So I directed a New Balance Commercial...

Happy 2019 and cheers to all the good things this year has in store for you! 

I’m sure we’ve all had goals or dreams that we had a desire to pursue but had no idea where to start. That is exactly how I felt about directing. For so long it was something I had always wanted to do, even before I picked up my first camera as a photographer. I was obsessed with the music videos of the early 2000’s and admired the work of directors like Hype Williams, Benny Boom and Little X. I saw them work with big budgets and even bigger celebrities and the scope of that seemed daunting. So I put that dream aside and focused on photography — something that I felt was a little more “realistic”. Over the past 9 years as a photographer I have discovered that being “realistic” is not only the cousin of complacency but an attack on your creative spirit as a whole. 

So I finally made the conscious decision to become a director and just like that it happened. It’s crazy how the universe knows when you are ready for something because it will put everything in place. I had been working on a few smaller jobs in LA and kept running into my now DP, Christian. We chopped it up and I mentioned that I wanted to direct and he was completely down to help. A week later my buddy, Kevin, was telling me about his new job with New Balance and that he wanted to send me some shoes. Now I definitely wasn’t going to turn down free shoes but I wanted to turn this into something bigger. A day later I created a deck, pitched it to him and New Balance was totally on board!

The learning curve for this project was insane but not too far off from what I had been doing as a photographer. Pre-production, location scouting, story boards, casting the models, hiring a glam squad, creative direction and choosing a stylist were all things I had luckily done before but I was nervous to do this alone. That’s why I highly recommend a producer and thank God my friend Tay jumped in to help! Tay has produced music videos for literally EVERYBODY and I was humbled that he was on board to help with my little passion project. Of course, Apuje came through with the fashions and rounded out my quickly growing team. 

The last puzzle piece was casting. I wanted the story to be focused on dancers/dancing for 2 reasons: 1.) I LOVE dance even though I have no rhythm and 2.) I wanted to create a lifestyle story that appealed to urban millennials featuring people who looked like them. Just my luck, not only did Apuje and Tay both know dancers but they knew BEYONCE dancers!!! Casting suddenly turned into a breeze!

The day of the shoot was very ambitious but I learned A LOT! Keep in mind that this was paid for out of my own pocket but fueled by my passion to constantly evolve. Everybody on the team brought the same spirit and that is what made the shoot truly magical.

The Lesson: Stop being “realistic” and get creative!

Below are some pics from the shoot. 

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Director: @eltonandersonjr

Producer: @tayhawes

Stylist: @apuje

Styling Assistant: @georgesaintthomas

DP: @chrisadkins2

1st AC: @heymikefrancis

2nd AC: @who_is_juice

MUA: @makeupactivist

Hair/MUA Interns: @michaelvincentacademy

Production Assistant: @b.bacquie

Models

@slickbonebreaker

@deijahview

@iamledon

@winni3ta

@faberobinson