Lens Capo

Ron Walker chats about his fascination with film

Walker still had, at the time, the vague idea of working at Honeywell or some other tech firm here in the Valley, but within three years he had founded Ron Walker Productions. The dozen-plus features on which he's worked have largely been obscure indies, several of which, including the legal comedy-drama Whiplash with Ernest Borgnine and Greasewood Flat with Irene Bedard, are still in postproduction limbo.

Working with independent producers invariably involves working on a tight budget, and even with that as a given, it's often hard for Walker to make his clients understand that he can't work for free. "I tell them how much it's gonna cost, and they say, 'But that's expensive!'" he says wearily. "And I say, 'Well, yeah, what do you do for a living?'"

Walker has had more high-profile success with his smaller-scale works -- his half-hour documentary Ted De Grazia: 1977, or another on the making of Ridley Scott's famous Chanel #5 commercial, or segments of the '70s TV shows That's Incredible and You Asked For It, or commercials for the Phoenix Roadrunners, the Arizona Lottery or St. Luke's Hospital. Again, less glamorous credits, perhaps, but the sort on which many of the craftspeople in the film business build their careers and put their kids through school. And Walker, maybe no less than Spielberg or Scorsese, loves and is devoted to his medium. When I ask him if he thinks digital video will ever replace film, he has his response ready:

"Will watercolor ever replace oil paints?"

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