Director / DP / Director of Photography
“At this point, I really believe that I’m at the top of my game. It's a great place to be. It may sound strange, but I run Hamilton Studio - this incredible space - like a repertory theater company. We all have multiple disciplines, skills, and a stake in the company. Artistic satisfaction (and the paycheck) keeps us all coming back week after week.
I studied theater at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts. I tell people that Robin Williams followed me there. I ended up transferring to UC Irvine where I continued to study theater and lighting design. I wanted to be a strong theater person and great photographer so I could make classic movies. That was my goal.
After moving to the Northwest in 1980, I was a still photographer for several years, then, added filmmaking. I am equally interested in both disciplines. For me a great assignment is directing motion and then shooting the corresponding stills.
Finding what a client wants to say and then working as a team to fulfill that vision still gets me excited after more than 30 years in the business. In the studio, we get to create alternate realities; like springtime in the winter or even the Kansas Dustbowl. We can make anything happen on that blank space.
It’s fun knowing there are a lot of people who want to retire to do what I get to do for a living everyday.”
Lorna St. John
Producer, Stylist, Craft Services
“Don and I met when I was the fashion coordinator and stylist at the Crescent department store. When the Crescent closed, I became Don’s partner at Hamilton Studio.
Production is a very collaborative game to me. I try to make people feel welcome and comfortable when they are doing something unfamiliar to them. And I need a strong eye for detail and a connection with the character of a shoot. My role is to see what is missing - the missing elements, that will give the photograph or film it’s own personality. Even though the director gets all the glamour for what happens in front of camera, what happens behind the scenes is just as critical to a project’s success.
People are more visually literate than ever. The average client knows what Photoshop is and knows what they want to achieve. They see sophisticated production in media every day. Clients can even bring samples of the kind of style they are looking for which allows us see their vision and makes them a greater factor in their project's success. Production should be fun for everyone, and involving clients in the process produces a superior product.
I love producing films. It involves a tremendous amount of time and effort, but great satisfaction! In between, I manage HR, do quotes, handle billing, do makeup and food styling, as well props and wardrobe. My favorite part of the day may be when I can finally sit down and have a glass of wine.”
Director / DP / Photographer
“I have always loved to draw and paint so I started out in the art program at Spokane Falls Community College. Don Hamilton offered me a summer job doing stuff that nobody else wanted to do, which soon became an apprenticeship in photography. I worked my way up the ranks, learning from very talented people. Twenty-one years later, I am still here and still loving it.
I think the team we have here now is the best we’ve ever had. We all work well together and trust each other. No walls, no stepping on toes. We are all comfortable talking, arguing, and collaborating with each other.
I love working with creative people. Keeping things fresh is great, and every day is different. There is a lot of collaboration between our clients and our team. It’s rewarding and fun. The result is really great work.
Currently, I’m doing more and more video, especially directing, in addition to still photography. I especially enjoy working with peers on projects like The 50 Hour Slam: "Vole", and short films: "The Big Sayonara", "Love Is Dead" and "Ultraviolent." I always look forward to the next project.”
Editor / Post Production Supervisor
“I grew up in Lewiston, Idaho. I discovered Windows Movie Maker when I was in junior high and put my creations up on YouTube. Those silly video productions got more elaborate, so I decided to take a video production class in high school.
My love for film grew and I majored in Broadcasting and Digital Media at the University of Idaho. Those experiences introduced me to film making as a whole, where I discovered my true passion: editing.
After graduation, I started looking for internship opportunities in Spokane. When I discovered Hamilton Studio, I immediately felt a close-knit and homey vibe. They offered me an internship which ultimately turned into a full time position as editor and post-production supervisor.
Editing is my favorite part of film making. Editing is 90% storytelling, whether it's for a TV spot, corporate video or feature film. The other 10%? That’s organization. There is something amazing about working through hours of footage and finding the hidden story. I love digging for the perfect spoken line or perfectly framed shot to bring that story to life. It’s like being a sculptor. You chisel away until you're left with a work of art.”
Sound Designer / Audio Engineer / FAA Certified Drone Pilot
"I was raised in Polson, Montana on the shores of Flathead Lake and went the University of Montana in Missoula, graduating with a certificate in Entertainment Business Management. Afterwards, I earned an AAS in Audio Engineering and then spent six months interning at Hamilton Studio. They liked what I did and rewarded me with a full-time audio position.
I have a lot of experience producing stage and live sound events; I’ve had the opportunity to record and engineer some really great performers, like Cellist Zuill Bailey. Since I was a kid I’ve been playing guitar and recording music. I love performing with Flannel Math Animal, my two-piece, jazz-oriented instrumental group. We often have concerts at the studio and we shoot our music videos here. I am also in a five-piece math rock group called Griffey. We look forward to performing at Elkfest this year.
I am really happy doing post production audio; the process, the organization of big projects, and Foley work to recreate everyday sounds for film. The attention to detail is the way that sound elements can drastically change the audience’s emotion and perceptions in film. Following a project from start to finish is very rewarding. I always enjoy getting out of the audio suite to record production sound on set; traveling to new places for production work is one of my favorite parts of this business.
What’s great is that there’s never a dull day at Hamilton Studio, there’s always something different going on. And I’ve expanded my capabilities to include camera assistant, camera operator and I’m an FAA licensed drone pilot. I get to do things that I never expected to be doing when I was a student. I’m so thankful this industry found me and that I’m part of a great production team.”