Ryan Parsons is the owner and lead cinematographer of RPMedia, LLC, a visual arts company based out of Des Moines focusing on wedding, event and branding cinematography. “My passion is creating meaningful, story-driven visuals.” Learn about Ryan Parsons…
Hometown: I grew up in Waterloo, IA, where I focused my extra-curricular efforts on theater and comedy performance.
First job: My first job was a lifeguard at Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo, IA.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in IA: Not being a Des Moines native, my wife and I love exploring the capital city and all it has to offer. When I’m not working on a project, we love live music, good breweries, local events, and trying new restaurants with friends. Honorable mention: seeking Des Moines best doughnut on our traditional Sunday morning doughnut run.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: One of my biggest accomplishments has been growing my passion to a point where I can support my family while doing something I truly love. Taking that leap of faith to bet on yourself is scary but since then it’s been a wild ride that I wouldn’t trade away for anything. More directly though, it’s possibly a tie with having my work published in Men’s Health Magazine. It was a complete surprise when it happened, and now I own more copies of that issue than I’d care to mention. That’s a day I’ll never forget!
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Conversely, it takes an enormous effort/learning curve to build a media company brand in an industry over-saturated with content. Not only that, but with so many great content creators, you really have to focus on always staying creative, educating yourself and moving forward. It’s more of a journey, honestly. But I love learning new skills and being challenged so it’s a good fit. I’ll be the first to tell you I still have a long way to go but reaching a point to where I was able to take a step back from my “day job” was a realization of my dream actually happening.
Someone who inspires you and why: I draw a lot of inspiration from so many other great Iowa filmmakers. There’s a lot of home-grown talent right here in our state! Many of which push the boundaries of what is considered the new normal for “consumer cinematography.” More notably though, Steven Spielberg and Mel Brooks have always been a big influence on my passion for storytelling. Not for their massively successful careers, but because they began with a belief in their ideas and worked hard to turn them into actual films. There’s something fascinating about getting lost in a story. Even if it’s only until the film/episode is over, it speaks to something that’s inside all of us and that’s really quite special.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: If you’re reading this and want to get into filmmaking then listen up: follow your dream and do it your own way. Lean into what really inspires you to tell stories and just get started. You can make a film on pretty much any device these days, so use what you have and get creative! There are countless stories of regular people with little or no training that just went for it and ended up making movies that we all consider absolute classics. Work hard, have fun and don’t be afraid to fail because the best lessons are always learned the hard way.
Favorite quote: “I don’t dream at night, I dream at day, I dream all day. I’m dreaming for a living.” –Steven Spielberg
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I was a collegiate mascot for three years. I was walking on campus with a friend when we saw a sign for tryouts. He dared me to do it and being the person I am, I said “Watch me!” It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had and came with a surprisingly wonderful perk: I ended up marrying one of the cheerleaders. I met my now-wife Kait the first week I joined while at cheer camp in Milwaukee.
What makes someone fabulous: Believing not only in yourself, but in the ability of others. That, plus a tiny bit of chutzpuh.