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Meet Dawn Garcia of ATOD Magazine {A Taste of Dawn}

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Garcia.

Dawn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started out as a makeup and special effects artist in film, television, and theatre. Writing was something I had always done and in high school, was encouraged by English teachers to pursue writing.

Inevitably, I listened, but I took a detour into production (which ended up being invaluable). After a family death, I decided to go back to college, got a job working at a TV Network in marketing and advertising, and on a trip to go to Lucas Ranch for a meeting, my life changed once again.

I met Francis Ford Coppola at his winery–totally serendipitous—who read a piece I had written, and he encouraged me to enter for a place in his writing workshop in Belize. That was what changed my life. I got accepted, and from then on, the road has taken me to so many different places.

I started a Lifestyle & Culture magazine called ATOD Magazine {A Taste of Dawn}, I now write screenplays, I’m almost finished with the pilot for a TV Series I co-created, I am the print Editor for a new CA magazine called SENSI, and I am a very proud single mama of my daughter, Barcelona. She’s my purpose, my moral compass, and my muse.

For me, I have to love what I do. Most days I do. Some days I want a portal to a small island well stocked with Mezcal and shark-free beaches, and some days, the chaos of life is perfect. Writing is my oxygen, plain and simple. It’s my connection to the most honest part of the world … the way I see it, anyway. It allows me to see the beauty in the chaos.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh hell no! It’s been fraught with challenges, failures, humility, grace, doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty. I chose a profession where I willingly allow others to judge every word I say—and write. Literally. But that said, my hope is that through the stories I tell, whether it be journalism or filmmaking, that I don’t forget the responsibility or the passion that started it all.

I’ve written pieces and had some harsh feedback. I’ve been told I wrote beautiful dialogue but didn’t understand the story. I’ve been insulted and belittled because I didn’t like a place everyone thought I should. On the other hand, I’m known for having discerning taste and high expectations, and it’s true.

Most of all, regardless of whether I’m writing a story, film, episode, or sharing my latest adventures in A Taste of Dawn, I want to feel connected to the world and find the common thread among us. So yeah, I want to taste as much love in a $5 street taco that I would in a Michelin starred dinner. I’ve learned that luxury has little to do with money and everything to do with quality.

Quality comes from a deep love to deliver the best version of “you,” and I try to apply that to my work. Sometimes though when that negative feedback comes in, I take a deep breath and try to recognize if the feedback is based on someone’s opinion or they have valid criticism that will inevitably make me a better writer. If it’s the latter, I pivot and adjust and check my ego at the door. There’s no room in the business for ego. It hinders you.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
ATOD Magazine stands for A Taste of Dawn. The magazine was a dare (really), and the name is cheeky so no one would ever forget it. I specialize in lifestyle and culture, which means I write about everything from art to film, spirits, and food, and I’m fortunate to do some truly rare interviews.

It is meant to be about everything that makes life worth living, and there’s no greater example of that than seeing what human beings are capable of (the good stuff, because we need to see the positivity and beauty of one another). I want to know what brings us together and that’s the entire purpose of the magazine. I want to inspire people to experience living, to embrace other cultures, and to explore with total abandon. Doing so with respect and happy curiosity.

As a result of the brand, I’ve expanded into doing consulting for brands, become an influencer for brands like Target, Amazon, Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Shutterstock, and a few more. I’ve also launched a pop-up dinner series called White Lies and Alibis, and have designed a couture apron line that I’m hoping to package soon. Eventually, I’d like to create a line of home décor and furniture, so who knows!

While ATOD Magazine is digital, I’m ready to take it to print (quarterly or twice a year), so that’s the next step. Finding the right investors and partners. I am also a screenwriter and am directing for the first time later this year. I guess what separates me from others is my tenacity and passion. I’m one of those people that can’t help but share my passions.

I’m proud to have built a brand and company that embraces the world and whose sole purpose is to unite us all without judgment. I think we all need more of that …

What were you like growing up?
Busy. I have always been a driven person and even growing up I’d keep myself busy. I was known as “Dawny Sunshiny” because even when I was down, I tried to maintain a sunny disposition. My grandfather always was in my head, “Smile from your soul.” And I took that to heart.

In high school (once I decided to go into makeup), after my mom passed away suddenly, I had to make decisions. I went to school from 8am-12noon, Cosmetology from 1-5pm, and worked at the mall from 6-10pm. I wanted to be independent, win an Oscar, and I remember in eleventh grade, for a creative writing project, we had to create a project of our own. Mine?

A magazine that oddly enough resembles much of what ATOD Magazine is today. It was a magazine about lifestyle and culture, encouraging people to do more in the arts. I wanted to write, do makeup, special effects, and one day direct films.

I still say I plan on winning three Oscars and getting nominated for five. Maybe even a writing award but truth is, I just want to make a difference in this world. I want to do it with grace and hopefully succeed enough to help a whole slew of other creatives.

Pricing:

  • Consulting – packages start at $150 and up
  • Writing Workshops – this is on a scale (below the norm) because I want to get people expressing themselves but a 2-hour Group Workshop is $50pp and a full day would be $250pp (6-8 hours)
  • Individual Writing Workshops – $150 and up
  • Editor/Edits – Packages start at $250 (this can include manuscripts, novels, screenplays, articles, projects, etc.)
  • Design Consulting (Magazines, Layouts, Covers, Websites, etc.) – $150+/hour – 2-hour minimum

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Image Credit:
Tram Tran, Arthur Yang, ATOD Magazine

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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