We had the good fortune of connecting with Dakota Schlager and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dakota, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’ve always been an artistic person, even as a child. I grew up going to art camps, participating in 4-H projects, taking art classes, and always drawing or taking photos in my free time. At the end of my high school career when I was trying to decide what major to pursue I knew art was what I wanted to do the rest of my life. Art has always been an outlet for me and a way to express myself. It’s truly what I’m most passionate about.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think what sets me apart are my experiences and inspirations. I think we all have something that inspires or influences us that we can convey through our work. I’m incredibly passionate about what I do and it makes me work hard. I’m proud of myself for the perseverance I have. Graduating in the middle of a pandemic was hard and incredibly discouraging career path wise. While my career might not have taken off the way I though it would. I’ve had opportunities come to me here and there and I’m grateful for all of them. I’m hoping to get more of my foot in the door of the film industry, but as my professor once quoted, “oh snail climb Mount Fuji, but slowly, slowly.” We’ll all get where we’re going eventually, but it’s about the ride we take to get there. Something that’s really important to me and my brand is community. I love meeting new people, creating friendships, collaborating, and loving and supporting others.
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.
I’ve only lived in Denver for about a year and a half now and still have a lot of exploring to do. However, I love Rino. The murals, the breweries, it’s the best of both worlds, and it makes for a good night of bar hopping. I would also take them to my favorite Korean restaurants in Aurora, my favorite boba place downtown, and my favorite shops down Broadway.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly, I could write a very long list on people who have helped me get to where I am today; my family, my friends, all my teachers ever, my idols, the list goes on. However, I think my professors have had the biggest impact on me creatively.
One of the very first classes I took when I first joined the Film, Animation, Photography, & Motion Design program was photography. I had already had a love for photography but my professor, Forrest Zerbe, opened up a whole new world to me. He’s taught me everything I know and he truly deserves credit for all my photography skills. He’s a great professor, and I’m grateful to have him in my life.
Next is my film professor, Jeff Gustafson. I didn’t know I was going to fall in love with filmmaking when I signed up for this class, but Jeff made me completely change my career goals in that semester. Jeff was there to answer whatever questions I had, help me anyway he could, and just support and root for me know matter what. I still text Jeff every once in a while with questions I have. He’s a pure soul who cares about his students and deserves the world.
Last but not least, my professor Evan Curtis. Evan came into our program towards the end of my college career, so I didn’t get to work with him long. However, the short time I did have with him was incredibly impactful. Evan really cared about our education and our success. He didn’t sugar coat things. He gave us the hard truth that was needed. I think about it often how I really appreciated him giving us reality checks to prepare us for graduation. Evan was there for us seniors that graduated in the middle of covid. He heard us cry in our zoom meetings about having quarter life crises during those trying times. He encouraged and inspired me to keep pursuing this industry.