Five Questions with … Dave Shaw

By Carrie Reese
Marketing and Communications Intern

Dave Shaw is the manager of media services for the museum. He was here long before the Internet as we know it and the onset of YouTube existed. As I tiptoed into the studio to meet Shaw, the distance learning morning segment was going on. The “truck” as he likes to call it, is the production studio that he works in at the museum. The space is essentially everything a television production truck offers—except it’s located in the basement of the Cleveland Museum of Art. This is where I took a seat to talk to Dave about this underground, behind-the-scenes world.


Okay so, media services. What does this really mean you do on a daily basis?
Well in IT, one of the jobs is to take care of the production work we do, including what’s on the web. We shoot all the video for the museum, we archive it. We maintain the equipment and maintain the distance learning studios. We actually just got done rebuilding everything with new equipment so we’re actually high-def now. I get involved with various projects; if we open up an exhibit with technology, computers, or projection, we get involved with that. The public address system within the museum, we maintain that. And between Les Vince, and myself we do all the editing.

There is so much equipment here, what exactly does “maintenance” deal with?
Part of the maintenance is training some of the staff. We have an intern program with the Ohio Center for Broadcasting, so we hijack them to come in and help us produce these programs. We have to train them, especially when we get new equipment in. These machines have a lot of tricks and toys on them; if you push the wrong button it’ll get you into a lot of trouble. But you’re welcome to try if you want to do it yourself.

Ah ha, no thank you. I’ll leave that to the experts. How did you begin with all of this anyways?
Well, if you really want to go back to the beginning, it started when I was six years old and I got my first movie projector for Christmas. I ran a Popeye cartoon on the living room wall and it’s been downhill ever since.

So Popeye to IT production? What have you done in-between?
I was still in high school when I went to theWixy School Of Broadcast Technique back in the ‘70s. I went there and got my first class FCC license because I was convinced that radio and television was the place to make a fortune. From there I moved into doing more production work. I had my own production company for a while in the ‘90s. Sometimes if I have time and if the project is right, I still do production on the side. Recently, I was second production unit on a film, a three-year project that just finished. Do you know what micro-movies are? Micro-features? Basically they’re anyone with a camcorder making a movie. There’s a group in town called Twisted Spine Films and we did a film called Murder Machine. It’s actually up for a couple of those low-budget microfilm fest awards. My big project during the summers is outdoor movies. I have a thing called Give a Sheet--- give-a-sheet.com. I have a bunch of different screens; my biggest one is a 20-footer. We hoist that up in the air for people to play films on, like at the Coventry Peace Park.

Wow, you sound busy. What’s your favorite part of the job?
There is no singular favorite thing I do because every day is a different role of the dice. You can come into the day expecting to do one thing and by 9 a.m., the rules have changed. Maybe the most fun thing is that it’s always a different story, a different day. If I had to come in here and chase around blown light bulbs every day I think I would go insane.


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