I fell in love with music videos at a young age, when I was growing up Hype Williams and Michel Gondry took me to places I’d never dreamed of. The work of Director X and Spike Jonze kept me inspired to go somewhere deep into the stars. When I direct a music video I soak in it and treat it like a good battle where I can unleash the things that inspire me the most so that I can get to the places I must go.
Whether it’s a run & gun operation (which I’ve made a career out of) or a controlled environment with likeminded men and women that came to create, separated by departments but united for the cause of making magic on lens. I always think about those mentioned above and thank them and the lucky stars for making the magic that inspired me and led me to this point. These are my adventures. Moments in my life when I’ve said, lets shoot a music video and the stories that made them happen. Whether directing or editing or both, the marriage of frame in motion drives me to an oasis.
david d’omni – you and me
RUN & GUNNED IN MIAMI BEACH, FL
Right around the time I closed up shop in Sarasota to bring it back to the West Coast for round 3, I stopped back home to Miami when I crossed paths with David D’ Omni, one of the most vibrant and energetic artists I’ve ever worked with. Given that we were both in transition, I was flying back to Los Angeles, he was flying back to Cuba, so two days before we were both getting on a plane to the next place, we decided to shoot not one, not two, but three videos. One of my producing brothers, Orlando Olano, whom bless his soul can boogie when it comes down to making it happen. David’s laid back demeanor is something of a contradiction. When brainstorming about possibilities for the first video for his song called “You and Me”, he spoke of his inspiration for the song, we shared ideas on maybe shooting wide and creating landscape as opposed to tight detailed shots, then moving with great leisure while performing.
So I put together a location list, shot list, while we drove to the first location. As a director, you always think of how much better you can make this if you had a little budget, and I love budget because it adds to the arsenal to create with, but on the way over I was shaking on the inside. That lasted until we got there because I saw it in David and it then transpired once I picked up the ol’ Canon 5d mk ii. The moment Orlando hit the play back, that low tone and soft toned David turned into a maniac and his music just manifested itself. People passed by and it was as if they were magnetized by his performance, mind you, no permit, no crew, just David, Orlando, me, and who ever was walking along that trail. Magical. I remember choosing a hill and shooting from a low angle to magnify and compliment the energy he was kicking and I tell you no lie, I had moments of where he was performing and I had to look out of finder to see if he was going to crash into to me. David was rolling, kicking, drilling up and down those mounds.
The first cut I did for this was great but working with Bogdan Ciornei on the GFX was what took this to the next level for me. See it’s always nice to development a concept with a GFX artist prior to shooting, that’s always by way to go but when you don’t because of lack of resources, working with a mind like Bo’s is the perfect combination. Together, we came up with a video that we’re both proud of.
Jayy-v – hustler classification
RUN & GUNNED IN THE BRONX, NY
When I was in New York for round 2 of the NY, while shooting a short film that would later become a music video for Nell Ryder, I filled the last floor of a Bronx building with thick smoke, it wasn’t until we finished shooting, that Jayy-V came up to me and asked me what the hell was going on with all that smoke. He thought the building was on fire, but when I told him that I was shooting a short film, his eyes lit up, he said I need a music video. “Oh yeah? What you got cooking” I said to him and that turned into a session. Where I listened to all of his music, it was raw and fresh and smooth all in one sitting, I said to him “Lets get it in cause I rock that out.”
This meeting would lead to many collaborations but most importantly a bond between the two of us. Likeminded folks click. Jayy-V is a hustler that hustles to feed his creative drive. The man makes beat after beat, track after track, and he surrounds himself around people that are likeminded grinders. We shot a series of performance videos two hours later. Got to it and did it. No budget no problem, we were both on the mission to create, so we did. Then we sat down afterwards and concluded that we should shoot a video for a song he finished the night before with his right hand Jay-Bo, an Atlanta native taking on the big city by way of the Bronx. So after shooting all of these performance videos, Jayy-V, Jay-Bo, and me set out sights on “Hustler Classification”.
Tis was a wild one! One of the first things that held us back was a snow fall that came through, but we improvised it and shot inside first. Jay-Bo came to shoot with a Hurricanes jacket and Beanie, I was hyped! Ready. When the snow stopped falling, we went on the roof, took it from the roof tot he corner and by the time we knew it we had that corner lit. No permits, no budgets, no problem.
nell ryder – override
RUN & GUNNED IN SANTA MONICA, CA
The last time I shot with Nell Ryder, we jumped on a call and she told me about a her song “Override”, she wanted to shoot the video for it before going back to the other side of the pond. So we jumped on an Uber and headed to Santa Monica to shoot an improvised video for her song. That’s the kind of artist Nell Ryder is, when it’s time to create, it’s time to create. She rolls up her sleeves and lets go. So go we did, on the way over, I told her how I wanted to shoot her in constant transition from place to place. So we trek throughout Santa Monica, stopping and shooting wherever we were inspired to shoot. And doing her own playback, once she hit play, it was on. He voice soothing and her eyes driven and focus, from the first take of anything we shot, I knew that something great would come out of it.
dj pebbles – not love you
This one is sort of an interesting story. While I was working at Coyote Post, my EP Rik told me that there was a job on the weekend and it was basically working with the director and clients and producers to string out selects for a cut revision. Again, it was suppose to be a just a button pressing session. I set up the bay, may sure everything is ready, the director comes in, followed by DJ Pebbles Creative Team and Randy Jackson. We spent hours going over dailies, stringing out clips, I’m just pushing buttons. By time I was done pushing button, the creative team asked me if I would want to jump on the cut. By the time I was done that night, I knew the raw footage up and down, so it only made sense. That then turned into a GFX job and a Color job by the great Arnold Ramm, whom I have so much respect for because of his passion for making color such an art form.
david d’omni – guererros de pas
RUN & GUNNED IN HIALEAH, FL
I took such interest in the way that David D’Omni creates background imagery in Cuba. While running me down the process of how much and dedication it takes to makes visuals, I asked if we could use them as a projection in the background and he looked at me to smile the menacing Eureka smile. Orlando took man of the lights and Willy “El Travieso” on the fog machine and technics and then we shot this video. I kept this one minimal with graphics because I wanted David’s art to take focus, his performance alone would’ve made this interesting.
nell ryder – try
RUN & GUNNED IN SHERMAN OAKS, CA
It’s always a great session when I link up with Nell Ryder to shoot a video, this one was born from a brainstorm session. We decided to shoot an acoustic performance series. We must’ve shot fifteen tracks before calling it a day, this one made the cut on the list because it was just magical all around.
Jayy-v – flippin’
RUN & GUNNED IN THE BRONX, NY
Another Jayy-V on the beat exclusive, having had such great success shooting the Hustler Classification video, we took on the next video with Flippin, this time we had PotHead join in on the fun for another classic. What I enjoy most about these videos are the way they all come down together, there’s always a moment when Jayy-V asks, “lets shoot?” and my response is always “lets get it.”
nell ryder – high to high
RUN & GUNNED IN SHERMAN OAKS, CA
High to High was such a great video to shoot, we started to play with a twisted kind of reality. This was actually the fist video I shot with Nell Ryder, we didn’t have a script but we decided to just start creating and by the time we knew it, we had taken it to a whole different level than we anticipated. After shooting this one, I knew that we’d shoot plenty of videos together because of the constant need to continue to create.
nell ryder – tragic love
At first, the tragic love concept was simply a performance video, we wanted to create a heavenly atmosphere with a bit of distortion to drive along the lyrics and we ended up playing with a great deal of abstract mirrored images that worked out great. We were both happy with this one because we had created something interestingly weird and it worked.