Photo by Diane Cox
Ryan Hanlon is the owner of Route 3 Films. Hanlon’s concept for his company was to help schools, non-profits, restaurants, hotels and businesses with promotional videos and marketing strategies.
Passion for filmmaking began at a young age for Alton native Ryan Hanlon when he visualized a scene and directed his friends while role-playing on the hill in the back yard of his parents’ home on Milton Road.
“It’s amazing looking at that hill now and how small it seems,” Hanlon said. “When we were kids, me and my friend Ben Alfred would be up on that hill that seemed like a mountain playing with toy guns. We didn’t just play, I would act like I was directing a scene. Ben would really get into it; he thought it was fun and played along. That was some of my earliest memories of acting or directing.”
After graduating from Marquette Catholic High School in 1995, he received his degree in video production from Webster University in 1999. Hanlon quickly understood his dreams took him beyond the current technology.
“The Internet was just becoming more accessible,” Hanlon said. “DSLR cameras didn’t exist yet. I reflect on that now and how crazy I was to take that direction or that my parents let me. There were no jobs in that field at that time. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. Out of the blue, my brother Pat asked me to go with him to Ireland for eight days.”
During their time in Ireland, Hanlon’s brother encouraged him to take 90 days to experience life before entering the grind of the working world with the pressure to repay student loans. That conversation prompted his return to Ireland with childhood friend Ben Alfred for an additional six months.
“At the time his advice didn’t seem so profound,” Hanlon said. “When I look back on that now, what incredible, big-brother advice to give. I began asking myself how am I supposed to become a filmmaker or an actor. I decided to give it six months. I’d take my head shots and demo reel and maybe I’ll be the young American in Dublin that gets that one acting gig. I thought perhaps I’ll work for a production company over there and that would be a great conversation starter when I return to the states. I had to find something that was different and unique to make myself marketable.”
After returning home , Hanlon found audio-visual work in St. Louis in the hotel business, but still had the urge to act and direct film. Having the opportunity to transfer through his company, Hanlon made the move to San Diego while attempting a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend, Laura. She eventually joined him out west, but the two returned to marry in Dogtown with an Irish wedding that included bagpipes and Irish dancers. After the birth of their son Connor, they decided to return to the Midwest to raise their family.
Hanlon worked his way through the hotel business, landing at the Four Seasons in St. Louis when his daughter Audrey arrived. After talking with his friend Michael Gebben about the Ozark Trail Association, the pair decided to do a promotional video to help the organization. Thrilled with their first attempt as partners, the two ultimately joined forces under Gebben’s company, GebbTV.
After three years of working with Gebben, Hanlon felt the urge to break away to take his own leap of faith and go into business for himself and a brand that is all his own. Route 3 Films was born. Hanlon’s initial concept for his company was to help schools, non-profits, restaurants, hotels and businesses with promotional videos and marketing strategies.
“I came up with the concept of Route 3 because that is the road that leads from my parents’ home in Alton where I grew up to where I live now,” he said. “I’ve always loved the old classic shop trucks, old railroad signs that had reflective dots and highway signs and that’s how we came up with the Route 3 logo. Old Illinois Route 3, to me, is about going home.”
Throughout Hanlon’s career, he’s had the words genuine, real, unscripted and authentic surround his style of work. His methods in film production are designed to find the soul of the project and grasp life. Through taking the time to get to know his clients before the first interview begins, Hanlon is able to capture the true essence of his subject and share it with the world.
For information on Ryan Hanlon and Route 3 Films, visit www.route3films.com or Route 3 Films on Facebook.