too much cheese on that platter of cheese enchiladas! We’d go to Taco Joint for breakfast burritos, Fuel City for lunch, Mariano’s for margaritas (where the margarita machine was invented!) and Mia’s for brisket tacos. DFW has a very robust restaurant scene, having more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the US, so, you will not go hungry. A few other places I would recommend: Goodfriend Burger, Hello Dumpling, Lounge Here, Zaap Kitchen, Mot Hai Ba, Gapco Pizza and a great Mediterranean lunch buffet in Irving called Zeytin. We’d walk around White Rock lake and Klyde Warren Park, stop in at my pal Chris Penn’s record store, Good Records, look around the Bishop Arts district, visit the 6th Floor Museum…then make sure to talk to the real “experts” outside on the street. We’d tour the Arboretum, Dallas Museum of Art, Perot Museum, Kimbell museum in Fort Worth and take the AT&T stadium tour. We’d wrap with a nightcap at Lee Harvey’s.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Too many to list but definitely my parents, my wife and son. My first boss on the construction site when I was a teenager, Jeff Miller, for cementing(!) my foundational work ethic. My professor and friend, Dr. Jack Shock, for throwing gas on the spark I had for this in college. My friend JJ Childers, for hiring me for my first independent film gig, shooting a wealth management conference in Vegas, back in 2006. Barry Rubinow, for teaching me how to edit. Full Sail University and Maine Media Workshops, for giving me all the gold nuggets for proper film industry work ethic. My friend Bill St. Angelo, for the perpetual encouragement. Jan Osborn, for the laughs and job leads. The cinematography of Dave Homcy, Giles Dunning, Kenny Stoff and Zach Zamboni. And finally, to the few bad bosses I’ve had, who have shown me how NOT to behave.
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