Bruce Dorn on Saying Yes to Life and Adventure
Show Notes for Podcast #131
Bruce Dorn on Saying Yes to Life and Adventure
Matt Scott and Scott Brady interview longtime pal and fellow adventurer Bruce Dorn. Bruce shares his incredible story of saying yes to the serendipity and the meanderings of life. Bruce has documented adventures around the world as a still photographer and cinematographer. His career in commercial production included his induction into the DGA, and his recent promotion to a Canon Explorer of Light Legend. This wide ranging conversation includes Bruce's early life, a few hilarious anecdotes, and his thoughts on overland travel.
“In Relentless Pursuit of Beauty” – Yeah, that about sums up my life story…
My name is Bruce Dorn and I’ve been a full-time professional image-maker since 1973 when I was “discovered” by the editorial staff at Conde Nast – the publishers of Architectural Digest, Glamour, Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, and Vanity Fair magazines.
At the time of my unexpected but most welcome Big Break, I was a college Senior working on a Bachelor’s Degree in Design and paying my way as a grease monkey at the local Texaco station. When I heard the news that I was being recognized as “One of the top creative college students in the nation” I was changing the spark-plugs on my girlfriend’s car. Next thing I knew I was shooting editorial fashion spreads in New York, Paris, and countless other beautiful locations around the globe.
Over time, I segued from Fashion Photography into Advertising Photography and eventually from Still Photography “Only” to the Production and Direction of television commercials for a “Who’s-Who” of Fortune 500 Companies. I was inducted into the Directors Guild of America in 1984.
As a Director/Cameraman working in Hollywood, my areas of specialty have been in the categories of Automotive, Fashion, Life Style, Light Comedy, Aerials, Underwater, and Digital Effects Design. Over the years, I’ve sharpened my skills through professional competitions and have earned almost all of the major industry awards.
Common to all of my many and varied visual pursuits has been my clients’ consistent demand for imagery that is both compelling and visually attractive. With hindsight being 20/20, I’ve come to realize that it’s been my innate ability to recognize and celebrate subtle beauty that has been at the core of all of my successes as an image-maker.
Now it’s time to pay it forward. I’ve learned quite a few interesting and useful things during my long and fruitful career and look forward to sharing them generously on this blog. Positive interaction with my blog’s visitors will be my primary payback so please join me as I continue in a relentless pursuit of beauty. Who knows where this little creative adventure will ultimately lead us? @bruce.dorn
Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and includes three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady
Matthew is a leading expert in automotive adventure. He has extensively explored the world's most remote places by 4WD and is considered an industry authority on overland travel. He is the only American to ever become an editor of a major Australian 4WD publication and has over 15 years of competitive auto racing experience. @mattexplore
Scott Brady: Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal podcast. I am your host, Scott Brady, and I'm here with my co-host Matt Scott. And we have, we have a very special guest today, one of my closest personal friends, a an extremely experienced photographer, director, videographer, and overlander Bruce Dorn. Thanks so much for.
Matt Scott: It's Uncle Brucey, Brucey.
Bruce Dorn: In the house.
Matt Scott: Exactly.
Bruce Dorn: No, I prefer to be addressed as Uncle Zui.
Matt Scott: So here's what we're gonna talk about today is we're gonna talk about somebody that's had, I think one of the coolest lives of anybody that I know, um, has taught me a lot, has taught a lot of people, a lot of things. And, uh, yeah, from humble beginnings to, to Hollywood to racing, to, you know, driving around the world with Exhibition seven, with Scott and all the trips that we've done. You know, let's, let's start in Indiana.
Scott Brady: This content is brought to you by [00:01:00] Overland Journal, our premium quality print publication. The magazine was founded in 2006 with the goal of providing independent equipment and vehicle reviews along with the most stunning adventures and photography. We care deeply about the countries and cultures. We visit and share our experiences freely with our readers. We also have zero advertorial policy and do not accept any advertiser compensation for our reviews. By subscribing to Overland Journal, you're helping to support our employee owned and veteran owned publication. Your support also provides resources and funding for content like you are watching or listening to right now. You can subscribe directly on our email@example.com.
Bruce Dorn: Born very close to the race day of the Indiana. Indy 500.
Matt Scott: I remember you saying that, like [00:02:00] there, there was a particular engine, I know that often Hauser had something to do with that. It, when, when those in particular were running, you could hear them from the Speedway.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Uh, lived about 27 miles from the Speedway as the crow flies. And when the Novi, the supercharged Novis.
Matt Scott: Novi yeah.
Bruce Dorn: Were running, they did. Even back then, I was born in 51, but as a kid in the fifties, I could hear 'em, they'd do 250 on the straits, and then you'd hear 'em just shut off and try to, you knew somebody was frantically sawing away at a steering wheel and then back down the back stretch. So yeah, I sort of got methanol in my blood, you know, from growing up near the home of motorsports. Yeah.
Matt Scott: Yeah. I mean, and, and then for those that don't know, 250 mile an hour in the fifties and sixties.
Scott Brady: That's insane.
Matt Scott: They don't do any faster than that now.
Bruce Dorn: On ridiculously narrow tires, biasly tires.
Matt Scott: Cahones.
Bruce Dorn: Oh my gosh. And the roll bar came up to mid back. Yeah. You know, none of this [00:03:00] nonsense of having it above your head.
Matt Scott: Well, your spine's compressible to a certain extent. Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, at least from, from my perspective, you know, motor sports has always been a common theme in the life of Bruce Dorn. You've always had cars, race cars.
Scott Brady: Fast cars.
Matt Scott: Fast cars. You know, I mean, growing up in Indianapolis, like I think, you know, I don't wanna say the Indianapolis kind of gets maybe the cold shoulder these days, but it was. . It was for decades, the center of motorsports in the world.
Bruce Dorn: It was one of the stops on the Formula one circuit. Back in the day. There's, I think in their corner at Lamonts. It's called Indianapolis. It's a hard 90 degree Lefthander. One of the tracks has a corner called in Indianapolis. Cause India is a two and a half mile oval. That's basically three straightaways, you know? So, yeah, it was always a big part of my life growing up there. I spent the summers on my grandmother's farm in southern Indiana and there was a short track, a little dirt bowl ring, not too far away. And my grandmother worked at the concession [00:04:00] stand. If you looked hungry, she'd fry up a chicken for you. And I stood outside, turn four dodgin the dirt clot. So, yeah. Didn't get to race early. Well, I raced motorcycles early. I started runnin Hare and Hound and motocross. Motocross was different then. Bikes had three inches of travel.
Scott Brady: Yeah. You know, it was mostly your spine that was the suspension.
Bruce Dorn: Which explains a lot, and it explains a lot, you know, about my physical condition.
But no, I started racing at about age 14.
Matt Scott: Yeah. Cause it used to be about six eight, right?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, that's right. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Yeah. And, and your legs were a hundred percent of the suspension, but now ran, gosh, Husqvarnas, uh, hokas tacos. So you know, a lot of stuff. I mostly ran 125s because I just wasn't fast enough, quick enough for the really big fast stuff. But once in a while ran a 400 2 stroke or something like that. And it, the bikes back then, throttle was like Satan's light switch. It was all or nothing. [00:05:00] Yeah. I still miss the smell of Castrol. Maybe, maybe we snort some afterwards?
Matt Scott: I have, I have two strokes in my garage. T
Scott Brady: That's right. You do. Well, and I remember one of the stories that you talked about was, it was, I think you were in New Zealand where you flipped a mini about 80 times.
Bruce Dorn: So, I was on the US team, team USA ’94-‘95 on TQ Midgets. It's usac. And the Midget and the TQ series three quarter Midget, uh, goes back to the 1930s I think. And actually it was all midgets. The racing midgets does sound. So sort of, so.
Matt Scott: That’s where bruce and I really became friends is we both raced midgets. In Indianapolis.
Bruce Dorn: And I know there's a more culturally appropriate way to say it.
Matt Scott: They’re called Sprint cars?
Bruce Dorn: Well, so the hierarchy was quarter Midgets, which.
Matt Scott: Which is where I started at.
Bruce Dorn: And then tqs, which.
Matt Scott: Oh, we can talk about that.
Bruce Dorn: Okay. So there was Quarter [00:06:00] Midgets, which great, big giant. And the reason he won is I, because you're Long torso and you could plant your.
Matt Scott: I could put all of my weight towards.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah I saw you do that when we were racing up the Cook Go-karts up there in Vegas, remember we were running with, what's her name?
Matt Scott: The, those were Jesse Coombs. Yes.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, yeah. And so Quarter Midgets Tqs, which were 750s and then there were full midgets and then there were, silver Crown Cars, which were long wheel base, no sprint cars, and then Silver Crown, which were long wheel base sprint cars. And then there were Gold Crown, which were indie cars. So you and I were both in the ladder system to go to Indie and neither of us quite made it, but I was on Team USA and uh, went down to New Zealand to race against the Kiwis, and the Aussies, and I think I last used my last motor up, but with three or four LA races go in the six week series, and I got fourth in the series, so I was running good.
[00:07:00] Yeah, I was running good. Yeah. Opening. So, our cars went down ahead of us. I got on a, whatever it was, a 21 hour flight down there and, didn't have any ambience, so I didn't sleep a wink. We got off the airplane and the guys from the local, TQ club met us and they said, which ones are your, gear bags? Oh, this one. Start putting on your fire suits. They drove us directly to the track, put us on a podium out in the middle of the track, shut off fireworks, and our cars were idling and ready to go. So, I was going, wait a minute, you know. So, and be, because we were the Yanks, you know, and supposedly we had some, some, I don't know, advantage. They started us in the back and, we ran four main events a night. So four 30 lap features a night, and we ran about three nights a week, I guess it was. And, opening night. I think I ran from, Dead last up to maybe third. And then in the second [00:08:00] race, still they didn't move us up in a, I was passing guys, passing guys, passing guys. And I remember just trying to squeak by this guy on the outside, on the front straight, and I ran up his back wheel. It turned out it was the white flag lap and I was passing the leader. I just passed guys. I don't, don't know where I'm at. Sure. And I just snap rolled it a whole bunch of times and it was just like sky ground, sky ground, sky ground, sky ground. And the lap, the crotch belt was like really getting my attention . And then, you know, I'm doing like this and I'm feeling the crotch belt, you know, is, is not so tight. The shoulders are tight and the engine's running wide open. I go, oh yeah, I take my foot off the gas, just as some track worker comes in, the car was upside down on the cage. He undoes my belts and I go straight down onto my head, right? And the GForce is actually, my vision went dark. That's when I first tore all the retinas or made, did a bunch of terrorism, my retina, which four or five years later, fully detached. [00:09:00] But I remember I was, I get outta the car and you know how when the guy gets tackled and he's woozy, always stands up and waves to the crowd. So I'm, I'm waving to the crowd and the one of the guys grabs me by the shoulders and turns me around. I was, I was waving at the darkness, and the, and the crowd was over here. So instantly they loved me. I was that guy. I was that guy. And you know, I go back to the pits and I, my vision is dark. It was like suddenly I had on six stops of neutral density and I'm kind of looking and I noticed that they're working on my car and I'm going, they're sending me back out. And, and they were circulating and they were holding the position for me up like second row, something like that. Waving me up there and I'm going, no, because I knew that the car wasn't set up, they just threw parts at it. Right. So I went to the back and got up there. I don't know if I won or not, but I ran good, ran really good. But we ended up touring the [00:10:00] island. We were on the South island racing Rup Puna, Graymouth. I forget, but a wonderful experience. Except when we ran into the bees, that's another story. But there was a whole problem with honey bees. And a third world windshield that shattered. And then we ran into a whole lot of bees.
Matt Scott: Oh, is that, is that where you gave me the advice when I went to New Zealand to get.
Bruce Dorn: Get the windshield insurance? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. We gotta stop these.
Matt Scott: I didn't get the windshield insurance.
Bruce Dorn: Well, we didn't either. And, we were, it was boxing day and the windshield shattered. I was in the backseat behind the driver. I see the windshield spider web. And then thank God I had on sunglasses. There was not safety glass. We all got a million shards in our face and a lot of bees because the, the beehives were over here and the marigold field was over here, and we drove right through. You know, sort of a superhighway of bees. And we spent the next six hours getting stung, you know, by stuff that had found its way down into our pants. It [00:11:00] was, it was pretty special. But I really enjoyed that. Yeah. So Team USA, go Team USA.
Matt Scott: So let's go back to indie. Yeah, yeah. I think one of the, one of the, the interesting things where we first crossed paths, but we didn't know was you started talking about shooting the indie mile. Well, we used to run at the little racetrack.
Bruce Dorn: Yes. You were in that, yeah. You were in that little swimming pool.
Matt Scott: The little swimming pool at like age five, turning left and pulling three Gs.
Bruce Dorn: I was there to shoot, well actually I was actually there when Kenny Roberts ran the TZ 750 that, you know, two-stroke bike that he rode once. And I watched him work in a groove on the outside and come from the back to win that race. It was unbelievable. And, I went back there to revisit that spot and actually document where that dirt cloud hit me in the nuts at 140 miles an hour, you know? And then I went over to turn four because turn two because the sun was setting down the back stretch. [00:12:00] And I was right by.
Matt Scott: Yeah, it was right by turn two.
Bruce Dorn: By the little track. And I watched, I watched some guys in there and I think it was two and a half seconds of lap. It, it was unbelievable. It was unbelievable. And these kids.
Matt Scott: I wanna say it's closer to four, but.
Bruce Dorn: I mean it cause that was in your era. Yeah, I, this is when I was out there more recently when they were quick , you know. But yeah, you'd see 'em set up and do slide jobs and everything and it's just like watching a race like this. Yeah. You know, they beautiful. I admired quarter midgets when I was growing up and a couple of my grade school buddies raced them and, you know, they'd have 'em on the table in the basement, you know, a little tiny, I mean, they Great car.
Matt Scott: It was a fully suspended race car that a five year old could drive.
Scott Brady: Wow. Yeah. Sounds perfect.
Matt Scott: So you learned a lot about car control and you learned how things reacted and you learned stagger and you learned weight check and you learned everything.
Bruce Dorn: You weren't in the sleepy trip era were you? Did you ever, because he was, he started in quarter midgets and he got his nickname Sleepy, big times Midget [00:13:00] and sprint car guy because he'd fall asleep. He was so, he's so relaxed that when they were setting up the starting grid, they'd have to wake him up to.
Matt Scott: Oh, I would for sure fall asleep. My like there's pictures that my dad has of me, like sitting ready to race, falling asleep and then slaps me on the helmet, wake up, picks the thing up, runs with it, drops it. Cause that's how he'd start it. And then hopefully by then you'd be fully awake. Yeah. I think that was pretty common for five and six year olds that were being made to race at 10:00 PM.
Bruce Dorn: You know, my buddy Eli and I are thinking about building a quarter midget and just finding some kid. Yeah, just find a kid.
Matt Scott: Talk to my dad. We still have all the parts.
Bruce Dorn: So, yeah, no, it was fun. So. You know, messed around. When I started racing, oh gosh, I was, I had started to do really well in Hollywood. So when I started to race, you know, you gotta have cubic money and just be prepared to throw it in a check shredder. And at one point, I think I was racing in seven divisions and had a full race shop and some guys that [00:14:00] maintained the cars.
Matt Scott: Sponsoring a Formula Atlantic car too.
Bruce Dorn: That's right. I sponsored a Formula Atlantic.
Matt Scott: But let's go back, I'm gonna stop you there. I'm gonna stop you from talking about racing. Let's, let's go back to, Madam Mazzeo Magazine. Conde Nast.
Scott Brady: Yeah. That's such a great story.
Matt Scott: Age 20, 21?
Bruce Dorn: No, gosh. Yeah. So between my sophomore and junior year at.
Matt Scott: At Herron Design School.
Bruce Dorn: Junior and senior year. Yeah. So that would've been, I would've been just 20, 21, something like that. And, cause.
Matt Scott: This is, this is really where you kind of spread your wings and fly.
Bruce Dorn: So, yeah. I.
Matt Scott: Fly Brucey.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. I, I had picked up photography when my brother-in-law loaned me a camera for this summer trip. And, going to, going to art school with the intention of being an illustrator, our graphic designer. There was a minor in photography available and, and of course I was gonna do that, [00:15:00] but, I was dating a girl that worked at the mall. I was working at a Texaco station and I was doing oil changes and lube jobs and all that. And we were kind of running out of common stuff to talk about. I was over at the magazine standby and some car magazines and the women's interest magazines were here. I picked up a magazine. It fell open to, call for entries for college competition. Bought the magazine, went home, read it up, applied. It was a, a protracted process. It was, you had to do a whole bunch of creative projects, and it was a whole series of questionnaire questions. They were clearly focused on women.
This competition went back to the 1930s as they con asked college board, and they'd pick 12 students from around the nation. There was no social media. You couldn't tell what kids were thinking, you couldn't tell what the up and comers were interested in. And they had long since created this college board. So they had never had a guy enter it before. [00:16:00] So all the questions were aimed toward women. And I just went crazy on that, you know, because I was, you know, can you type one finger each hand? Shorthand? No, both normal lengths. The other side. And I drew a picture around my hand, and, they found me mildly amusing. Sent a junior fashion editor out to check to see if I was a total creep or not. And I ended up winning the guest art director ship. So first time ever on an airplane was to Manhattan, to check into the Biltmore to start work on Monday. And that first week. They sent me to Revi, to art direct, a sweaters shoot with Arthur El Gort, Ansel, El Go's dad, the guy that's the star of baby driver. His dad was a photographer. I art directed. I went from Revi to Paris and shot Kenzo, Betsy Johnson. I forget which collections. And then I went to [00:17:00] Rome and shot out runway on the Spanish steps. So I went from, like, literally from Friday at the Texaco to the following Friday, I was seeing supermodels changing clothes backstage, you know? And I was said, Was.
Matt Scott: Digging the jump.
Bruce Dorn: I was digging the fashion industry pretty quick, you know, but, yeah.
Matt Scott: Didn't she say that you went to, some champaigns.
Bruce Dorn: Oh geez.
Matt Scott: The Champaign Estate?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. So everybody, because we were representative of all college students, and they just happened to have, well actually another guy entered that year, and he was guest fiction editor. So there were two of us and then 10 girls, and they wanted to entertain you and pick your brains. So, Levi's put on a big show for us, Quantro, Dom Peron. We went to the Dom Peron Vineyards and, family at the family estate. And, and.
Matt Scott: I mean, the first time you drink champagne probably is not only Dom Perone, but it's in Champaign,[00:18:00] France. At the Dom Perone estate.
Bruce Dorn: Oh, yeah. So I always had on a Caterpillar hat, you know, a cat diesel hat and, you know, jeans and, and my hair was about as long as it is now. I want to makeovers. They had makeovers for the girls and, and they didn't know what to do with me. So, by the way, my son, I am a summer in terms of my complexion, you know and Clinique worked me over and had my haircut by some high end haircuter. It was surreal. Yeah.
Scott Brady: You know, Bruce, what's, what's fun is cuz I've heard most of these stories, and, and first of all, they remain the same stories, which means that there's a high probability that they're accurate.
Matt Scott: True.
Scott Brady: And then I've, I've also heard a bunch of people repeat them with the same degree of accuracy. But one of the things that I remember from this trip that you did to Europe that stuck out to me was that there was this older gentleman hat happened to be in Europe. [00:19:00] And, and I think it's an important lesson about having mentors in our life. So would you mind sharing that?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. I love that. I love that. Yeah. So, I was crushing on three sisters back in Indianapolis. This, the, one of the girls was in my, one of my art classes. And she had an older sister and a younger sister, and their dad was a lovely fella and he, he wanted me to photograph all the girls for the, you know, some portraits of them at that age for the wall. And I think he secretly kinda wanted to have a son. So, I had a good relationship with him. I'm put that on the side. I fly over to Europe. I'm checking into the hotel the first night in Paris and running into my first snarky Parisian, desk clerk. And I'm checking in and he goes and he hands me an envelope that was, you know, in the box for me, along with my key. And it was a sealed envelope and I tear it open and it's a note from the father of these girls. [00:20:00] And he says, I'm in Paris, I wanna take you out to dinner tonight. He was a patent lawyer. He was actually, the company he worked for was the guys that, created powder coating.
Scott Brady: Okay. So that, yeah.
Bruce Dorn: Electrostatic, paint.
Matt Scott: Paint baking.
Bruce Dorn: Paint baking. And he went around the world suing, people that were messing around with that. So he, picks me up. We go out to dinner. I mean, I had never seen so many forks. I had never seen so many spoons. I had never seen so many glasses. And he very gently, without humiliating me, worked me through the process of how you behave like a gentleman, you know? And, I'm paying very close attention. And I'm also pretty mesmerized because just beyond him was an older guy that had hair like I have. And he, he was surrounded by supermodels and he was delicately eating a Caesar salad one leaf at a time while the girls old. Flittered around, and I was going, I like this guy, and I [00:21:00] really like that guy too. So I got some sort of brick and mortar ways to behave from the, the father of my gal pals. And then I sort of got a goal for where I wanted to go in terms of being a wacky old artist, you know, and.
Scott Brady: You achieved both.
Bruce Dorn: I'm trying to fulfill that destiny somehow.
Scott Brady: Well, and I think the thing that I like about that story and appreciated you sharing it, was that we, we often all need that person. When we go to a new country and we have a chance to spend time with someone that's local, ask them, the things that you can do to best, you know, respect their culture and maybe do some research ahead of time. So I think that that experience that you had, not only was it very beneficial for you, but based upon how I've known you, is that you have spent a lifetime doing the same for others and mentoring others. And I want to get into mentoring with you a little bit later in the conversation. But that's such a [00:22:00] great story.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, I'm a big pay it forward guy. I, my dad worked his butt off to support his family, and I didn't see him a whole lot. You know, I, I really would've liked to have had the experience growing up, going fishing with your dad and doing this and that with your dad. You know, you got to spend a lot of time with your dad.
Matt Scott: Spent a lot of time with my dad.
Bruce Dorn: Racing and stuff. Yeah. But, and on where I grew up, there was a father of girls on one side and a father of girls on the other side, and they both kinda. Liked having a boy around, especially one that was enthusiastic about stuff. So I, I got some really great guidance from those guys. And then I have run into people all my life. I'm gonna call 'em, benevolent adult males, you know, who'd would just notice that I was trying, or that I was, had some potential. And on, you know, a number of occasions, [00:23:00] my life's direction has changed because somebody noticed and bothered to, give me a bit of guidance. So Absolutely. I've I've always tried to do that. I Great. Take great pleasure in it.
Scott Brady: Well, and Bruce, you've done that for me. You've done that for Matt. I can think back, even within moments of meeting you, you were already freely giving.
Bruce Dorn: Unsolicited advice.
Scott Brady: That's right. That's, but things that, things we needed to hear.
Matt Scott: That's why we were talking the other day about an AI app, uncle Brucey that offers you advice.
Scott Brady:Yeah, exactly.
Matt Scott: We just have to save Bruce's mind into AI.
Bruce Dorn: Ask, ask Mr. New at all. Yeah.
Matt Scott: So let's go from gallivanting around Europe and Madam Mazel magazine, you're back in Indiana. You decide not right?
Bruce Dorn: You know, I.
Matt Scott: The second time you get on a plane is to move into a studio apartment off of Fifth Avenue.
Bruce Dorn: No, not a studio, my friend. A penthouse, penthouse loft on Fifth Avenue. No, I, [00:24:00] Yeah, I had a nice gig with a local department with a Midwest department store chain that I came back to after the experience with Conde Nast. But it was, you know, that was really how you gonna keep 'em down after the, on the farm after they've seen Paris, you know. So, uh, at the first opportunity I joined a fledgling glam, glam rock band that was gonna try to make it in New York. And it was a glam rock era and I helped 'em with promotion and staging and, and we lived in a 4,000 square foot penthouse loft and they didn't want the front, I had the fifth Avenue front view. I built a, wonderful dark room and a rehearsal hall in the back. I was the only one that knew how to use a hammer and a nail. Cuz you know, rockers, and we. Renovated that loft, we sanded down the floors. It had been a button factory, it was in the garment district. And I remember, [00:25:00] my life was sleep until four in the afternoon or three in the afternoon, run around the fashion magazines and, get an assignment and then stay up all night. All the little fashion editors and all the beautiful people, ar Loft was one of the stops on their deal. New York Dolls would come over, we'd go to Maxus, Kansas City and CBGBs and Andy Warhol's loft. And.
Matt Scott: You've been to Andy Warhol's loft?
Bruce Dorn: Of course. Gee, come on.
Matt Scott: All right, moving on. Come on. And he, yeah.
Scott Brady: It's like, do we ate, dare ask for any Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol stories.
Bruce Dorn: It's like Elton John, you know, always with copying my glasses. You know, always. But yeah, no, so it was, I was living the, the nightlife thing there. And, and, It was, it was pretty fabulous. They, they got the band to the point that they were gonna sign for a TV kind, kind of a follow up to the monkeys, which [00:26:00] is gonna resonate with no one that's a reference from a way back, but it was a fishing thing, and they wanted to do another variation on this band was gonna be it. The, the promoter, well, Don Kerschner, recognized. That's the drummer, that's the bass player. That's the lead guitarist. That's the rhythm guitarist. And who are you? Oh, we don't need you. So everybody got signed into a multi-year contract where they gave up, like I don’t know some ludicrous percentage of what they'd make for the rest of their lives. And I didn't, and thank, you know, thank Buddha because I was able to go my own way and they got stuck. Even if they were doing paper routes, they still had to give some commissions. But I had a really great time in New York. And then I guess I should mention that when I won the guest editorship, I had applied to Missoula and I was gonna go get my master's degree. I had gotten a bachelor's degree. I was gonna go to Missoula and I, I think I was gonna be a, gonna study, [00:27:00] jewelry making for my master's. And I was gonna go, I wanted to be a smoke jumper, so I was going up there to do that. And, you know, I had, I was gonna go to National Outdoor Leadership School that, that summer, and then I was gonna go to Missoula and I thought I'll be a smoke jumper. And instead I was a fashion photographer in New York, Paris, and Rome. And, who knows how it would've gone the other way. But.
Scott Brady: And at what point in time did you study type setting? Cause you even studied that at some point in time. So my, cause you've given us, I mean, Overland Journal, a lot of the, the, the typeface that we use is because of you.
Bruce Dorn: So, so yeah, my degree, I, I thought I'd be an illustrator and I got, it was a very interesting program I went through. It was the old world. Master and Apprentice kind of a program was in effect, and, and that was being sort of changed over to the new conceptual kind of free associative heart. So, [00:28:00] I was in a program called Visual Communications, which had typography, 3D design, 2D design. I did, we built fine art furniture. We, did color theory. I, I understand the bowhouse theories of design and so on. And, and yeah, typography is about as pure design as you can do. The most important thing that came outta that really was, well, the school we we'd in just about 300 students would go into the sophomore program and about 22 would graduate. It was before schools survived by being diploma mills. So if you got through it, you, you for sure got an education and you for sure had an opportunity for a job. They hired all the 3D designers out of this school to go to Detroit to do clay modeling for Body by Fisher, or, you know, before there was cg there was clay. So, well.
Matt Scott: There's still clay and automotive design. [00:29:00] Remember we went to the Land Rover Design Center. There's still.
Scott Brady: Yeah, that was amazing.
Bruce Dorn: It's real hands on stuff that's a creative process. And, you know, I think I had shared with you that I was accepted, to art center. I, I was gonna get a full ride at art center to do automotive design, but I was poor. And you had to, I had to work. I wouldn't be able to eat or buy gasoline to get to school. And they had a, a mandate that you couldn't work. You had to dedicate yourself a hundred percent to your studies. So I had to walk away from art center, in Pasadena and ended up at a local fine art institution that is, I'm glad I have that education. I'll, I'll fight anybody that says that going to college is worthless because it was really worthwhile for me. But, no illustration although I can draw. I'm pretty good at that. The application of that is limited.
Scott Brady: Yeah. In fact, you have a bunch of your art going into the next issue of the magazine, so.
Bruce Dorn: Oh, yeah. Well, if this breaks before the next issue of the [00:30:00] magazine comes out, that'll make perfect sense. Yeah, you're absolutely right. Actually, I, I did those, in conjunction with my, one of my students from back then, a fellow that was in one of my very, when I taught, so I, I guess I should mention that I ended up teaching at the university level full-time for about five years, and still very close to a lot of students. Yep, yep. After doing a stint, that stint in New York was drifting west, just wanted to get outta Manhattan. I, I loved that experience. , but I'm a little bit more of an outdoorsman and Central Park wasn't quite enough. Yeah. You know, and so, on my way west, I stopped off in Indianapolis to see some friends and I was offered a sabbatical position. And that turned into a full-time position until about 1980 when I headed further west, you know? So.
Matt Scott: And you ended up in Phoenix?
Bruce Dorn: Yep. I was married to a gal and she got a job as a creative director at [00:31:00] a new, new agency in Phoenix. It was gray advertising, I believe. And, there was a note on the refrigerator. Moved to Phoenix, come on out and on. I was still in the middle of a teaching contract, so I was a bachelor for a minute, more than a minute. And then I eventually, I didn't re-sign my next contract, and I, I joined her in Phoenix and then sat around watching a lot of cartoons. You know.
Scott Brady: Well, you've seen Phoenix change. Holy cow. Phoenix in the eighties would be, Unrecognizable.
Bruce Dorn: No. 101, no, 51 freeway. It was just this straight grid of streets where you could get killed at every left turn intersection. A horrible place to own a motorcycle. Cause there are no corners.
Scott Brady: Is that, is that where you got run over by a guy on a bicycle? You've had a lot of close calls with bicycles.
Bruce Dorn: I got run over by a guy on a bicycle with you when we were in Amsterdam, . Oh no. That was in The one you're referring to was when I was coming out of a photo lab in Hollywood and a guy on a mountain bike. A big burly West Hollywood guy [00:32:00] hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean, look at me, me flying through the air means there's a lot of inertia and ball.
Scott Brady: That's right. Momentum.
Bruce Dorn: But I remember looking down at this guy and, you know, wham, and then, he comes over and, oh, Mr. Are you okay? And then he realizes he may have just injured a guy, and so then I have this other vision of him with the potato chip front wheel trying to run away on the Pinal, you know, but I, I was enough.
Scott Brady: Didn't you end up like through a plate glass and on top of a pool?
Bruce Dorn: Oh, that was a.
Scott Brady: Pool table. That was something different.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. That was. Yeah, that was on my normal commute to work. I, I had a 400 Honda F with a beautiful little, a four cylinder that would run about 11,000 rpm, and I had this one set of corners. Well, that corner was the one where I was sitting at the traffic light where my arms folded and I saw a Buick Skylar logo right here. Car landed on my front wheel and I flew through the air. I never unfolded my arms. I just landed on my head, and I woke up in a big biker guy, picked me up, threw me in the back of his truck. My Honda was [00:33:00] already in there and he drove me home. The one you're talking about was that same intersection. I had this series of corners. And the night before it had rained and somehow somebody had dumped a bunch of transmission fluid and there was a nice river of slickness across the road. So I low sided the bike between oncoming traffic. It went up the handicapped ramp, no, it hit the curb and started doing the rag doll. I went up the handicapped ramp onto the wet lawn and through the plate glass window and onto the pool table of the drug, halfway house . And, and the drug halfway guys were very annoyed that I was bleeding on their felt, pool table. And then, and then they go, oh, a biker, what you got? And then they saw I was on Honda and they went, oh. So yeah, I have an endless stream of crash stories, but yeah. I do need triggers to remember, but yeah, that one was, that one was pretty special. Yeah.
Matt Scott: So let's go from Phoenix. Okay. Well let's, let's talk a little bit more about Phoenix [00:34:00] and then let's, then let's talk about Brucey going to Hollywood.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Phoenix. I, I figured it out pretty quick. I, I was, my rent was nothing. I had my studio.
Matt Scott: You said it was like 350 bucks a month for your big studio, commercial studio and.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Well, you know, it wasn't that huge, but it was adequate and it was downtown. And then I, I lived in the squaw peak lodge. I think my housing was all, all in for studio and home was 450 a month. I was pulling down 125,000 a year, working a day a month, you know, and the rest of the time I was either running dirt bikes crashing and breaking my back on dirt bikes or racing hobie cats or skiing at Telluride, or, or running, running three wheelers in the dunes.
Matt Scott: Oh, yeah. Oh, oh. Favorite story. Favorite story.
Scott Brady: This one. We, this one. The, these are all true stories. We're not, you're not being, I'm, this is not April 1st. No, no. You gotta tell the story.
Matt Scott: So you're there in Glams. [00:35:00]
Bruce Dorn: So they invented these three wheelers. You remember those diabolical three wheelers? The very first ones had no suspension.
Matt Scott: Did they end up banning them or did they just stop making them cuz they were getting sued.
Bruce Dorn: I think enough lawsuits. Yeah. I think there were lawsuits, but.
Matt Scott: Your legs would go underneath them and you would die.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. It was like a wishbone where you, that's, that's what happened when I broke my back. My legs both went under both wheels. And it made a wish. No, be before that. Before that we were, they, Honda came out with a CR 250. So it was a two 50 motocross bike, two stroke in this nice little, compact three wheeler. And they were fun. You just slide 'em and you could bicycle 'em, you know, do whatever you want. They, they, they were only dangerous if you were an idiot and didn't know how to slide and, you know, a flat tracker. So we, we were having a blast, so Buddy and I had 'em, and we, we got 'em and it was, it was during the wrong time of the season to go over to, the [00:36:00] Yuma Dunes. It was hot because it was too early or hot before, cause it was too late. I don't remember. But.
Matt Scott: It was hot.
Bruce Dorn: It was hot and there was nobody there. And, and we are very excited. We just picked them up from the Honda dealership, threw 'em in the back of my. We had a trailer and I had one of those, Toyotas that everybody wants. The little SR5.
Scott Brady: Solid axle.
Bruce Dorn: Absolutely. Yeah. You did a solid SR five long bed, single cab. Four wheel drive. 22 R.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Perfect.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, slug slow. And, anyway, we, we race out to Yuma, and, and we get off to this place where we used to always run dune buggies and we unload 'em and it's, we, we got an hour, you know, before it gets dark. Hell with it. We're gone and we, you roosting out there and we knew our way around and we were heading to the bowl of death. It was the highest sand and at the bottom there was a circle about the size of a paper plate. That was the hard pack of the desert floor. But other than that, it was just this astonishing [00:37:00] deep bowl. And once you got in it, you had to kind of get out of it this way. There was no.
Matt Scott: Corkscrew.Tornado your way out or whatever.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, yeah, yeah. A reverse toilet flush. And, so I come up to that roost over the edges and I, I double take, cause there's a flippin’ flying saucer hovering down there about 20 feet off the ground. And I you know, I, my momentum carried me around and I come back around and I, I, and it's.
Matt Scott: This is where we start talking about how aliens are real and we've seen them.
Bruce Dorn: It's there. Well this is the story I always do when, if everybody says anybody ever see an alien , you know, but I mean, I'm doing an ER and I, I wave my buddy over and I get him to stop and we marine crawl over and peek over the edge, you know, and we studied that thing for a while and it was floating in the air down there.
Matt Scott: It was big.
Bruce Dorn: It was substantial, but it was weird because it kind of looked like an iron clad. It kind of like this'll, I dunno if anybody even learns this stuff anymore. But it looked like the monitor in the Merrimack. Kind the Civil War era about a.
Matt Scott: Spaceship.
Scott Brady: You had the first metal.
Bruce Dorn: It was like [00:38:00] Jules Ver fellowships. Yeah. Flipping thing. And we're watching it and listening for sounds and seeing no activity. And finally we got up though. Balls to go down there and we go down and we, we were getting closer and closer to it, and it was even more and more scary because here this thing is, and there's.
Scott Brady: No tire tracks, there's nothing.
Bruce Dorn: No nothing, nothing. It was just hovering down there. Where would you hide if you were a spaceship? Hide in a, in a dune bowl. You know, it'd be perfect . But we get down there and then I see that they're, they're in the center. There was a switchback staircase and it was built on a bunch of telephone poles, uh, and it was Jabba the Huts sand cruiser. And that movie was being made, and they had finished the shoots every day. At the end of the day, they would come in with, I learned later they would come in with a helicopter and blow all the tracks out. Matt Scott: Yeah. Shoot.
Bruce Dorn: And so we climbed all over that thing. It had the trap door for the sand, thing looked.
Matt Scott: Tentically, kill you.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. And I mean, I knew a little bit about showbiz and props and things [00:39:00] like that. And the scenic painting on it was astonishing. They had. Dressed in sand, hit the base of it, the hide all. But you really had to be in the right position to be able to see that it was a prop. And, uh, we climbed all over that thing and then we were wanting to bring some folks back to it. And it was gone. It was gone.
Matt Scott: Hey man, I see this fish. Check it out.
Bruce Dorn: A couple of years later here came Star Wars War. Oh yeah. Well, yeah. No, there was a time I built a, a two story house out in the middle of those same dunes and put in a bluegrass lawn. And, it was for Scott Turf Builder or something. And I remember seeing this desert bird fly over and he does this same kind of double take I did, you know, and he, he lands and he is rolling around on the grass. It's chirping and everything, and I'm going, bro, go get your friends. You know. And we were out of there in a couple hours and I just imagined him going, no, I swear. It was right here. Bluegrass.
Matt Scott: It was right here. Kentucky Bluegrass.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Oh, wow. Brought [00:40:00] in several flatbed trailers of Kentucky Bluegrass, which turned to bacon in about an hour and a half because the sun just completely destroyed it. But, I digress, but yeah, no, the, that was, that was one of the many, many fun ones.
Matt Scott: Is that, so let's just imagine you riding that little three wheeler all the way to Hollywood. And let's transition to there.
Bruce Dorn: No, I went, the way I got to Hollywood was in my Persian sand colored 1960 Cadillac convertible. Which was some kind of a magnet. I'm trying to remember what kind of a magnet it was. But it was, I was very popular when I drove Sunset Strip with the top down on that thing. I remember I'd be sitting at a traffic light and a suspension would gently settle and I'd look back and there'd be three young ladies that had decided to hop in. I recommend a 1960 Cadillac.
Scott Brady: For any scenario.
Bruce Dorn: In Persian sand, which is code for metallic pink, you know, and I, I drove it with the gangster lien staring at like this.
Matt Scotta: You know, you know, I hear all these stories of people like having [00:41:00] cars and then ladies being attracted to them. But the only people who talk to me about my cars are guys.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Well see.
Matt Scott: I mean, you don't look like Bruce.
Bruce Dorn: Some, some people can ruin even the sexiest car. What can I say? Now leave the Porsches alone. Would you please just leave 'em alone?
Matt Scott: I am the Porsche people. My dad warned me about.
Bruce Dorn: So yeah, so, I, the move to Hollywood came outta the blue. I was, went from having nothing to do in, in Phoenix to, developing the Phoenix or the Arizona Phoenix Art Director's Club and got a lot of work. My kind of photography was different. They did a lot of tabletop and large format and I was more, loose handheld and, you know, sort of lifestyle kind of stuff. And, started shooting motion picture stuff there. Worked for another guy who was a producer director and he needed a cameraman. I said, yes, recurring theme in my life is to say yes, even if I [00:42:00] shouldn't. And then figuring out how to make that yes, turn out okay. And, did a few spots started my own production company, ended up in the Cleo Awards, which is kind of like the Tony's, Emmy's.
Matt Scott: It's a big deal.
Bruce Dorn: Commercials, it's, yeah. And so I was in the finals, for a, I think, I forget what category it was in, but I was up against the biggest special effects house in the world and with my little tiny little budget.
Matt Scott: You said it was like a million dollar budget, versus a $25,000 budget.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Yeah. And then my stuff, if it needed to set, I built it. If it needed hand talent, pour beer, I'd get a manicure and pour the beer. And I did everything I could possibly do anyway. I was up against them. I pretty sure they beat me. But, within a few weeks of the award ceremony, I got a phone call from the, the big effects house, and they wanted me to come over and, and interview. So I, I flew over 55 minute fly, had an interview. They offered me a job. [00:43:00] An independent contractor job is, and.
Matt Scott: This was Robert Abel and Associate Robert Associate, which is a big deal if you look, I mean they were like the pioneering motion graphic special effects house.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. It was, in industrial Light and magic. Yeah. And, and digital productions. And Robert Abel and ILM was the ILM guys, industrial Light and magic guys were kind of specializing in feature stuff cause it was Lucas, George, Lucas and Lucas Film. And, we were doing commercials and Robert Abel Associates really couldn't do any, couldn't bid bid the big jobs.
Cause they didn't have any directors. They had, a ton of, of, really talented, special effects people or, graphics people. That's where I met Mara. She's in history books for her work that she did at Robert Abels, as a designer. And.
Scott Brady: Wasn't she somehow involved with the Beam Me Up, Scotty?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Yeah, she did the.
Scott Brady: Which is amazing.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. She did the, the wormhole sequences and the, that hyperspace thing. Yeah, [00:44:00] that's my wife. Yeah. She, she's literally in the history book for her.
Matt Scott: Yeah. We should have had her in some.
Bruce Dorn: She's better. She's a lot better. Yeah. And she would be here telling you she'd be, you could, you can hear her eye rolls from here, because she, I, I'm telling stories, if I told one not too long ago that she had never heard, which, which I, I saw her do.
Matt Scott: That's the only lie you've ever told.
Bruce Dorn: Well, but, yeah, so, it was a really cool place to work. I went in there and, and, and I figured out special effects pretty quick. Cause I'm a mechanic, right? Number one, I was a mechanic. Number two, I was a designer artist. And so here's this confluence of cameras and logical thinking. You know, we invented the first, motion control camera there where the camera shoots and moves and shoots and moves. And we also did, and I, I'm saying we, because as a company I was kind of around the edges, but I remember advising the computer guys when they were doing the [00:45:00] first mocap suit. You know, like in, that guy Andy Circus who does Golem and the Monkeys and Planet of the Apes and everything. We, they were trying to figure out how to not have to use a classic Disney cell flop animator to do animal locomotion. They were trying to figure out how to shortcut actually having a proper illustrator. So I had taken drafting in high school and I knew you could describe any object with three angles, front view, top view, and side view. So we took. These old Mitchell Rock over cameras that were used to document the nuclear tests. And.
Scott Brady: Oswald.
Bruce Dorn: They, we put, we, we put a, the Geiger counter on 'em and they were like, we went off the charts. So, I mean, we were putting.
Matt Scott: A bikini toll.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, they were half a 50 million year, half life and we're putting our eyes on 'em all day long. But, and it would fog the film. We're going, why is the film fogged? Because you're putting it in a nuclear , you're putting in a radioactive box. But front view, top view, and side view. And [00:46:00] we went down to the office store and got those little avery dots like you'd used to put on file folders, red one for this, green, one for that, put one on every joint and then had the three cameras shoot it, and then play that stuff back and, and physically track the elements. And then you could create a skeleton on which you could hierarchal animation upon which you could skin, you know, you could then put fur or texture or so on. And then we had to figure out how to light stuff. And because I had a little bit of knowledge in all these areas, I was handy. You know, there were people that were mathematicians that were standing at Blackboards, whiteboards just working out the original Vector Graphics and then Raster Graphics, and that was all coming from there. They were doing something similar at ilm, but I went from doing some little tiny jobs to doing the biggest appliance on Earth. You know, and, another, it was like going from the Texaco station to Reka Vic, but now I'm going from small town [00:47:00] production to biggest budgets there ever were. It was the eighties and, you know, I was doing Super Bowl spots and I launched the C4 Corvette.
Matt Scott: Oh, I didn't know about that one.
Bruce Dorn: Turbo, turbo Mustang, Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. Yeah. And not all of 'em was I director on, but either, you know.
Matt Scott: Involved. Yeah.
Bruce Dorn: Either I became creative director of the company and, so any job that came in and I think was the visual communications and the, the brainstorming and free association, that's kind of what I actually, what I would like to be doing going forward with the AI is, is kind of teach creative thinking, you know? Cause there's a lot of stuff that comes natural to me. I, I'll look at something, I'll go, eh, but, a lot of people just can't prime that pump, you know? And there are technologies and systemologies that can allow you to kickstart a, idle brain, you know? [00:48:00] So, and.
Scott Brady: Well, let, let's talk about, let's unpack that a little bit. Like if someone's listening and they're, they're, they want to be more creative or they want, they want to come up with. New original ideas or better ideas. What are some of the basics that you using?
Matt Scott: This is the Mind Expanding Drugs portion of the podcast.
Bruce Dorn: You know, brainstorming free association and Synectics, Synectics is one of my, areas that I, I think is really interesting and you can, you can jump on the, the bot and, and read up on 'em. Cause what I could tell you now could be done, you know, in, in the next hour, 12 seconds for, for a bot to go into. But there are, there are ways to break down a problem by analyzing, it's just like the answer is always in the question, right? So if you can properly, ideate and articulate to yourself what it is you're trying to do, then within that there are actually techno systemologies that can allow you to fire it up. [00:49:00] And it's just kind of like priming a pump. You know, you, you, a dry hand pump will never do anything unless you pour a little something in it. And synectics in particular, it, it, you take keywords and then you elaborate from that. But I think it'd be easier to just kind of research that stuff. But, you know, I spent four or five years full-time teaching. I taught, visual communications and all levels of photography. And, in the process of doing that, there was no syllabus. There was no, they just dumped me in there. And so I sort of created my own way of teaching. And anybody in an art school is, was generally the best artist in their high school. And it's just like being the tallest kid in your high school, you're gonna play basketball, you're the tallest kid. You're gonna be volleyball or basketball, you're the artistic kid, you're gonna be an artist. But they're never challenged and they're never taught. You know, high school art, middle school, grade school art, you're [00:50:00] the one that can handle staying within lines or going outside lines, whichever is sort of appropriate. And you have a sensibility for color. But to then actually study that stuff and be challenged. So anybody that came in, there was, whatever they produced the first semester was average, you know, and then from there on, they had to grow because I, I had a high school art teacher that did that to me. I mean, I was always the, you know, best with the crayons or the pencil or the airbrush or whatever. And he just, he just shut me down. He just goes, eh, c I go, what a minute. I've never gotten anything less than a plus. Yeah, but that's average for you. So you gotta impress me. You gotta improve. And that got me off my, got me off my ass, honestly. Yeah. You know, and that's what I try to do in mentoring is number one, well, when I was teaching, I'd always try to identify, identify the strength of the particular student, and then I would try to, force multiply that because you can try to jam a square peg into a round hole, but it's better to just [00:51:00] really make it a more precise fit in the round hole, you know? So, whenever I'm mentoring or, or what, what, when I went from what I learned teaching made me really, good at running a, a film set. As a director, you're, it's a benevolent dictatorship. It's your vision. Everybody is there to execute, but everyone in that room is the best at what they do, or they don't make it to that set, you know? And, you can either, work with them or you can struggle against them. And one of the things I learned when I was teaching was to listen, watch and learn. And then, figure out the best way to move everything forward. So on my sets, I appreciated what the makeup artist had to say. I appreciated what the key grip had to say. I made the decisions, but the fact that I respected all the players made us all, sort of elevate the game. Never had more joy and fulfillment than run on a set, you know, [00:52:00] being out in the middle of somewhere, getting ready to shoot at dawn and you got 20 grip trucks and caterers and all this. And I'm going, I cannot believe they're paying me to do this. You know. You know, but yeah, a lot of, a lot of automotive, a lot of special effects. Every category. It was just, I was in the right place at the right time. You know.
Matt Scott: And it's that, that kind of recurring theme of the love for educational love for mentoring that, you know, seems to have been the next phase. You know, as we continue to unwrap the onion. Yeah. It's the next phase of, of Brucey’s life.
Bruce Dorn: You know, I don't, I don't think you ever learn anything as much as when you have to explain it to somebody else. You know, that's, I was not prepared to teach. I have a teaching degree. I couldn't teach high school or grade school, but I was able to be a college professor or not a professor lecturer. You gotta really earn a professorship. And then on a, I'm DGA director.
Matt Scott: It's Directors Guild of America, for those that don't know. [00:53:00]
Bruce Dorn: So to be an assistant director, you have to go through layers and layers of education, and you have to understand all of these things. But as a director, you just have to come in there with a vision and somebody who's backing that vision. You know, so I would never qualify to be an assistant director or a production manager. Maybe I would, because I've been around them so much and I learned from everybody I work with. But, over and over again, It, it's been a combination of confidence and accrued experiences that allowed me to just, step into the highest level of something I'm, I, my, my life's not been just like this rocket sled ride to the top. I've had plenty of backsliding and all that stuff, but I've, when an opportunity has come up to be in charge, I take, I grab that, you know, and when I have a bunch of people to work with, I look at them as assets. I'm, I'm not gonna just push 'em around. [00:54:00] I want to, harness and direct all that stuff. Robert Abel Associates was really like this. It was really great. We were doing all the best clients and I was shooting 270 days out of the year, and I caught a pretty good day, day rate. My day rate had a lot of zeros in it. And, and then I participated in, the markup on the jobs and more importantly, I benefited when I would bring a job in under budget. That was unheard of when I cut my deal. Nobody had ever heard of a director who would come in under budget, but I'm a, I'm the kind of person that, yeah.
Matt Scott: You've told me about the, the angry South Africa and that would wreck the portion. Just go hang out on a boat where you are kind of like, you know what, I'm, I'm gonna work for this. I'm gonna, I was the guy in Phoenix that would bring things under budget. I'll take less money, but I want to cut.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. So I'm, I have no business degree and certainly anybody in the commercial arts, you know, you make your [00:55:00] money from the commercial side of the arts, you know, a talent and eight bucks will get you a small latte. But, I guess I have a fair amount of street smarts, you know. And so, when they're, as a, I think of myself as a problem solver and some guys in my capacity just go, oh, we got 3 million bucks, 6 million bucks to do this. They spend it all. What I try to do is figure out the smartest way to do it and, and come away with a lot of profit. Now, I don't leave any production value on, on the table. I get it on the screen, but I had to build the inside of a spaceship one time. It was like, this, whatever the name of the spaceship is in aliens, that's sort of real gritty looking. You know, working spaceship. I had to do that for some Tyco commercial or something. And the budget for the set was. [00:56:00] Three quarters of a million dollars cause it's, you know, had to have this really spectacular set. I, I got a scout and, and found a, a defunct hydro dam up in British Columbia and I run it for 600 bucks and I put a bunch of Christmas tree lights all over it in the background out of focus and got all those dynamos painted up and everything. I think I spent five grand out of that 750 grand on the set, and the client was just, this is awesome, you know, so, yeah, problem solving and doing that kind of stuff. And, would I, I was doing that at, Robert Abel Associates one day. They, oh gosh. I was.
Matt Scott: Yeah, a bit of drama happened and some fisherman came in.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Yeah. I was an independent contractor, but the guy owned the company represented me as, an employee and created a, an annual report that was not exactly honest and, sold me like a. Football player to another league and the that.
Matt Scott: But you were a free [00:57:00] agent.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. That, that, that deal couldn't go down. And so a bunch of stuff happened. They were very surprised that they weren't buying me. And everybody went away mad. And I opened Brew darn films the next day and took all the clients that were suddenly abandoned. So, Robert Abel and Associates, a lot of people scattered to the wind. I opened Bruce Thorn films outta my producer's garage and then found a space and then bought a building in Hollywood and, and proceeded from there. And, I had really good fortune with, finding, good people who like to work with me. Number of people have worked with me, have won Academy Awards and multiple Academy awards. Going on to work in longform. I never went into longform. I regret it to a degree, but I also didn't spend my life on three movies. You know, I did a lot of interesting and different stuff and I was around a bit for my kids growing up, you know, and, yeah, [00:58:00] so I was, I was doing all that stuff up until I had a big physical, surprise. I was, racing a lot. I had a lot of race cars and a lot of different divisions. And I was sitting in a race car and my legs went numb. I thought the belts were too tight. We were waiting to go on the track, waiting to go on the track, starting the engines, killing them. The race that was on the track before us was having a lot of accidents. So we were sitting in the staging and, and just in there, and I'm feeling my legs go that numb, that kind of 10,000 needles kind of thing when you, you know, sleep wrong on your arm and you lose the blood circulation. Well, that didn't go away. So I was, my, the guys had to put. Tie down, strap under my arms. I won the race with my, with my foot, like clubs. I somehow still managed to have enough throttle control. I won the race, but the guys had to pull me outta the car and I couldn't stand up. So that, and that lasted for quite a [00:59:00] while. And I had to, in, in the business of being an IT girl, an IT boy doing creative stuff, they call you, you, you say yes, and, and the day you can't say yes, they have to get someone else and they go back to that someone else. So I had to, I had to say no to an awful lot of people and that sort of killed my momentum. Ultimately after tons and tons of tests, thinking I had late onset MS and all this stuff, it turned out that at some point, and I had, my insurance would not cover anything if it was motor sports related. And I had had some wheels fail and I'd hit the wall. Drove straight into the wall at 120 a couple times, you know?
And so I had had some pretty solid whiplash and maybe concussions, but I'm going to the doctor and I'm going, he's going, what's wrong with you? Well, I'm describing what's wrong. He goes, well, what have you? I, I go, well, I fall off ladders a lot and I snap my head forward like this when I fall off those ladders, you know, I have making up stories. And, [01:00:00] eventually after multiple spinal taps and trips through into the, scanners and all that stuff, one of the guys goes, do you work near a generator? Do you work near a gasoline generator? I go, I do on the weekends. I spend all weekend next to a really big gasoline generator. So it, it was, kind of carbon monoxide poisoning was the last thing. They were looking at heavy metals build up in my, my system and stuff, but while we were still screwing around trying to figure it out, my legs kind of came back, but then it was reinvention time. I was doing a lot of, teaching myself computer skills. Cause you gotta keep going.
Matt Scott: And that was when you were starting to do the corll stuff?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Corll, painter Photoshop. And, uh, yeah.
Matt Scott: How do you, how do you describe Corll painter? I, I vaguely remember it.
Bruce Dorn: They called it a mark making program. And basically, um, you can replicate, you can [01:01:00] make brushes, you can, replicate an oil brush, and a gumble and, and all of these kinds of, stuff that relate to a natural media brush. They have a handful of brushes, but then you can design your own. So it's, it's not a push a button thing. You're using a stylist, like a walk stylist, and you stroke by stroke render. So it's as much time as doing an oil painting or a watercolor but no paint drying time. And you can hit an und undo button, but I avoided the undo button. I like a traditional painter. If you paint yourself in the corner, paint yourself out of the corner, you know? So I approached it as a guy. I had nothing better to do. And I became one of the earliest painter masters, and I was at that time, considered to be one of the best in the world, in international competitions against the Chinese and the Russians and all that. Um, and did neoclassical looking ballet imagery and motor sport airbrushing looking stuff. And, [01:02:00] won the Kodak Innovators Award, which is, that was, that was funny. Mark.
Matt Scott: Kodak was a company that made film.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, they were big at one point back when the cameras, when you put something in the camera.
Matt Scott: For anybody my age.
Bruce Dorn: But that, that's funny. Mara. Actually, I was my wife, Mara, I was introduced to Corll because my wife was messing around with it. And I go, what are you doing there? And she goes, go away. Leave me alone. Stop looking. And I go, no, seriously. She goes, no, seriously. And I go, well, at least tell me what. It's corll. So we're working on it separately, and, I don't know how it was that we came to enter the Kodak in Innovators Award, but one day the phone rang and Mara picks it up and she's increasingly excited and she goes, I won the Kodak Innovators Award and rubbing my face in it and dancing around and everything. The phone rang again and they, it was the only year they gave it to two people and they had no idea that we were related. Let alone, married . So after she had had rubbed my nose in it really severely, I went, sorry, [01:03:00] sorry. But, it was, since I moved here, you know, I was doing a lot of different kind of stuff, Western imagery and so on. I was, awarded an artist and residency with the Idle Jorg Museum and I showed alongside Ansel Adams, I entered the, this, this is a big, western art competition that happens here on Memorial Day weekend. That the, Phippen Museum and Western Art Magazine Show on the town square. I entered that once and won it.
And so I was actually licensing imagery. This is some of the stuff I was doing before we stumbled into each other.
Scott Brady: Yeah, that's right.
Bruce Dorn: And so I was, yeah.
Matt Scott: How did you guys meet?
Bruce Dorn: It was at.
Matt Scott: What dating app was it?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, Grinder.
Matt Scott: Grinder. Yeah. I won't explain that one.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, you have to explain that one.
Matt Scott: Come on. Yeah. Come on man. Nice try.
Bruce Dorn: No, Scotty called one day. He wanted some, [01:04:00] advice on some camera gear. I was, I was actually designed a line of camera equipment.
Scott Brady: That's right.
Bruce Dorn: And, at one point we had 300 part numbers that I had designed, and I won some design, industrial design awards. And it was kind of good, for a while. And Scotty called and was talking about it and, and we realized we were in the same town. I mean, yeah, it was.
Scott Brady: It was crazy.
Bruce Dorn: I mean, Yeah. So then we went.
Scott Brady: Yeah, it was just the coolest looking follow focus out there. It just looked, it was very robust and minimalist, which we needed for being in the field. And next thing you know.
Bruce Dorn: You know, it was like when the, when the Honda, oh geez, I made another reference nobody understands. But when the Honda Gold Wing came out, it was this Porsche style flat six water cooled engine.
Matt Scott: Boxer engine.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. A boxer engine in a motorcycle. And it was spectacular. And it, and then it, some people started designing saddlebags and windscreens and everything, and it was the platform of choice. And then Honda created all that stuff and put all of these accessory [01:05:00] companies out of business. My accessory company, which I designed, I was a preferred vendor for Panasonic, Sony, Canon and Nikon. And Sony actually approached me to design some components for them, which is pretty interesting because normally with the Japanese company. It's not invented here, forget it. But yeah, I was doing all this stuff and then they just created their own versions or they added, features to the camera that made my stuff, irrelevant. So that was another arc of doing something kind of fun. But yeah. So we, we had some coffee, I think. And then you were getting ready to do the, the original.
Scott Brady: The loneliest.
Bruce Dorn: Loneliest place. Yeah, that's right. And that was over Thanksgiving. You said, I'm not gonna sit and watch football. I never do. And I said, I got sons-in-law I don't really like, and they're gonna sit at my house and watch football can I come with you.
Scott Brady: That's right. That's exactly what I think you had about two days notice.
Bruce Dorn: Oh, and I didn't know [01:06:00] we were going on an actual get out of the car thing. I wasn't as usual in the wrong clothes and. I remember when we stopped at Flagstaff, I bought a liter water bottle just cause I thought it was cool. And then next thing you know, we're marching up the 58 mile bench, you know.
Scott Brady: I thought bench.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. I thought we were gonna just go for a drive and then we're, we didn't quite have to make a snow cave, but we were huddled under a rock ledge.
Scott Brady: Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Oh, that was such a fun trip. Trying to get to the most remote pointnin the lower 48 states.
Matt Scott: And you just did a similar trip, I guess, taking an EV to a similar spot.
Scott Brady:I did. So I, when Bruce and I did this trip with Cam from NEMO and Ray Highland and everybody, the goal was to actually get to the physical location that was the most remote, which included trekking for hiking for many miles. But what we recently did was we took an EV to the most remote point that you can access on a dirt road in the lower 48, which [01:07:00] is in the same area, which is slightly different location.
Bruce Dorn: I remember when we were doing the original trip, and that's 10 years ago. Yeah, right.
Scott Brady: That's right.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. I realized I was the oldest guy by 20 years and I figured, it's gonna take him extra time to get my corpse out of here. So I just volunteered to do everything first, like the repelling and the Jim Marring and all that. Cause Yeah. No, that was, that was a lot of fun. A lot of fun.
Scott Brady: I do have some great photos of you repelling.
Bruce Dorn: Do you think that repelling artist made my butt look big? Be honest. You know, be honest.
Scott Brady:You were fantastic. Yes. Yeah, you were fantastic. Fantastic. That was, but that, so that started, that started some, and you, I mean, you had. Jeeps and you'd done a lot of off-road driving and, and dirt driving and riding and everything else like that, but not combining that with travel really.
Bruce Dorn: Well and, and not having chums, you know? That's, that's the thing about the overland community versus having a four-wheel drive and driving it around the mall and all [01:08:00] that stuff. I mean, that, that's what I you know, it's super valuable to me. I mean, obviously that chance meeting. Then led to the opportunity for me to join you on Expedition 7.
Matt Scott: That's where the bromance really started. That was the big spoon, little spoon moment.
Scott Brady: It was, yeah.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah I.
Scott Brady: We spent four years.
Bruce Dorn: We're not quite.
Scott Brady: Four years sleeping together.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Not quite joking when we say we spent more time sleeping with each other than with our wives. And he is incredibly snugly. I just want to go on record of saying that.
Scott Brady: I'm a, I'm a snugly guy.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. And, and the most annoying thing is that he'll trick me into telling the story just so he, it'll he'll fall asleep. You know, you know, I have a way of falling asleep.
Scott Brady: I didn't do that. I didn't do that.
Bruce Dorn: And then the way the car.
Matt Scott: Brucey, tell me the story about the Playboy model again.
Bruce Dorn: No, it'd be about how the carburetor float ball works, you know? And then I hear this gentle, this sweet, gentle snoring. But, but yeah. No, we, that was, that was a lot of fun. A lot of fun.
Matt Scott: Don't peg the snoring just on Scott. I've, [01:09:00] I was on a brief portion of that trip too. Y'all both snore. It's like chainsaws.
Scott Brady: We actually, we need to put into this podcast.
Matt Scott: Like very large, like industrial chainsaws. I mean, I mean maybe. Maybe early industrial age locomotives.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Something. Something Just post steam.
Scott Brady: Yeah. I think we do, we do have to put in the, in the YouTube video, Matt actually asleep with his fingers still on the type on the, on the laptop trying to write while we were driving across the United States.
Bruce Dorn: Oh, oh my, my favorite picture of Matt and I probably still have it, was we were up in Vegas for the, the car shower or whatever it is, and those guys that used to stand outside the convention center with the porn.
Matt Scott: Oh, I love collecting those. I'm always trying to find one that says Laura. That's my wife's name and I've never found one.
Bruce Dorn: Well, I got all of them and then Matt was asleep and I just poured 'em on him in, in the bed and took.
Matt Scott: Oh, that was the Liberace mansion. [01:10:00] Yeah.
Scott Brady: That's the place. That's right. Yeah. That was the weirdest place we ever rented. It was like a 10,000 square foot.
Bruce Dorn: Now think hard. The weirdest, let me think.
Matt Scott: Back when Sema wasn't just rebranded Chinese things.
Scott Brady: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah so.
Scott Brady: We did, I mean, we drove Alaska we drove across the US together on E seven.
Bruce Dorn: We stopped in New York for a minute.
Scott Brady: That's right. We did.
Matt Scott: Feather boa moment.
Scott Brady: Yeah, we have That can go in the, in the show notes as well.
Matt Scott: Feather boa.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So we got Bruce.
Matt Scott: It's the only time that I will ever have a feather boa on my hand while eating a hotdog next to the commissioner of the NBA and the owner of the Utah Jazz at the time.
Scott Brady: That's true. That's true. Yeah.
Bruce Dorn: People were.
Scott Brady: That’s exactly what happened.
Bruce Dorn: People were.
Matt Scott: Interesting.
Bruce Dorn: People. I'm not gonna name names, but people were messing with me on the trip across, the US and, and so I arranged for a trap in New York. Well first I arranged to have all the, the police officers personal vehicles towed from in front of DNA. So we had [01:11:00] some 80 feet of parking.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Try to make that happen in New York City.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. And then because I was the one who theoretically knew his way around Manhattan, cuz I had lived there. I happened to have a in the Brew Do Girlfriend network, which is white.
Matt Scott: Yeah. You hadn’t even mentioned the GFN. Yeah, BDGFN.
Bruce Dorn: Called up one of the members of the, the local chapter of the BDGFN and had her, curbside somewhere, in midtown at, with a pink cowboy hat. That I fit Greg Miller and I had one. No, no, I had one and it had a diamond tierra built into it. Cause Greg had tried to get me one in a truck stop somewhere in Colorado and they were all children's sizes . So I called ahead and made sure I had one. And then this girl I got us down the street, ambushed us, put on my properly fitting [01:12:00] hat and wrapped Greg in a pink feather, Boa, which emotionally overwhelmed him for a moment. And then from then on, the pink feather Bowa was either punishment or reward.
Scott Brady: It was for the trip.
Bruce Dorn: Rest of the trip.
Scott Brady: For the rest of the trip.
Bruce Dorn: And weren't some of the feathers plucked to make some flies?
Scott Brady: I think so.
Bruce Dorn: Some fly fishing fly.
Scott Brady: Exactly. Yeah.
Bruce Dorn: I wonder whatever happened to the pink feather.
Scott Brady: You know, there, there is some sadness. That's probably one of the great losses of expedition seven.
Bruce Dorn: PFB.
Scott Brady: We, we actually lost the pink feather boa somewhere, probably in Russia. I don't know, but yeah.
Bruce Dorn: Probably in Russia, either that are on the ferry. Maybe one of my girlfriends on the ferry. Got it.
Scott Brady: Yep. So this is a story that has to be told. So Bruce and I were, were traveling through Europe and with Expedition seven we arrive at, at Nord Cap in these Land Cruisers. And, and Greg Miller and I are standing up in underneath the, the, you know, the art, you know, Bruce Dorn: Atlas.
Scott Brady: Installation, Atlas holding up the world at, Nord Cap. And we're getting [01:13:00] all these photos thinking that we're looking.
Bruce Dorn: In the fog.
Scott Brady: Thinking that we're looking cool. And then Bruce is like, Hey, I want a photo too. So I, you know, I grab my camera and there's, it's totally socked in with fog and Bruce stands up there, and this is an absolutely true story. So Bruce is up there in a, you know, in his, all of his Arctic gear and his, his green glasses. And out of the fog, this woman is running, she's running through the fog. I mean, I, you hear it, you hear the crunch, crunch, crunch. And I turn and I look, and this woman runs out of the fog and she is wearing a fleece jacket. The exact same color as Bruce's glasses. Yeah. She runs up the steps. She hugs Bruce and kisses Bruce. She turns and looks and smiles for the photograph, which we'll put in the video, and then she runs back into the fog. She said no words to Bruce or anyone. [01:14:00] She ran out of the fog, kissed him, hugged him, smiled for the photo, and then ran back into the fog.
Bruce Dorn: That that Sure. That sure messed with the rest of the guys on the crew on the tour. Scott Brady: Nobody could figure it out. No. So well then we used that to our advantage for the rest of the Adventure for sure.
Bruce Dorn: I, one of my favorites was when we got on the, the oceanic ferry. And I tricked the. Scott Brady: From Stockholm to Talon in Estonia.
Bruce Dorn: It is. You and I were in line first. We're waiting for the, ticket booth to open to get on the ferry with all the semis. And all this stuff. And the rest of the E seven guys are behind us and they're getting ready to open up the booth. And I see there's a, obviously a senior kind of guy there. And I, really attractive young woman who, seemed like might, she might have been in training and they finally opened the window and I. It's on the, yeah. my side and Scotty's driving on the right. And I, I'm going, would you, would you mind helping me with a little, little joke? And she goes, what? I said, [01:15:00] so the last time you saw me was in the, in the lift line at Aspen. And I ditched you, I ditched you for another chick and, you're really happy to see me, but you're also pissed, you know? And, I said, could you just play that up? When we drive away and as we drove away, I could hear her saying to her boss, that was Brucey. That's. And we, I go, hahaha. That was fun. Uh, that was the beginning of it. Apparently it was after we got through there. And, and.
Scott Brady: She radioed ahead.
Bruce Dorn: She radioed ahead and every woman that worked on the ship, you know, the ones that have the flashlights doing this, they go, Hey, Brucey, as I go by and, and the, the whole rest of the team, as we're walking up our way through the ship, we went by a bar and one of them handed me a gin and tonic and to.
Scott Brady: That's right. She turned and said, Brucey, here's your, here's your drink of choice or something, and handed you a gin and tonic.
Bruce Dorn: And to, and I just, I just want thanks, babe. And we went on and.
Scott Brady: Everybody was shocked. What the heck? And I'm going, BDGFM, man.
Scott Brady: They're everywhere. Everywhere. [01:16:00] They're everywhere.
Bruce Dorn: By the way, all women are, you're the head of your local, branch. You, I've got, you know, you know, stationary and stuff, just. Reach out. You know.
Scott Brady: Speaking of that, where, where can people follow you so they can become a, an indoctrinated member of the Bruce Dorn network?
Bruce Dorn: Well, I have a website and that's all stupid. I'm on.
Scott Brady: Brucedorn.com.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, but I never update it. It's a million years old. I'm on the gram and I want tried to get Bruce dot Dorn and, somebody got it. And so I got Dorn dot Bruce, and then later I remembered I had gotten Bruce dot dorn.
Scott Brady: Yeah, you have both.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, I know. I totally forgot about that. Bruce Dot Dorn. So I only put stuff on Dorn dot Bruce, but I'm gonna go back and put some other stuff on it.
Matt Scott: You know, you can, you can swap 'em and keep your audience I can, I can help you with that.
Bruce Dorn: You are magical.
Matt Scott: I know, I know, I know. I hear that magical, Matt.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Well, so I've got some questions cause I think Okay, people are still, people that are listening must have many, many questions right now. [01:17:00] But one of the ones that, that I like, one of the things that I love about you is the fact that you do say yes to opportunities in your life. How do you determine what to say yes to?
Bruce Dorn: I say yes to everything.
Scott Brady: Everything.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. And, and what sort of thought took.
Matt Scott: Okay, some money.
Bruce Dorn: Now, you know, you know, I figure.
Matt Scott: No is subtle there.
Bruce Dorn: I figure the universe is, you know, is trying, right? I mean, stuff comes along and, and especially stuff that I've, I, I try to be, have a general knowledge about a little bit of everything and I'm interested in everything. And so, I figure I can always say no later, you know? But if an, If an opportunity presents itself, I think that's a universe saying, you know, pay attention to this. So, so I do, and it, it, more often than not, it turns out well, I think there's a, something, something I refer to as the persistence of the river. You can take buckets of water outta the river all day long and you don't [01:18:00] really change its course. You know, I think, I think that our trajectories are kind of, I don't want to be about it, but I, I kind of feel like it, the, you pick positivity. Yeah, pick positivity and, and for the most part things go well. It's like, you know, I'm not saying fake it till you make it, but I am saying, if you see an opportunity, deserve it, do the work to deserve it. Yeah. And that's served me extremely well. You know, it's, it still does. I mean, I'm 50, this marks 50 years as a full-time creative, and I continue to be astonished that stuff comes my way, you know? And I, I got nothing better to do. Right. This is, this is fantastic. And, and the, I also make a point of trying not to be stuck in my generation. Yeah. You know, in fact, I.
Scott Brady: You've done a great job of that.
Bruce Dorn: I don't know too many people my age and the most of the ones I do, you know, they, [01:19:00] they don't do that much. And, if, if I wake up, I'm gonna, I'm gonna get out there and do something, you know? And I love being around younger people and I love annoying them. And so that, that's kind of a normal, normal thing for.
Scott Brady: We were, we were having lunch the other day and it was just before I turned the big five-o. And, and you just kind of turned to me and the, you know, we've spent a lot of time together and you just said, you know, Scott, every decade just gets better. And you said, I'm not so sure about the seventies yet, but, but it was, to me that was really, it was really thoughtful to say, because when you're looking at you know, I mean, I did turn 50 just in the last few weeks and, and, but to hear someone that I respect and admire say, you know what it's like every, it just got better and better. At no doubt things get different, but when I look at your life that you've, like, your [01:20:00] sixties are like, what more, most people would be lucky to live in an entire life doing. So that was good advice.
Bruce Dorn: You know, going back to that thing where I was be standing out there in the dark and the sand dunes with all the grip trucks and everything, and just going, I cannot believe this.
I cannot believe it. Be grateful, you know, the more grateful you are, the, the more the universe smiles on you. I really think so. And you know, as I, I would certainly love to be younger and have the physical, physicality and the energy that I had, but I didn't have, I didn't have, I'm not gonna say wisdom. I'm gonna say I didn't have the, the accrual of experiences at the younger age. Thank goodness I had energy and physicality because that compensated for the lack of c common sense and experience. You know, so now I, you know, Gail and, and what was it, [01:21:00] Gail?
Scott Brady: Old age of treachery.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Yeah. No, I, I heavily depend on that mass
Matt Scott: Am I supposed to ask him a question or something?
Scott Brady: If you want to.
Matt Scott: I don't really want to.
Scott Brady: Okay.
Bruce Dorn: I don't want you to.
Scott Brady: Have you gotten onto second beer, Matt?
Matt Scott: Man, I've been on the second beer for a while.
Scott Brady: Oh, you have? That's nice. And Bruce Bruce's still on his first glass of water.
Matt Scott: I'm, I'm sampling P'S Blue Ribbon and Modelo Today I have an affinity for cheap beer. Cheap beer, fine wines.
Bruce Dorn: That's kind of your new, that's, you need to turn that into a website.
Scott Brady: Your logo. Your logo.
Matt Scott: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I mean, I'm a juxtaposed person.
Bruce Dorn: Well, I'm, so here, here we are, beginning of 23. I, I was kind of wrapping up 22 thinking, you know, time to slow down a little bit, maybe do a little more of the grandkids stuff and that kind of thing in 22.
Scott Brady: Now you just had a big announcement just that we could probably time so we can time it with that. Yeah. You want to tell [01:22:00] everybody?
Bruce Dorn: Well, uh, cannon brought me on as an explorer of light.
Matt Scott: Yeah. We didn't even talk anything about Canon and that's been a huge part of the last decade of your life?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, I was, I was, when I was doing my digital art stuff, doing the painting and so on, I was doing, you know, the big trade shows. You know, I would get a room with 500 people in it and I would do live demos. I'd bring in a model and I'd light it and I'd shoot it, and then I'd use that as reference to do a digital painting. And then I would output it in 90, 90 minutes I got. So I was really fast. You normally, you do this stuff rather slowly, but I invited the guy that was head guy at Cannon at the time, cannon USA Guy went over. I said, I'm doing a show. I'd love it if you came and caught it. And at that time they were just starting to push the pigment, jet printers, you know, inkjet printers suck, pigment Jet or G Clay printers are actually, for our, the simplest explanation would be, it's like acrylic [01:23:00] paint, tiny micro paint balls. So a proper pigment jet print will outlast the Mona Lisa, you know, in terms of the color fastness. And they needed cool looking stuff to promote that. He created a program on the spot with me and another guy called the Print Masters. And I joined Cannons rank as a print master, and then they put me on the road teaching the wonders of maintaining your, you know, all of our digital stuff gonna go, you know, in one sort of electronic burst.
Matt Scott: Cody bits.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. And so the only thing that really is gonna outlast you would be if you do make prints, you know, a magazine will be there, but electronic footprint's gonna be gone. The formats will change. So I was, I was in and then, I was the only person. Well, so the Explorers of Light Program was one of the very first sponsored artists program, and, and they took a lot of pride in the fact that they located the best in a particular genre. [01:24:00] And if they used Canon, then great, they would approach 'em to become an explorer of light. And as they'd go, this is the best underwater guy in the world, and he is Cannon. And they never threw equipment at people and said, you know, you're super good use, use our stuff and then, you know, we'll brag about you. So I, they, they, they moved me over into that program. And I'm a general practitioner, you know, I'm not, I don't specialize in aerials. I don't specialize in high fashion. I've done a little bit of everything. So I'm kind of an odd fit in the program, but because I'm also a cinematographer done as, as much or more cinematography as I have still work. That made me the right guy at the right time. When the first hds saw ours came out, you know, he had film cameras and he had digital cameras, and that was the whole thing. And then there was suddenly.
Scott Brady: And then the 5d happened.
Bruce Dorn: The 5d the 5d happened, changed everything. And that's when I started my parts [01:25:00] manufacturing. And, I was doing 26 city tours talking about doing, you know, how to use this stuff for cinema. I think it was ILM that reached out to me one time. They were, when they were doing Red Tails, the story of the African American, Mustang squadron.
Matt Scott: Tuskegee Airmen.
Bruce Dorn: Tuskegee Airman.
Matt Scott: Tuskegee, Alabama.
Bruce Dorn: And they needed to be able to film inside the cockpits of these P51s and I, I was a consultant on that. So, I was in inducted into the, explorers of light in 18 years ago. And every year you requalify they. We're all fired at the end of the year, and then they rejigger the group so that it's the, the best supposedly. And you don't know if you qualify until about mid-January they announced the, the new stable. And every year I've, [01:26:00] I've made that cut. And, certainly the, the nature of a social media, sponsored artist has changed dramatically. Everybody has.
Matt Scott: Yeah. It's more about the following these days and yeah.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, it certainly is a big component.
Matt Scott: It's a big component.
Bruce Dorn: It's a big and legitimate component. I'm not gonna say it isn't. I've always felt that my responsibility was to, build followings for my customers, for my clients. I, who cares if anybody knows who I am or recognizes my name or gives a hoot about my opinion. So I don't have, I have very few social media followers. I just, I don't, but I feel responsible for. A lot of the followers of some pretty big name companies. And, this year they have decided that I'm a legend, so they moved me into the legend program, which is.
Scott Brady: You are a legend, Brucey.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Right. So they, they have a, another program, which is, I yeah, I don't know if I've been kicked into the attic. But [01:27:00] it's, it's got some pretty big, some pretty big, pretty big name people in it. And I'm humbled and, and thrilled that, that they have moved me into that. I'm in it for life now, so actually beyond life. So I'll always be in, in the Cannon Legend program. So yeah.
Scott Brady: That's fantastic person. And so Deserve, man. It's just amazing.
Bruce Dorn: Well, more importantly, they said, you know, and we're sick of you not doing projects. I haven't done anything really cool for 'em in a while because they have to spread it around among all the, you know, the, the, the people that they bring in the, the fresh horses, you know, so to speak. But I'm getting ready to go out and do some really good work for 'em. Scott Brady: Yeah, it'll be very exciting. It'll be amazing to see what you come up with.
Bruce Dorn: Very exciting. Yeah, very exciting. I'm, I'm chuffed as the Brits would say. I got a big fat, I don't know, assignment to go, make a camera look awesome. It is an awesome camera.
And I'm thrilled to be [01:28:00] the, it's like having a, a Kentucky Derby capable winning horse, and they call the oldest jockey in the world to ride it. So, yeah, I know. I'm. I couldn't be, couldn't be more excited, couldn't be more excited. And, all my mentees are doing great. You know, I, I've spent a lot of time, trying to help people and every time they have a victory, it's a victory for me.
Scott Brady: So, yeah. If you were to, if you were to ask something of our audience, how, how can our audience support some of the mentorship work that you're doing? Or, or is there a challenge that you have for the audience around that because you've made a difference in so many people's lives?
Bruce Dorn: Well, you know, we were, we were talking, before about trying to sort of magnify that or, or, or increase it. But, and, and I had the, the sort of the conceptual [01:29:00] name, elevate one, you don't know everything in the world. I don't know everything there is, know about everything. But I, I know something and there's somebody that's one rung down on the ladder from me, and I don't care how new you are at. Your art form, you're writing your music, your, your image making. You're somewhere and there's someone else who could use benefit from your wisdom. You know, at every level. So elevate one, find one person, elevate them. You know, and the, a rising tide raises all boats. I love it. And I absolutely guarantee you will, understand what you do much better when you have to explain it. When you have to make someone else understand it thoroughly is when you understand it thoroughly. And then, you know, you know what my passion is now I, I'm want to get this Hero's Network idea going. And [01:30:00] the next thing I've written for you is, is pretty, pretty heavy piece of writing, but it, it led me to an idea, about trying to organize our community into being, being there. Being there. And I don't know whether we want to talk about that now or talk about it more later, but.
Scott Brady: Well, I think once we get it off the ground a little bit more, but the next couple issues of Overland Journal, Bruce has the opportunity or had the opportunity to share a story of, as Alisa, who was attacked, viciously attacked in South America. And it's just an awareness that we have within Overlanding that, things are not always safe and that there's a, there's a way for us as a community to be supportive when someone needs it or someone is, or someone is fearful of their safety or someone has had a compromise to their safety.
Bruce Dorn: So we're all, you know, a big part of the adventure community is that we're all [01:31:00] individuals and we all want to have our little individual adventures, but there's so much more we can share. We don't have to turn it into a homogenized cookie cutter type of thing to be out there exploring the world and for women to be able to go out there and have adventures and be strong and fulfilled every, every, all their potential. And, and we just need to make the, the world a little safer. So I, I've got a cautionary tale and the, the takeaway on it is very positive, but it's real easy to fool ourselves into thinking that that, that, that everything is, is sort of pre-packaged and safe. We know better. We got out there and we, yeah.
Matt Scott: There's almost an attitude with travelers that if they say something isn't safe, it means that they're not, like, they're not worthy, they're not part of the club. Like they don't wanna, [01:32:00]
Scott Brady: We don't have to be reckless to be a traveler.
Matt Scott: Yeah. It, it does trend towards that reckless thing.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Whenever I see the tagline and I never felt, a moment, I never felt that I was in danger for a moment, I'm going, then your situational awareness is not quite finely tuned.
I would never want to talk anybody out of, I mean, risk and danger is a seasoning to some, some degree, I.
Scott Brady: And we can never fully escape it, even in our day-to-day life.
Bruce Dorn: You know, no, no matter how, how gorgeous the. The shot is of you out there in the middle of nowhere. You're out there in the middle of nowhere. And, and I feel like there's an opportunity for us to, as a community, share information. You know, this area's not quite so good right now. Maybe it's a little sketchy. Maybe you could caravan through this area. Maybe you could sidestep this area. [01:33:00] I want to organize us to be on call Good Samaritans, you know?
Matt Scott: Yeah. And there's so many people in the community that would always help. You know, I mean, from everybody that we've met.
Scott Brady: Part of the joy of travel.
Matt Scott: In the overland world.
Bruce Dorn: I, I mean, yeah. I mean, it's, it is a community and a part of the.
Matt Scott: It's a kinship.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Part of the community isn't just, you know, going down to the the pitch in dinner and, and, you know, everybody's watching the skyrockets. You, you gotta be there when, when the tornado comes in, you know? So, and I think we could do a, I think we could, I'm not gonna say, do a better job of it. Do a job of it, you know, I mean, I feel like. I, I know from the story that, that, that will appear in the journal that my friend was, caught in a terrible situation. And then what was worse? She had no one to turn to. And I know, I know. Just, I don't know, but every particle being, every particle of my being is absolutely [01:34:00] sure that there was somebody from our community within a couple hundred miles. There's somebody in our community within a couple hundred miles of all of us.
Matt Scott: There's probably somebody within a couple miles. You know, I mean, there's only so many roots, right. That most people go on.
Bruce Dorn: I don't know how you could, how there you could find any place on earth where there isn't somebody in the overland community kind of nearby. And if, if we had a way to be able to send up a flare and call in the cavalry, to be there when somebody is absolutely in need and has no one to turn to. Because a big part of being solo is being solo, and a big part of being out there in the middle of nowhere is you're in the middle of nowhere. There aren't emergency services, you know.
Scott Brady: Oftentimes.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. And so, I think it will be a small but big thing to organize, organize us into a community that is on call. You know, I mean, how many times have we seen it? Somebody busts an axle on the white rim trail and the, or they're outta water and everybody, but we need to have that for, [01:35:00] those of us who actually find ourselves in a vulnerable position. Yeah. You know, and there's plenty of times when you, not plenty of times, but there are those odd occasions when it can go so horribly wrong, that you, you can barely cope and, you know, we can fix that.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Or at least be the community can be present to help. And, and, be a support. And get some, get a, a mechanism for that. So what, you know, let's plan on having a future podcast where we talk in more detail. We are working on it. Bruce has got an incredible idea, and has done a lot of effort to flesh it out. And he's pulled a bunch of people together.
Matt Scott: And now you're committed to it. We've talked about it.
Bruce Dorn: You know, well, I'm tenacious , you know, I, it, I will.
Scott Brady: And treacherous.
Bruce Dorn: And treacherous, tenacious all the T words. Tall. That's really [01:36:00] the thing. Scott Brady: T-Rex.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, so it just kind of goes along with, trying to stay involved, you know? The more you stay involved, the more that you, choose the positive, the better things go. Yeah. So we can do that.
Scott Brady: Well, it seems like it. Yeah. Yeah. Choose the positive path. Well, we could spend another two hours talking to Bruce. Well, actually, I spent four years traveling around the world with Bruce and I never ran out of Bruce's stories, so hopefully we'll get you back on for some more. But Bruce, I just as a friend, I am so grateful that I called you that one day in Prescott and that we've been able to have this decades long friendship, friendship. You've taught me so much and I've learned so much about life and about travel, and about being thoughtful of others from you. It's just been an [01:37:00] incredible joy, Bruce, to have you as a friend.
Bruce Dorn: So, well, I'm gonna get all sappy eyed. Yeah, but you know, it flips around right? When you develop a deep friendship, every, everybody benefits, and I've learned from both of you guys. I've learned from Matt to pick better beer primarily, but, but.
Matt Scott: There's nothing wrong with a good, solid Midwestern beer. Please sponsor me. Bruce Dorn: That's right.
Scott Brady: Absolute.
Bruce Dorn: That's right.
Scott Brady: Here's your chance.
Bruce Dorn: See if it's a Canon explorer, it would be a Pabst lush. Yeah. We, we.
Scott Brady: Lush legend.
Bruce Dorn: I, I think, see, I think we could, we could come up with a marketing campaign and take it to 'em , you know? This have I taught it?
Matt Scott: They've, they've gotta come to me.
Bruce Dorn: Have I taught you nothing Matt?
Matt Scott: I have to stay authentic to my followers.
Bruce Dorn: Have I taught you nothing worse. You've got to attack. You've got.
Matt Scott: Well, you've taught me a lot, Bruce, so much.
Bruce Dorn: Take the beer and attack.
Matt Scott: More than, more than I think you'd know. And. I don't think that I would be in the position. I am in life without you. [01:38:00] So yeah. I deeply care about you.
Bruce Dorn: Gosh, what a love fest. Let's, let's, let's do this again.
Matt Scott: Screw you. I'm done.
Bruce Dorn: Like right away. Don't stop. Don’t stop. You know.
Scott Brady: All right. So you can find out more about Bruce at Dorn dot Bruce.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah. Don't go to Princeton.
Matt Scott: Or Bruce dot dorn because you also have that, and I'm gonna show you how to.
Scott Brady: Connect them both.
Matt Scott: Switch your roonies.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, I love it.
Scott Brady: On Instagram. An incredible career. A lot of beautiful images out there. A lot of them have been in Overland Journal and they're gonna continue there. You're gonna see his art and his incredible writing here in the next couple issues as well. So, Bruce, thanks so much for being on the podcast.
Matt Scott: Thanks for coming.
Bruce Dorn: My pleasure. And for my dancing, go right to TikTok because that's, that's where I keep all the dance videos. Love you guys.
Scott Brady: Yeah, love you. Love you Brucey. Thanks for being on the podcast and thank you all. We love you guys too. And thank you all for listening, and we'll talk to you next time.