Interview with Matthew D. Dho (@mattdho)


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? 

I’ve been obsessed with film my entire life, not just with the emotions evoked thru watching the film but with how it was made. The specific choices made by filmmakers to achieve their vision, whether it be from a stylistic/aesthetic perspective or for practical purposes. On top of that, I always loved writing, so for me, the two matched up perfectly. I was going to write books and screenplays, and I was going to make movies.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this? 

The first film I wrote TEENAGE BADAS was selected to be in competition at the 2020 SXSW film festival. But then the COVID-19 global pandemic happened and as everyone knows the world needed to shut down. SXSW was the first big major festival I remember hearing about cancelling. The interesting aspect has been seeing how the industry has evolved and is working to survive from the inside looking out. How do you move through the process of earning distribution and getting your film in front of the audience now that the traditional tried and true paths are gone?

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? 

I don’t believe in burn out. I think there is just going too hard for too long sometimes and not realizing that everyone needs a vacation now and then. So be mindful of that, know your own needs, and take breaks when you need it. Refresh yourself, everything ebbs and flows. Also, read Seth Godin’s book “The Dip”.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story? 

My writing partner Grant McCord. We’ve been friends and creative partners for a decade or so at least. I can remember as kids making films with a VHS camcorder, and we used the camcorder because we thought it looked cool instead of using a higher definition digital camera. But one of the great aspects of having a creative partner especially when writing is the process of writing something like a book or a script is so long and can be very isolating and lonely that the ability to share it with someone is incalculably beneficial. I feel like if I am Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” then Grant is my Wilson volleyball, I hope I am that for him as well. Tom needed his Wilson, everyone needs a Wilson. Wilson keeps you sane.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? 

I really think it’s important now more than ever for everyone to exercise their right to vote. So I like to randomly tweet that the first let’s say 20 people to message me promising to vote I’ll give them a free copy of my book “I Am Waltz”. It’s a small thing, but it is something.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life? 

“Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.” ― Kurt Vonnegut. For me, this is important for a lot of reasons. I think today we have a lot of division in society, politically, ideologically, nationally, racially, etc. I think the crux of a lot of it is whether people consider the benefit of themselves as a higher priority than the benefit of the world or in the least others around them. That issue, the notion of what matters most to me is me I think is the source of so much of humanity’s problems. It’s why student loan debt is $1.6 trillion and the US military budget is $725 billion.

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