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Ryan Penington is living out his own, personal Hero’s Journey. Hailing from the Home Base of Forging Flame, the Hoosier state, this prodigal son has lived an exceptional tale of following his heart and the creative pull that guides him. While he’s absolutely a multi-talented dude, going up at stand-up open mics when he can, and once opening for The Misfits while playing in a Rockabilly band, it absolutely seems like his heart is deeply rooted in filmmaking. As a child raised by the television, that strikes a harmonious chord with me. 

As we talked about his bio, Ryan and Ryan and myself, discussing his time at Vancouver Film School (paying tribute to Kevin Smith) and how he cut his teeth shooting wedding videos, and eventually into launching a film company and writing, producing, and directing for TV and film, it became apparent that RP knows very well what he wants out of life and his creative endeavors. It also became clear that he knows very well what he’s capable of, and how to go about getting an optimal result with what resources are available. 

In the aftermath of our conversation with Mr. Penington, a recurring phrase he dropped a few times has since grown into a much more broad, overarching theme with nearly universal application for artists and filmmakers and creatives of all sorts-

“Know Your Screen”

If you’re as big a Kevin Smith fanboy as I, you may very likely have heard him talk about how much he loves the challenge of working within a tight budget, as that forces the creativity of himself and his crew. Ryan Penington very clearly subscribes to a similar embrace of constraints, and has an incredibly powerful outlook on creating, centered around that theme.

I’ll do my best to package this massive theme into something easily digestible, but bear with me, Dear Reader, as I’m writing this on the tail-end of an incredibly “spiritual” and much-needed vacation, and still putting some of the pieces back together. But anyway, here goes:

Oftentimes, idealism tends to play at odds with tangible reality, as what you’d like to create or do in a perfect world with an infinite budget simply isn’t achievable in the real world of space, equipment, time, and capitol limitations. One would be best served to fully understand and acknowledge those limitations, as well as what can truly be achieved within them, as over-shooting inevitably lends itself to mediocrity. When coupled with a pure, authentic, non-pandering intention, a deep understanding and fervent acceptance of the reality of one’s limitations can only make them more powerful, and their art resonate more clearly. So know your screen. You simply can’t be Michael Bay on a Mumblecore budget.