On And On

Got to speak with The poolhouse recently about the production side of The Old Town Road video as well as the Uber commercial I contributed to. The poolhouse (www.the-poolhouse.com)is a global community of producers share resources for one another in the ever evolving commercial and music video industry. If you missed it. Here it gizzz. And once again thank you to the The poolhouse team for putting this together.

100

Feel's like we've been holed up for at least 100 days right? Shit is wild. One thing thats been keeping me sane is revisiting some of the creative hobbies I had before I got too busy for them, drawing, photography, music, etc. When I used to drive around my neighborhood I would always see the streets through a different lens. I would be drawn to a person's wardrobe against a certain backdrop that would create a unique color palette. So I started just snapping pics out of the window as discreetly as possible, hence the flat axis that these photos share that I've come to love. They should call me "Wes-tern Anderson". (That's a Wes Anderson joke if you didn't know. Google that name.)

Next thing you know I've got a bunch of images that feel more like a highly thought out art photography rather than a shot of "some hood shit". So back then I started a project called on instagram called #100daysofsouthcentral where I would try to collect at least 100 images of my surrounding neighborhood and reframe the perspective to force people to see the "hood" in a different light. I think I stopped somewhere around 30 and if you search that hashtag on the gram you can see them all.

I told myself I was going to finish the project and make a coffee table book but you know just like most ideas, that got put on hold. Fast forward to 2020 and we in a pandemic. Lol. So I ain't got nothing but time, and taking aimless drives around the city is therapeutic for me. While on a drive yesterday I saw one moments that I couldn't resist, so I instinctively pulled out the good ole iPhone and snapped away. Here are some of the images.

Going to try to make this a more consistent thing till I reach 100 and put together that book!

I Promise

I'ma write some shits. Just gathering thoughts.

DJ NAF DAY

An international Holiday for foos that get it!

Produce

If you're have time join me and my dog Suzanne Hargrove one of the best commercial producers in the entire world (also Executive Producer at Prettybird) for a fireside chat via the Zoom app for The poolhouse Let's Get Remote! sessions. We'll be talking about the production side of commercials. Details on how to get in are on the flyer. Hope to see y'all there.

I'm Confused

The creative energy that I've been feeling during this time is similar to when things were normal, but for some reason it feels way more intense. The waves of being motivated and uninspired now feel like tidal waves. It's like the bigger and better the idea the more pressure it is to execute, because now without a doubt EVERYONE is watching. The weird part it is I only feel that way about my close and personal projects. I'm so used to working on projects for other people and other entities that it takes a bit of the pressure so I can pontificate on those all ideas all day, but all these close personal projects I've had in the back of my head are just chilling somewhere not doing shit. Is it because I'm on the gram more these days and I see more people doing their ideas out loud that I feel the need to compete or one up them? Is it because I'm always trying to find an excuse to prolong something? This time it's "I'll just wait til all this is over". Well look whatever it is, it's not my job to figure out, my job is just to sit and put myself in a position to be inspired and then react. Overthinking is the theft of joy. Just do some shit, fuck it.

IG Live '95

I recently hopped on Instagram Live with my compadre Billy Pena. Billy is a great cinematographer that I collaborated with for the Google and Turbo Tax Super Bowl commercials as well as the recent Justin Timberlake video and also one of my favorite people in the world. We chopped it up for an hour about all things film with a focus on cinematography. and a bunch of random shit. This talk was presented by Iconic one of top stables of cinematographers in the world. Enjoy!

Loosies: 004

Loosies: 003

Push Up Challenge

Wow. So Uber and Wieden & Kennedy reached out to a bunch of filmmakers to document their lives during this pandemic quarantine. So we submitted a few clips of life at home that would eventually end up in this special collaborative commercial. Life is strange right now, but the fact that my four month old soon booked his first commercial at this time is beyond a blessing to me. Unexaplainable. I'm speechless.

These days will forever be etched in our adult memories but this commercial will help future Maze (my son) look back at such a defining moment in the world and feel what we felt. The silver lining in all of this, is that I get to spend time with my wife and son at such a precious time in his life. Otherwise I would've been on set working extremely bizarre hours and wouldn't have the time I have with them now. Even in all this mess, we blessed.

Full Circle

If someone would've told me 10 years ago that I would be directing a music video for Anderson .Paak and Justin Timberlake I wouldn't have believed it. I don't think AP would've believed it either. Ten years ago I met Anderson for the first time, he was going by Breezy Lovejoy, he had dreads and he was performing in front of like 40 people in a small whole in the wall spot in Leimert Park. At the time I was going around filming all these performers for my blogs and when I seen him playing the drums and rapping at the same time I was in awe.

I got his number and we connected and shot a video for a song and I got paid $200 which at the time was a gold mine. Sidebar: we never finished the video so technically I owe AP $200. We went on to excel in our lanes and meet back up for the "Come Down" and "Bubblin'" video. Fast forward to today we're releasing a music video with Justin Timberlake for The Trolls soundtrack. WTF?!

Check out the brand new music video. Anderson .Paak x Justin Timberlake - Don't Slack starring Anna Kendrick, directed by CALMATIC. Appreciarte everyone involved with making this all come together in a short amount of time. And weirdly this video is prophetic for whats happening in the world now. Working w/ Anna was pretty special too, a true rider and a flawless actor. The real MVP. Working closely with Dreamworks on the VFX side was amazing as well. This one is special in the fact that it put in perspective how far me and AP have come. Full circle moment indeed.

Loosies: 02

Window Shoppers

Me and my wife have a thang. I'm not sure when it started but we love to just drive around and look at nice houses. Sort of like window shopping for a time when the wealth gap and income inequality would finally allow us to buy a dream house in the neighborhood of our choice (shade). Preferably somewhere near where we are now, the Inglewood/Ladera/Windsor Hills triangle. Anytime we see an open house, we hop out and walk in as if we're interested, but to be real we're just being nosey and at the same time manifesting our future.

One of the millions of reasons I married my wife is because we have similar tastes and ideas of how we want our living space to be, which could be a deal breaker if it wasn't in line. We often share images we find on instagram of interiors and video home tours that we love. Talking about houses (and talking about how ugly a lot of people's houses are) is one of our favorite things to do.

We've always loved mid century design even before Target and the rest of the world hopped on the train. One of our earlier dates was spending a day at the Eames House in Malibu. But recently our love for mid century reached a new level when we discovered Eichler Homes. While browsing one of the dopest instagrams @hoodmidcentruymodern (a thread that posts pics of all the overlooked mid century design and architecture in the hoods of America) my wife discovered a post about the Eichler homes and we've been hooked since.

And the icing on the cake is that Joseph Eichler was a really good human being.

Eichlers are a mid century lovers dream. Very minimal yet detailed architecure, ceiling to floor windows with tons of natural light and unique built in fixtures. The main attraction in these homes is the literal breath of fresh air atriums in the center of the house. Which is like an out door space in the center of the house, which could be covered or uncovered. Do you're Googles and peep the the many ways that Eichler owners design their space. The possibilities are endless. And the icing on the cake is that Joseph Eichler was a really good human being.

From Wiki: Between 1949 and 1966, Joseph Eichler's company, Eichler Homes, built over 11,000 homes in nine communities in Northern California and homes in three communities in Southern California . Later, other firms worked with Eichler's company to build similar houses. Together, they all came to be known as Eichlers. During this period, Eichler became one of the nation's most influential builders of modern homes.

Joseph Eichler is considered by some to be a social visionary and commissioned designs primarily for middle-class Americans. One of his stated aims was to construct inclusive and diverse planned communities, ideally featuring integrated parks and community centers.. Eichler established a non-discrimination policy and offered homes for sale to anyone of any religion or race. In 1958, he resigned from the National Association of home builders when they refused to support a non-discrimination policy.

Tracks of Eichlers are all over California, mainly up north but the other day we took a quarantine in-car field trip to a track in Granada Hills. Lord willing one day we can move into one of these or at least visit one. Taking window shopping to next level. Lol. We got a thang for Eichlers!

Here's a video that was recently released with and in-depth look at an Eichler in Orange County.

REAL QUICK

Here's a trailer for a series I had a part in directing on the all new Quibi platform titled "&MUSIC". A show that showcases the creatives and unsung artists behind-the-scenes of alot of your favorite artists. I directed the episode that featured Mixed by Ali and YG. Had a great time filming this and was able to approach docustyle in an interesting way. The series begins April 6th on that all new Quibi app.

WORLDS ALL PAUSE

My wife is low-key a genius or a psychic, I’m still trying to figure out which one. Ever since we’ve been together she’s been very outspoken and adamant about two things. One, “how trash this country is and how it’s headed towards disaster” and two, “how we all need to stock up and prepare for the inevitable doomsday”. The second thing is mainly because of the first thing, but both very valid points. She has definitely changed the way I look at this country and them being able to have our backs and set us all up for success and every time we hit a Target we try to buy a gallon of drinking water to stock pile in the garage for when the “big one” hits. As weird and unpredictable as this world is, I didn’t think that in a million years that my wife’s ideas about where things were headed would be on our front steps, especially this soon. 

Shit was all good just a week ago and then suddenly things all paused. It seemed like there was a constant flow of new ideas being put out into the world. It’s like we were at this peak of citizens, especially citizens of color, understanding the importance of self-employment and entrepreneurship and actually going for it and then boom. It all stops. Everything shut down. I had just moved into my new production offices at Warner Bros and before I could even settle in, we get shut down until further notice. Been meeting with some folks about starting a creative agency and we’re targeting our first project date and boom, shut down til further notice. I don’t even want to talk about the Lakers. I seen someone tweet “I went from hoping that they finish this season to hoping that they play next season”. Yikes. Everyone is being effected by this and somehow someway thats the best part about this, there’s something bittersweet about it. The fact that almost everyone is on pause. The fact that everyone is realizing the realities of the government. The fact that everyone has something to look forward to. The fact that almost everyone is scared. 

Can’t lie I’m scared as hell. Not sure if it’s the news or twitter feeds or the fact that we don’t have smart enough leadership to protect us. Scared of the uncertainty but at the same time scared of loosing the way we lived as we knew it. Being at home with my fam we try to normalize the situation by going for walks and getting exercise, but niggas don’t know how to social distance. It’s crazy, the other day a dude try to hand me his business card and another dude completely crossed the street to try and pet my dig, both boomers I might add, super weird, thats a whole other blog posts. I guess I’m scared of people and how they’re acting in these crucial times. Some overreacting and some not reacting at all. Who’s wrong and who’s right? With all the misinformation we have no idea. 

Photo: Me in March 2019 in Japan. Fashion.

Besides going for walks or quick grocery runs. I’m blessed to be in a position where I don’t have to go out and work everyday but until further notice, I’m at the crib. A position that sounds lovely during this time but it’s a whole different energy when you don’t have a choice. Damn near feel like punishment. If someone would of asked me what I would do if I had to stay at home for a month I would probably come up with some perfect daily routine that involves personal growth, exercise routines, working on passion projects etc. But it’s hard. With all this free time I’m forced to face the reality of what I’m actually into. Since the top of the quarantine, my to do list  is looking something like this: start making beats again, finish scripts, finalize designs for my clothing line, make a quarantine playlists, make art, write a children’s book, read more, write poetry, watch a movie a day. So far I’ve made zero beats, read zero pages (excluding scary corona articles) and wrote one line of poetry (I”m lyin). I ain’t did shit but play video games and sit on slew of virtual Skype meetings.

And definitely starting to reach the point where I’m no longer placing these strict deadlines and “quarantine expectations” on my self.

It’s tough though I’m realizing that the best things in life aren’t forced at all. And definitely starting to reach the point where I’m no longer placing these strict deadlines and “quarantine expectations” on my self.  I’ve experienced time after time that the best things usually come after living in what I like to call  “the unknown zone”. The unknown zone is that stretch of time when you don’t know whats next. When you’ve done it all and have nothing major to look forward to. During those times I’ve come to find that the reason that zone is uncomfortable is because usually you're sitting on your thumbs waiting for the next thing to magically appear and it usually never does. I’ve learned thats that the time where you have to make things happens yourself. Continuing to follow your curiosities regardless of the circumstances will light the path out of the unknown. (That was fake deep.)

Photo: Me in March 2020 in L.A. Necessity?

The silver lining to this whole ordeal are all the reminders of what’s essential in life. The world needed a time out. The world needed to sit down and analyze the more simple more meaningful things. Sitchoassdown and reconnect with things we were distracted away from. Spending valuable time with family, listening to music, checking in on elders, connecting with friends and just talking even if it is via FaceTime and just flat out being still. Being able to be in my living room and dance to D-Nice’s live DJ stream with my wife and infant son is a priceless experience. With all that being said I just hope that once this is all said and done these golden moments and character building experiences can continue within so that we don’t have to rely on superficial external things that can vanish in the blink of an eye. 

Luckily quarantine life is great so far, mainly because we were prepared for this thanks to my wife’s genius. But I cant finish without mentioning a quick story. When we were in Japan for our honey moon I thought it was so cool that the locals were wearing masks (weird I know). I was like I’m going to take some of these masks back to L.A. and rock them whenever I’m sick (super weird, I know) they had some cool masks in dope colors including black. Since it wasn’t the flu season there I couldn’t find any in the stores. I happened to randomly find one pack on the way to the airport back home so as soon as I landed I went on Amazon and bought another 10 pack of black masks. When the pack came I realized instead of buying a pack of ten, it was 10 packs of 20. So now I got like 200 masks (don’t ask). I guess I’m the psychic one after all or the one that doesn't pay attention to details. Stay safe. 

SHOTS MAGAZINE

Interview with Shots Magazine, a magazine dedicated to the creative world within the advertising industry. Appreciate the opportunity to tell a piece of my story on such a dedicated platform. Click HERE to read!

GOALS

Went to Hollywood Blvd. to visit the headquarters of one my favorite brands. The almighty Fucking Awesome! Aesthetically and spiritually this brand just hits the spot. Very influential. I aspire to create an atmosphere comparable to this one day soon. Shout out to Jason Dill, he gets it. And shout out to all the homies holding it down.

Diamonds In The Rough

Linked up with some legends that have a passion for L.A. history is as deep as mines. Diz Gibran and Terrace Martin. Planning for a really important future project. Photos by @Slaucienega!

Currents

Not a heavy reader, probably only like two or three a year, but I've been upping the ante. In rotation now we got This is not a T-Shirt by Bobby Hundreds which details his journey in streetwear as well as Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport which is sure fire read to get you niggas off the phone in order to allow more presence in life. Which we all need. Also Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama which is basically a work book of prompts that ask the right questions to help you write your own story. Hopefully I knock these out soon and move on to some others on the list.

FYI

When I started this blog up again, I thought I was going to start it off with some super in depth posts about how crazy last year was for me. Marriage, awards, family additions, etc. Thats what I wanted the purpose of this blog to be. A place where I can tell more in depth stories for aspiring creatives to follow and get a glimpse into my journey in order to help them get to where they want to get. But at this point it's really hard for me to dig in the past and recapture my feelings and thoughts on those projects. So for now, I'm going to focus on the things that are happening in real time. But just so you can see it all in one place, here are some of the flag ship projects that I directed in 2019. Enjoy, and if there are enough questions and I have enough time, I'll make more thorough post about some of these projects and projects of the past.

First Day of School

Moved into my directors office at Warner Bros. today. Life is crazy. Stay tuned.

Bowl Cuts

One of my favorite things to do in L.A. is hit up the Rose Bowl flea market every second Sunday of the month. I've been going here for years. Crazy that I used to come here back in the days with my dad, but we only stayed on the side with all the newer stuff around the acual stadium or the then boring vintage furniture side. It wouldn't be til years later that I ventured off to the other lots and discovered the vintage clothing side, even though I wasn't into that much back then I bet you there were so many untouched gems over there. It's still crazy to me because when I started going by myself around 2008 it was still low-key. There were about one maybe two t-shirt booths with rap tees and all the cool stuff that sales big these days. But now, every other booth is a young collector trying to make fortune off of tee's. It's crazy. I ain't mad at it, but I ain't glad it.

Nonetheless the flea is always a relaxing time, especially people watching and discussing ideas for home decoration with my wife and son while soaking in the sun rays. As if that isn't a sign I'm getting older and my priorities have changed, I'm spending more time on the boring furniture side me and my pops used to cruise long ago. Hopefully by the time my son of his age, he can run off and discover the vintage clothing side and dig for rare vintage Migos and Lil' Uzi merch. ***VOMITS*** The last pick is what I ended up going home with.

Loosies: 01

Cameos

Saturday’s are strictly for the fam... we’ll everyday is but especially weekends. Saturday we hit up one of my favorite breakfast spots in L.A. a dope little place called “Go Get Em’ Tiger”. Special guest appearances by the Mrs. and the prince. All is well.

I’m That Guy Now

The guy that is working on an art/ apparel project and pins up sample images on my office walls. I like being this guy. Soon cometh.

Scented

I stumbled upon this candle at this book store near my office and I’m obsessed. Mainly because most candles targeted towards men all smell the same. A weak cedar/ smoke fragrance that takes three hours of constant burning to actually smell it in a room. As you can tell I’ve had a hard time finding the right combo of fragrances and being satisfied with their output power.

... I don’t even know what “Climbing Tuscan” means...

Introducing Flamingo Estate’s “Climbing Tuscan Rosemary” candle. To be honest I don’t even know what “Climbing Tuscan” means but this candle just hits the spot. It’s definitely acquired smell. It’s a very unique and strong pine scent that instantly satisfies my nostrils. This is not an ad, just super hyped about these thangs. If you’re ever in Highland Park, go peep the Owl Bureau to cop and bless your nose hairs. If they’re low on stock Flamingo Estate has them online. 

Him

Man, extremely happy and humbled to be recognized by the A-List & Creativity Awards by Ad Age. To be honest I don't much about these industry awards, but they tell me this award is based on the Hard to believe I'm nominated for Director of the Year along side some amazing creators, as we all as a hero of mine Spike Jonze!

Throwin Stones

Spent the morning with Bless making a few rounds to some neighbors spot. Peanut Butter and Jason from Stones Throw Records showed us around their studio. Lot's of hip hop history wit those guys. Stay tuned for more.

After that we linked for lunch with DJ Naf. Forgot what we were talking about but we ended up researching the prices for news paper ads. Kid you not the next day Kendrick and Dave Free do this.

And I’m Black

Like I never left. Trying this blog shit again in the twenty twen twen. What up? Y’all good? We good? Aight, Fasho!

Thanks For Visiting!