Picture this for a moment: The sun has just risen over the tree line. Mist from the early morning still lingers in the air as a female cyclist rides through puddles, hills, steep turns, and wet pavement. But, her battle is not simply against the road. She is also at war against an unseen and much more pernicious force: Cancer. She stops for a moment, removes her helmet, and catches her breath. Her hair is finally growing back. In the air is hope and victory, and she rides out into that rising sun.
Can you picture it? It’s a beautiful scene. With its cinematic quality and depth of emotion, one would expect it to be the work of a Hollywood studio or a big New York ad agency. But its provenance is much more local. It’s a commercial from Wavelength Films of Owensboro, and its Director is Owensboro-native Dave Docimo.
Dave, a ’99 graduate of Apollo High School, has been tinkering with one thing or another from an early age. In high school, he actually worked as a vacuum cleaner repairman for Murphy Sewing Machine Company, the family business. But his love was always making videos.
“My friends and I were really involved with music,” he says, recalling the early days. “We would make these short films and music videos, but we would take it really seriously. We would turn them into these big productions. I guess I never really quit doing that.”
The next step for someone with that type of passion is usually film school, but that wasn’t for him. He’ll downplay it, but it’s obvious to those who know him well that Dave is the type of guy who is talented and determined enough to teach himself whatever he needs to know to succeed.
So instead of school, he went to work. A few years at a network marketing company and a few more at an ad agency in Evansville gave him a wealth of experience working with various kinds of media and productions. In 2008, he decided to go into freelance work, and it was during this time that he began to settle into his current role.
“At first, I would literally say yes to anything. If you asked me to do packaging design, I wouldn’t know anything about packaging design, but I would do it and I would make it great.” It could be creating a website, designing graphics, editing a video – if someone needed it done, Dave would do it. More than that, he would perfect it, no matter how long it took.
“Eventually,” he continues, “I decided that I wanted to be the guy who was known for doing one thing really well. When you’re doing everything, you don’t really have time to develop a craft to its full potential.” That “one thing” for Dave was directing.
According to Dave, the role of the director is to establish a vision, and then lead everyone involved so that they bring that vision to life as faithfully as possible. For Dave, it’s about more than just selling something. It’s about telling a compelling story. “I’m fearless”, he admits, “and maybe even a little crazy about the lengths I’m willing to go in order to bring a good story to life.”
That kind of determination has paid off. As higher-profile clients began calling, he hired Matthew Martin to be his producer, and together they formed Wavelength Films. “I couldn’t do what I do without him,” Dave says, referring to Matthew, “that man is indispensable.”
Two major clients, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital and Old National Bank, have both signed on in the last two years. The awards are piling up, too. Dave has garnered multiple Gold Addy and Silver Telly Awards. In 2015, he won “Best in Show” at the American Advertising Awards for his commercial “Real Moments,” and he won the award again this year for “Fight from Within.” Both commercials were for the hospital.
With all of this success, one might wonder why he stays in Owensboro. Why not move to a bigger city with more opportunity? “I get that question a lot,” he says with a laugh. “I have a sign over my door that says, ‘Grow where you are planted.’ This is where I grew up. This area has given me a lot. […] I also think you can do amazing production from anywhere. You just have to have an imagination and be able to turn that into something that’s real.”
Tell a good story. Keep it real. Those are good words to live by, and they have served Dave well as he turns vision into reality, firmly planted in the Bluegrass State.
- 1999: Graduated from Apollo High School
- 1999-2001: Worked at Murphy Sewing Machine Company. Video jobs on the side.
- 2001-2002: Videographer at Sunlite Music
- 2002-2005: Marketing Director at Healing America
- 2005-2008: Post-Production Specialist at Fire and Rain
- 2008-2016: Freelance Director.
- 2016: Formed Wavelength Films
- 1 Emmy Nomination
- 6 Gold Addy Awards
- 8 Silver Addy Awards
- 10 Silver Telly Awards
- 2 Bronze Telly Awards
- 2 “Best in Show” Awards at the American Advertising Awards