Q&A with Dan Huiting: From musician to cinematographer
Combining his passion for music and film, former MCTC cinematography student Dan Huiting is living his dream. Before pursuing film, Huiting strived to make it as a musician, but found himself dissatisfied. It wasn’t until he worked on a music video for a song he and his friends wrote that he discovered a passion for film that launched him into the career of his dreams.
During his time at MCTC, Huiting took every opportunity to strengthen and showcase his film skills, leading to opportunities with MPLS.TV, Bon Iver and Pitchfork. He is now the senior producer of the City of Music series at MPLS.TV and the director of photography/editor of Minnesota Original on Twin Cities Public Television.
Have you always had a passion for the music industry? What inspired that passion?
I have always loved music. My dad gave me my first guitar when I was nine, and I've been playing ever since.
What led you to pursue a profession as a musician?
I found myself playing and recording for hours. I moved to New York City when I was 20 to try to make it as a musician, but I quickly became disillusioned and moved back. I only played guitar and bass, so I had to join other bands instead of starting my own. I never really clicked with any particular band.
What were your thoughts when you discovered that being a professional musician was not your best fit?
I felt pretty bummed out and lost for a while—I wasn't sure what I would do with my life.
When you were working on the music video for the song you and your friends wrote, what did you love about the shooting, lighting and editing process?
I fell in love with the collaborative aspect. Working with my friends toward a common goal—and having fun in the process—was something I hadn't experienced when I recorded by myself.
What led you to MCTC?
I had always taken photos and felt I had a decent eye, so I decided to pursue MCTC’s cinematography program. I felt filmmaking might be in the cards for me.
What are the top three takeaways from your time at MCTC that helped you most in your film career?
First, my professor, Adam Olson, who spent countless hours answering my questions about cinematography, was a great resource. Second was my first-year production courses, where I learned the basics about lighting, camera and the language of film. Lastly were the people. I made valuable relationships with like-minded students who were as passionate about film as I was. I work with many of those people today.
What’s your favorite part about your current job/gigs?
I love getting paid to make art all day. I can’t believe I get paid to travel and work with the bands I love. I also enjoy meeting talented artists and musicians around the city—it's really inspiring.
What are your hopes for the future regarding your career?
I want to continue making art and challenge myself with new projects. The more I do this, the more confident in my craft I become, and I’m able to take bigger risks with my work. It's exciting to try something new that you aren't sure will work, but it's better than doing the same thing. That's how I stay excited about my career.
Read more about Dan Huiting in the Vita.mn article