We had the good fortune of connecting with Dash Jo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dash, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think we often like to play it safe for the sake of keeping a steady course that will keep us afloat. We fear that if we take a big leap then we might destroy the safe bubble we’ve built for ourselves and that makes us uncomfortable. For me, I was not willing to leave my job and life in Boston to pursue filmmaking in LA. I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, but as long it was within the means of my safe job, home, and life. I was safe but unsatisfied. After a few years, I realized that being safe was keeping me from where I wanted to be in life. I had to make a drastic change and that scared me. The more I thought about what I had to do and measured it against what I already had, I’d risk losing everything. But I had to make a decision that I knew would lead me to my version of success. So I wrote out the plan, said my prayers, and took the leap.
I think the hardest lesson to learn about leaping is that we think once we’ve made the decision, we’re all set and success should come at that moment. But I learned it’s not one decision that leads to success its multiple decisions, multiple leaps. You have to continue taking risks and keep doing things that get you out of your comfort zone. And that’s where I’m at, constantly making goals, constantly taking risks.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
>My motto in life is ” Do what you can with what you got” I live by that and I’d say most of my experience is building art with the resources I have. I remember starting a performing art camp for urban youth in my community in Boston. We didn’t have much money but I found creative ways to provide meals, costumes, and activities for the kids. The kids enjoyed themselves. I still keep in touch with some of the students and they’ve shared how the program helped grow their confidence in performing and in social environments. And that’s what I love about my work, being able to provide a medium that grows and helps people. I love that I can do that with stories and filmmaking.
>It’s not easy being a filmmaker. Not only do you need resources and planning, but you also need a whole lot of faith. I’m not really talking spiritually here but it helps if you’re into that.
Honestly, to make a movie you’re doing a whole lot of silent prayers. Praying that you don’t run out of money, that nothing goes wrong, and that you can actually pull this off. Here’s the secret: You’re always going to need more money and something is almost always going to go wrong, but the faith that needs to be unshakeable is that you can pull it off. If you go into a project that you don’t believe in then it’s going to show in the final product. I remember one of the first short films I was asked to direct. I was not confident in myself or the story. Because of that, preproduction suffered and when the dates to shoot came, we were not ready. During that time the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown started so “luckily” production was canceled and we were able to get our deposits back. Now that’s the best-case scenario of a failed project, but I realized something when I started filming other projects after. I was so RELIEVED that we had to cancel the production, I’ve been close to a mental breakdown when one of my character’s costumes didn’t arrive in time, I can’t imagine how I’d react to canceling a whole production now. But that’s the difference, I was close to producing a project when I was not confident nor passionate about it. I don’t want to produce work that I’m not confident in. My art is a reflection of who I am and if it doesn’t stay true to myself then I’d be wasting everyone’s time and money. Producing work I believe in is what I continue to build on, and the only way to continue that path is to know and believe in myself.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Let me take you to my hometown in Boston. I grew up between Boston and the South shore these spots will be a little drive so you can experience more than one city in Massachusetts. Boston is really big on live music, naturally since we host the amazing students at the Berklee school of music. Because of the large music scene, many restaurants you go to in Boston will have live music and I love that!
Beehive- Boston (Music Food Drinks)
Museum of Science
Dinner- Yellow Door Taqueria – Lower Mills
Breakfast- Toast of the town- Randolph, Ma
Lunch -Delicious Restaurant- Brockton, Ma
Nantasket beach Bar crawl and Seafood – Hull Ma
Breakfast – Alexander’s Brockton
Coffee Break- Ripple Cafe – Dorchester
Activity: New England Aquarium
Lucky’s – Boston for live music and dancing
Breakfast- JJ’s Cafe – Brockton
Lunch- Lakay Kreyol (Haitian Food Pop-up)- Brockton
Dinner- Zuzu – Cambridge
Nightcap- Music Concert at Middle East Night Club – Cambridge
Breakfast- Farmer’s Daughter – Easton, Ma
Lunch Pho Basil – Mass Ave, Boston
Activity- Lawn on D – Southie
Dinner – Slade’s Boston
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to shout out my family, especially my husband Steve and my son, Champion. Before getting married and having children, I was pursuing my dreams just for me, but now I feel my drive has become more aggressive because I have a legacy to leave behind. I find myself being more passionate about meeting certain goals and inspired to write even more. It’s a beautiful thing. I’d also shout out my mother and father, Vita and Daniel who, of course, have shown me so much support in this journey. Growing up I watched my parents pursue their music dreams. I’d tour with them to different churches and concert events to watch them sing and sell cassettes/CD’s, real grassroots. My dad worked hard driving students to school during the week, then drive to as far as Canada during the weekend to pursue his passion. They are definitely prime examples of what chasing a dream looks like.
I would also like to shout out to my mentor Rob (Rezarec) Connolly who has been instrumental in my pursuit of storytelling, for encouraging me to write and direct my first plays, and for being willing to help me find the medium and platform to do so.
Aaron Adrian, Prithvi Chauhan