"In ninth grade, I picked up a cheap camcorder for $200," remembers Daniel W. Jones. "I started shooting everything I did with my friends." Jones' creativity behind the camera grew into more than just a hobby. Now, he has names like Land Rover and Warner Bros. knocking at his door.
Growing up in Clearwater, Jones remembers what was important to him. "Throughout college, I really only cared about surfing, skateboarding and causing mischief," Jones admits. From the "D's" and "F's" on his report cards to his poor attendance records, teachers had dubbed him a bad seed.
Jones remembers one teacher in particular who gave him a failing grade in a class, because he made a rap video for a final exam project. After that, Jones made the decision to chase his dreams. "I dropped out to pursue a career on my own," said Jones.
The first job Jones ever held down was at a pizza joint on Redington Shores. It lasted for a short time until he got fired because he drew "a bunch of profane pictures on another employee's car, with mustard."
"That was a fun job," Jones said.
Over time, Jones molded his just-for-fun passion into a career – an extremely successful one at that. Daniel W. Jones is just 24, but his practice has turned him into a professional.
His first noteworthy gig was for ESPN2 back in 2005. Jones was hired as a camera operator for the TV-series, "Billfishing Extreme Release League." At the time, Jones was not even 18 years old.
In the years since, Jones has beefed up his resume. The impressive list of accomplishments now includes commercials for O'Neill Clothing, the DuPont Registry and Land Rover. He also has worked on the major motion picture, "Dolphin Tale," starring Morgan Freeman and Harry Connick Jr.
Jones remembers when his work was first recognized. "People started noticing me when I started jumping overboard fishing yachts to film blue marlin and other billfish as they fought for their lives," said Jones.
As far as the future goes, Jones had one thing to say: "domination, baby." Jones further explained his plans when he said, "We're trying to make our own name and until we get the gold, we're gonna keep going."