David Wasco & Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

David Wasco & Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

My dad also had been photographer’s assistant to Arnold Newman. Newman is a brilliant, brilliant still photographer but he actually did these hand-made, animated movies that my dad worked on. I just looked over his shoulder watching him. We had Super 8 cameras, my two brothers and myself. I have these pretty cool movies that I’ve done so there was always this interest in film.

After living in Bennington I ended up in the San Francisco Bay Area still toting around a portfolio trying to get graphics jobs. I ended up taking a full-time job doing retail store display for a company called Design Research, which is what Design Within Reach copied. I became the display director and kind of worked my way up with them for a number of years.

These two sisters were also working there, one of whom was the nanny to Francis Ford Coppola’ kids, Roman, Gio and Sophia. There were times when I was able to go over to Francis’ house and watch films in his screening room. The one sister’s boyfriend, Jerry, who didn’t work at the store, was given a script and was asked to be a PA and go off to the Philippines to do Heart of Darkness with Francis. Jerry said, David you gotta come out, you can be an “art grunt”. I was offered the job of being a PA on what became Apocalypse Now but I was simultaneously offered a promotion at Design Research to corporate display director.

Jerry said to go to the Philippines you have to get this whole series of shots. And I don’t want to do that! So I turned down being a PA on Apocalypse Now and Jerry goes and they give him a speaking part in the movie! He was Johnny from Malibu! He was a surfer that Robert Duvall does a whole scene with where he says he loves the smell of Napalm in the morning. He said, I want you to go surfing. And that’s Jerry Ross! So he has a role in the movie and he was also asked then to become an apprentice editor. Had I gone to the Philippines I would have got to work with my mentor designer, Dean Tavoularis. So I always felt that it was a lost opportunity.

But at the same time if I had not been moved to Boston for the corporate display director job I would have not met Sandy. They put me up in the South End, and Boston is a great architecture city. I worked in Cambridge, Harvard Square and this Design Research store was an amazing environment to work in, I met incredible people through that. So here I meet my future wife and we end up marrying five years later.

Design Research went bankrupt and they went away so I end up in New York City. My friend Jerry Ross then needed an apartment in the city. I gave him my apartment in New York and I told him to set me up a meeting with Dean Tavoularis. I wanted to move out to the West Coast. He said, Sure, I’ll set you up a meeting with Dean Tavoularis. I heard that they were going to start up the Outsiders. So I move out to Los Angeles. It was a bad timing thing because right when I moved out, Zoetrope Studios releases One From the Heart, also one of my absolute favorite movies, and it didn’t perform and the studio just tanked, it went bankrupt. Here I gave away my apartment in New York City and went out to LA thinking the Outsiders is going to happen and it didn’t and my meeting with Dean Tavoularis didn’t happen either.

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About the Interviewer

Tom Lisowski is a production designer who has designed swamp mazes shot in China, crumbling cliffs in Utah, future arenas in South Central, dilapidated tenements and twisted laboratories under luxurious mansions... William Anthony is a Los Angeles-based commercial and editorial photographer specializing in portraiture, lifestyle and documentary imagery... Guest photographer Nelson Cragg is an award-winning cinematographer who shoots and directs television, feature films, and commercial projects. Contact ArtStars: tom@artstars.us