Speaker 0 00:00:00 Welcome to words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, Dana Wilson. And I move people. I am all about the tools and techniques that empower tomorrow's leaders to make the work of their dreams and live a full life while doing it. So whether you're new to the game or transitioning to your next echelon of greatness, you're in the right place. Hello? Hello, my friend. Welcome. This is words that move me. I'm Dana and I <laugh>, I'm gonna start over. <laugh> all of my friends. It's it's late. I was ready for bed. I was ready for bed when my wonderful assistant and editor Riley Higgins hit me up and was like, Hey, are you gonna be done with, uh, your ins and outs tonight as scheduled?
Speaker 0 00:01:03 And I removed my bite guard. <laugh> how's that for an intimate detail. Uh, and here I am in the booth because I genuinely am very excited to share this episode with you because it is a special episode. It is a bonus episode. Yes, we have interrupted our regularly scheduled events to celebrate joy and the release of Ben Rector's latest music video, a wonderful world. That music video comes out today. And today I am talking to the video's director, Brian shutters, and I'm excited to let you, uh, have all of that good conversation, fill your ears, but first wins. And I do have so much to celebrate because I'm so exhausted because I've been dancing so much. Uh, today I am celebrating that my body is intact and exhausted, but relatively pain free. After day two of Africa in America and pop city's launch event, we danced, uh, for more hours.
Speaker 0 00:02:14 Uh, for some perspective, I have taken four west African dance classes in my life and day before yesterday, I took four and a half hours in one day. And holy smokes, we danced Afrobeat and cup de with a COSIA and sabar vibes with Imani. I'm linking it to both of their Instagrams in the show notes because like four hours of dancing, but way more than four hours of world class information, teaching enthusiasm care, um, uh, history context, things that made learning a, a very new style to me, very sticky. Um, and I, I, I wanna just shout out in case any of you are in the process of learning a new style. One of the things that a COSIA said that it was a huge takeaway for me, she said, try to resist the urge of learning this style through the lens of another style.
Speaker 0 00:03:21 Like don't relate the steps to a step. You already know, learn the step cuz it's new, especially in this case. It's the source. It's the beginning. Um, when we're talking about west African dance, it is undeniably the roots of, of, of most of America's most beloved influential dances. So get into it and huge. Thank you again. Um, to Karam, if you haven't already, please go back and listen to episode 141 with Karam to learn more about how Africa in America and Bob city together are bringing African diasporic music and dance to you and to the world. Um, and then once you've done that, go sign up for your free Bob city account because I'm telling you right now, you need this movement information in your life. You need it in your soul. My love tank is full and as if that wasn't enough, I got a lock in class in today from zoo Morales. Uh, thank you so much for reminding me about this dance that I love so much. So that's a big bundle of wins for me. Um, can you tell it now? I'm I, I went from tired to wired. Now I am jacked on dance. Uh, okay. That's my win. Now it's your turn. Tell me about what's going well in your world, in your training, in your research, in your learning in your life in general, hit me and say it out loud. This really is important. Think you should say it all.
Speaker 1 00:05:13 Yay.
Speaker 0 00:05:16 All right, my friend, congratulations. Keep winning. All right. Now let's get into this episode into this celebration of joy. Brian shutters is here to talk about the many things that bring him joy. Brian is what I call a slasher. In other words, a multi hyphenate. Brian is a director slash designer slash actor slash dancer slash animator slash puppeteer slash slash slash slash. He's a slasher and he is here to talk about his new video, wonderful world. Uh, but truth be told this conversation goes many, many places and looks into the very nooks and crannies of creative life and leadership. We start to unpack privilege and how we can all improve at communication and lifting each other up. It's a lot. Get ready. This is Brian shutters. Enjoy. All right, Brian shutters. Welcome to the podcast.
Speaker 2 00:06:24 All right. The Dana Wilson. Hey. Hey.
Speaker 0 00:06:28 Hi. Thank you.
Speaker 2 00:06:28 Happy to be here truly.
Speaker 0 00:06:29 Thank you. Thank you. I'm excited about this. Um, so we, we know each other through a mutual friend of ours. Um, joy joy, correct? Yeah. We're both friends of joy, joy, the emotion and joy. The, I, I will say the centerpiece of Ben Rector's latest the joy of music,
Speaker 2 00:06:51 Correct. Ben introduced us both to joy in many ways and uh, indeed Ben introduced us to each other and
Speaker 0 00:06:57 <laugh> yeah, yeah, yeah. So we met on a shoot for a couple music videos. Um, was that in 2021 or was that please help me because time, I
Speaker 2 00:07:06 Believe that was a fall of, uh, 20, 21 or at late summer 2021. Okay. And I actually have a fairly interesting introduction to you that I don't think you know about.
Speaker 0 00:07:17 Oh my goodness, please. Before you introduce yourself, introduce <laugh> our introduction to me
Speaker 2 00:07:23 <laugh> I was, uh, we, we met doing this shoot for Ben rector and I was, um, going to a first dance rehearsal that you were gonna lead, but we hadn't met each other yet. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and it was maybe like two hours beforehand. And Ben texted me a video of you, uh, doing choreography mm-hmm <affirmative> and he was like, oh, this is probably the choreographer we're doing today. You should probably learn it. And I was just like,
Speaker 0 00:07:44 Whoa, my,
Speaker 2 00:07:45 Okay, great. So I, uh, pulled my rental car over into a Jack in the box parking lot. Oh. And in said parking lot, just learned, you know, maybe like four, eight counts that you had taught Ben. Oh. And then taught me. And you might not have known
Speaker 0 00:07:58 That. <laugh> um, so I think like the cool thing about that project specifically, and the reason why you got to meet me on a screen first is because, and this doesn't happen with every artist that I work with, but Ben wanted to log some dance hours with me just on, on a coaching level before we even got into, um, choreography for the video, just wanted to feel comfortable and in his body dancing. So we had done a couple just movement sessions, um, before that. And then he wanted to obviously on the day be confident with the choreography, uh, which was designed to be pedestrian, you know, accessible mm-hmm <affirmative> to not a non dancer and non dancer types period, but we got to rehearse just Ben and I together. And that felt so great before we added any of the other components. So I'm assuming that's what, that's the, it, you
Speaker 2 00:08:55 Saw absolutely. The piece that I saw. And then, uh, uh, you had to introduce that choreographer choreography to joy as well. So mm-hmm
Speaker 0 00:09:04 Joy is a fantastic dancer, especially for having such large feat. Wow.
Speaker 2 00:09:08 I'm sure he's thrilled to hear that
Speaker 0 00:09:09 If you, if you haven't seen joy, whoa, falling, if you are not familiar with joy, from the joy of music, uh, this might not be making a lot of sense to you. So I will be sure to attach some images of joy so that people know, uh, who, what we are talking about. <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:09:27 Absolutely.
Speaker 0 00:09:28 Okay. Now you're not gonna escape this one. This is, uh, uh, tradition on the podcast. All of my guests introduce themselves. So Brian, take it away. Introduce yourself, please.
Speaker 2 00:09:40 I am Brian shutters. I'm the creative director of shutter shop productions. The short bio is that I am a director, designer, storyteller and curator of puns, but my career has afforded me to do many things. I'm a prop maker, a puppeteer, a dancer, and basically anything that the project at hand will call for.
Speaker 0 00:09:59 That is a solid introduction. My friend, um, I have a word for people like you with a lot of, you know, multi hyphenate job titles. I call them slashers like there's like dancers slash choreographer slash coach slash slashers. So, um, love being in the company of other slashers, because I think it is a, it is a, a privilege, a gift and certainly a strength to have many interests. And, uh, it sounds like you live in that world, but I do get some pushback on this cuz there is a strong argument for go deep, be the best at one thing, specialize, specialize, specialize. Um, what, what say you to that line of thought?
Speaker 2 00:10:49 I think there's a really great merit to both schools of thought. I get the appeal of being the expert. It is kind of the, uh, dream of anyone to be like, I'm going to be the best at this one thing. And to feel like you've like reached the top of that mountain, but I have always like, even since, uh, my young childhood valued being a generalist because it allows you to explore any idea that you have, not every, you might have an idea that's outside of your chosen field and by not having a one chosen field, mm-hmm <affirmative> you get to explore a bunch of different things that excite you a lot of different things that move you to purposefully use a phrase mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and I think it served me so well, uh, to be a generalist rather than a specialist, because my main, the, the top of the list of many things is a director.
Speaker 2 00:11:45 And as a director, you have to be able to talk to every different department. You have to be able to speak the language of so many different people, so many different specialists mm-hmm <affirmative> so you're not gonna be able to communicate most effectively, um, and tell the best story if you aren't able to speak their language. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> one of the things that I, uh, hear you talking with a bunch of people on this podcast about is how as a, a movement coach, choreographer, et cetera, you have to be able to talk to props and have to be able to talk to all these different mm-hmm <affirmative> people with specific lenses. Um, and I can very much relate. You have to be able to know how it all fits together.
Speaker 0 00:12:23 Right. Right. And, and like shift, uh, ver vernacular every now and then in order to do that, like speak music to music, people speak normy or pedestrian language to, uh, let's say an actor who's never taken a dance class before. Um, yeah. Having different many different dialects, I think is a strength. And actually in my real human life, one of my greatest regrets, not sticking with learning another language when I was young, I really took to them quickly. Like I, I, I could hang onto new languages really, really fast. I went to Greece with my family. I'm Greek, um, went to Greece when I was 12. And I remember like little short clips I could stick with and listen to like, could hear things and hold onto them. Um, really I felt the sense that I could do this if I, if I tried. Um, sure. And then my attention got hijacked, I think almost entirely by dance, which turned into many, many things. Right. Mime, burlesque teaching. Those are our difference, but I think they all spun off from dance. Um, what would you say your spinoff rock is if mine was dance, what is the, what is the main interest that your others, your other interests have spun off from?
Speaker 2 00:13:45 That is a great question. Um, like the, my gut answer is really head and vague, but it is being a creator of things. My making, uh, what I call yes. Making absolutely. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I, uh, what I call my foundational narrative is that when I was very young, I would get caught taking stuff out of the trash or taking a bunch of garbage and stuff and like bringing it over to my room.
Speaker 0 00:14:11 Familiar.
Speaker 2 00:14:12 Yeah. We've all, we've all been there. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and uh, my parents would say, what are you gonna do with that? And I would always say, I'm gonna make something out of it. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and it almost became a catch phrase. And I was always looking for, um, ability to get my hands on things and create something else out of them. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and the only tools that I had when I was a little kid were paper towel rolls and stuff. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so now I have
Speaker 0 00:14:35 Household type of, you know, exactly.
Speaker 2 00:14:38 Okay. So now I have a lot more tools and a lot more of a playground to figure out ways to create things or make something out of other things.
Speaker 0 00:14:47 Do you have a favorite medium?
Speaker 2 00:14:51 Ooh. That does feel like picking a favorite child.
Speaker 0 00:14:53 <laugh> you've dabbled in a lot. You started with theater, is it, how often are you? Well, the question was, what is your favorite mode of making? Maybe that's a better question to ask versus what's your favorite medium?
Speaker 2 00:15:07 Great. I think my favorite medium or my favorite mode of making has become, uh, video creation because it allows you to curate the, the viewer's experience. So precisely I, I come from a theater background and I love the immediacy of live theater still mm-hmm <affirmative> um, but being able to choose the frame of the, the camera to choose, uh, what the viewer focuses on differently than you can in a larger production, in a larger live experience, uh, has really pulled out something new in me. Mm-hmm
Speaker 0 00:15:44 <affirmative>, that's, that's a great answer. I think, in addition to the immediacy of theater, like you have that feedback loop right away, you know, performer go on stage, see audience, hear audience, know what audience is thinking. Um, there's also something beautiful about the temporary nature of that, that after, after it happens, it's over, it's gone and it lives between the performer and the audience in their memory. Um, I, I think that is a beautiful thing. And I'm starting to do more or starting to focus more on doing live work because in the past I've been like you, I, I love the control of the camera. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, being behind it. Yes. But being, being on it, and I love multiple takes. I love the, the <laugh> the comfort in knowing if it didn't go well, we can do it again. So I think part of it is like the comfort of film I love, but I also love the, and I intimidated in a great way by the I by the, um, impermanence. Is that the right word?
Speaker 2 00:16:53 Sure. It is now at least,
Speaker 0 00:16:54 Uh, uh, no, I think it's permanence by how, what I'm trying to say is I love that it is permanent. I love that I can be sleeping, doing no work and someone else can be watching my work. <laugh> yeah. That might be a very lazy perspective on that whole thing. But I, yeah, I, I, I would have to agree. I think video and, and things made for film or first screens I should say is probably probably my favorite mode making as well.
Speaker 2 00:17:22 So I have been such a preparation nut where I have a vision for something. So I am so planned that I go in seeking to get the exact thing that's in my brain. Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Speaker 0 00:17:35 How how's that work out for you?
Speaker 2 00:17:37 Oh, I mean, it doesn't, it literally never does. Right. Uh,
Speaker 0 00:17:40 But it never, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared for what you want.
Speaker 2 00:17:45 Correct.
Speaker 0 00:17:45 Especially if you know that you're not gonna get exactly that.
Speaker 2 00:17:49 I work, uh, very frequently with, uh, my best friend and director of photography, Stewart, and every project I'm gonna be like, I'm gonna be more present this time. Like, I won't be as specific and needy as I was before. <laugh> and I think I'm getting better. It's
Speaker 0 00:18:05 Hard. Those are opposite sides of, of the same coin present. And on the flip side, specific and needy
Speaker 2 00:18:12 <laugh> I think, at least in my experience, I have wanted a specific vision so much, and when it wasn't happening, I became flustered at very least to put it lightly. Mm-hmm <affirmative> that now, uh, if I come in prepared and know the general story, we're trying to tell, or, or, or the idea that we're going into, it allows myself to be like, okay, well, this thing that I've thought about for a while, isn't working, mm-hmm <affirmative> how do we attack that from a different angle? Mm-hmm
Speaker 0 00:18:43 <affirmative> in the past. How have you known when to let it go? What are the signs that tell you it's time to let go of the idea was married to and try something else. Are there, is there like a rubric, is there a thing that you say like, okay, well, if a and B and C, then I'll let it go and move on. Or like, do you have a way of knowing when to stay committed when to see it through versus when to let it go?
Speaker 2 00:19:06 Sure. I mean, unfortunately, or fortunately I think a lot of the times it is schedule bound where you go in and you're like, I had this idea in my head. Um, and one thing that I think I'm, I enjoy about the way that I attack things is that I am not because I am not a specialist. I am a generalist. I often, like I have this idea and I don't really know how we're gonna do it. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, but we'll go in and we'll try a few different things. Um, and when the experimentation is taking too long and we have to move on, then I go, okay, then we have to figure out something else. Now mm-hmm <affirmative> to get the same goal accomplished. Mm-hmm
Speaker 0 00:19:44 <affirmative> that brings up another good question. We met earlier today and had like a little pre pre-conversation. And you said that you probably have 60,000 bad ideas per day. I'm gonna fight you on that because I have heard, I think or read that a human has 60,000, like thoughts per day. Sure. It's like, surely not all of them are bad <laugh> but my question is not the number of ideas or thoughts a human has per day, or how many of them are good or bad, but how do you decide which ones to pursue? That's part one, you know, me, I'm a, I'm a multi-question asker at one time. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And how do you know when it's time to outsource? Is it always time or is there like, I'm surely like from having dabbled in certain worlds, you know, that there are people better than you in those worlds? Oh yeah. So how do you decide when the idea is a go, like I'm gonna green light on this thing gonna go for it fully. And how do you decide when you're gonna do it yourself? Because you can, because you're a generalist versus hand off.
Speaker 2 00:20:49 Sure. Um, I go on almost daily walks with my friends and we will be walking and I'll be spouting off a bunch of like half joke, half real ideas. Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Speaker 0 00:21:00 And then there'll be, that's one of my favorite ways of where things, how things start is with jokes. Keep going.
Speaker 2 00:21:05 Exactly that. I mean, that's the whole reason that curator of puns is in my like self job description, because it is frequently where my favorite ideas have come from at, from jokes in the first place.
Speaker 0 00:21:16 Right. You make a good pun and then it becomes a good project.
Speaker 2 00:21:19 You go, oh, well, maybe that is a good idea. Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Speaker 0 00:21:22 Okay. Let's put that in the parking lot. We'll come back.
Speaker 2 00:21:24 Yes. Great pin that up. Um, I have, I think we all have notes on our phone where we go and we, we write down things that we don't wanna forget. I've got many, many notes on my phone where I've decided after I say the idea out loud, I'm like, I want to remember this. Even if it's not gonna be something that I pursue. So I'll have go back and check those every once in a while. And if it still feels sticky, I can move forward. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and I think it's kind of the same answer I gave before about how, how to follow things is if it's something that is really exciting me, like if it's something that I can't put down, mm-hmm <affirmative>, if it's something that I feel like I was meant to do, because it is like a flowering web, that's not a real thing, but expanding in my mind by, on its own, then I have to continue to chase that down.
Speaker 0 00:22:17 You know, what's amazing. I love the podcast format because a flowering web is a real thing in the ears of the listener. As soon as you said it, I'm sure people saw a thing that was like this weird spider hybrid flower. And that works. Like I get what you're saying, and this is, I, I, I do so wish like 50% of the time I'm like, damn, I wish people could see the face I'm making right now, or the weight you're using your body to explain this thing. But that was a silent moment that I'm glad people had to figure out on their own <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:22:46 Well, I hope they did. <laugh> yeah.
Speaker 0 00:22:49 Um, what is the deciding factor in you passing that type of work on, is it a skill gap? Are you like literally I do not know how to make a doorframe or like, I literally do not know how to do this thing. So it has to be somewhere else or I can't make it sturdy enough or I can't make it safe or I can't make it fast enough. Are those the type of things that factor in
Speaker 2 00:23:08 Those are the kind of the things that factor in I'd say more often than not? Um, it is how mission critical the job at hand is. So I, uh, just finished a video for Ben rector, where it is all, uh, very puppet based. There is a very specific puppet that had to be made for the project mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I, you know, I made some puppets when I was a kid and I also love learning new things and there's definitely a world in which I would fall down a great YouTube tutorial rabbit hole. And mm-hmm, <affirmative> be in my home office, just making puppets for, I was gonna say days, but more likely weeks, months, years <laugh>. Um, but because that piece of the puzzle was so mission critical of it selling got it. And because it wasn't something that while I might be interested in learning that it wasn't me being the one to make it. I could, I could put that trust in someone else to do it better, to hire a specialist, to make a puppet replica of Ben rector. I <laugh>. And I'm glad I did cuz it turned out like the puppet is
Speaker 0 00:24:13 So good. It's so
Speaker 2 00:24:14 Good. So
Speaker 0 00:24:15 Good. Yeah. The Ben rector puppet is amazing. Um, okay. That's a great answer. Yeah. Being mission critical. That means like we need deeper than a generalist to do that. If the dance, if the music video is a dance music video, hire a choreographer, don't do it yourself or hire professional dancers. Don't do it yourself.
Speaker 2 00:24:33 Correct. And I can communicate what I'm looking for right. To, with them fit the piece better, but you're correct. Get the person that's knows what they're doing for, for something that is going to make or break the whole thing.
Speaker 0 00:24:46 Mm-hmm <affirmative> got it. Um, okay. So talk a little bit about, because I, I, well, sorry to back up, it started with theater and you did some acting and some dancing. Yes. Where did design come in and how did that lead to your relationship with Ben and other artists, other brands and things like that?
Speaker 2 00:25:07 Sure. I, um, have a theater background. Like I said, I went to school for marketing though, Uhhuh <affirmative>. Um, and luckily
Speaker 0 00:25:16 Really recommend that
Speaker 2 00:25:17 <laugh> it? It has gone in my favor. I'll tell you that. <laugh> okay. I went to a school where I could be in the business school, but still auditioned for main stage theater shows mm-hmm <affirmative> um, so that I was trying to flex all those different, uh, uh, muscles at the same time. Um, and then I graduated, started working for an agency because when you are an undergrad in a marketing degree or ad ad degree or whatever, they are telling you that going into a agency life is the thing that you're supposed to do. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and that's the thing that everyone's gonna love. Um, and it took me, uh, a little too long to realize that that was not for me. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, so I started freelancing a little bit in, uh, design and branding and that kind of world was lucky enough to start working full time for, um, a pretzel brand that needed all, all their branding being done. That was super fun, cuz it was super boots on the ground and all of us just doing whatever you needed to get it done. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and uh, the most serendipitous things that one of the pretzel founders, um, is a manager in the music industry and was interested in bringing on a new client, hence Ben rector. Um, and when he started building up some more music stuff, he asked if I could, uh, help out a little bit mm-hmm <affirmative> I was very interested and then the entire world shut down.
Speaker 0 00:26:43 Ah, that COVID thing,
Speaker 2 00:26:44 That COVID thing that, uh, uh, has come up with a time or two in the world mm-hmm <affirmative> um, when artists were trying to put out, when music artists were trying to put out new work in 2020, there was a need for video content or for graphics, et cetera, but no one could get together. So we had to lean on digitally created stuff. So I was happy to figure out ways to solve that problem for people by doing animated pieces by, uh, doing anything that I could from a computer on my lap, on the couch at home. Yep. Um, and I was lucky enough that one of them was for Ben for the song that he put out at the beginning of 20, 20 mm-hmm <affirmative> um, then COVID went on. I was, I was growing a little bit in my capabilities and my, um, business doing work separate from artists physically separate Uhhuh <affirmative>. And when the fall of 2020 came, Ben was trying to put out a song called the Thanksgiving song and he had, we were in lockdown and he had just had newborn twin boys. So he had no time or ability to do things.
Speaker 0 00:27:56 <laugh> what a combo knockout punch, man.
Speaker 2 00:28:01 I can leave if it wasn't a transformative year for the rest of us, it definitely was for him 100%. Um, so I had this idea for a, it was a lyric video, but all of the lyrics were gonna be actually somehow baked into the props of creating a Thanksgiving meal mm-hmm <affirmative> and the, the full video would follow these hands, making the meal mm-hmm <affirmative> and the last shot we would pan out and you would see that it was Ben the whole time mm-hmm <affirmative> um, but with that setup, we needed to Ben for one shot. Exactly. We could get him and let him, you know, be with his twin boys the rest of the time. Oh,
Speaker 0 00:28:36 Did question sidebar? Yeah. Did you do the hand modeling? Were you the chef?
Speaker 2 00:28:42 Uh, they are my hands. Yes.
Speaker 0 00:28:44 Oh my gosh.
Speaker 2 00:28:45 You have been a couple YouTube comments where they're like those forearms don't look like Ben. I'm just like, oh my God, stop, stop you don't. Nope,
Speaker 0 00:28:52 Those are, those
Speaker 2 00:28:53 Are bad. Suspend your disbeliefs please
Speaker 0 00:28:55 Moving magic, moving magic. Okay. Sorry. I digress. We're back. You needed Ben for one shot. He's like, definitely I can do
Speaker 2 00:29:01 That. And he has since been like, yeah, I didn't know what it was gonna be, but I was, I was just gonna find out and it has, um, it's probably the thing that most people talk to me about now they go, oh, you're the guy that did the Thanksgiving video and I go mm. Other things too, but yes, absolutely. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and I think that that was really a fun builder of my relationship with Ben, because we were both in a bind trying to create something fun and we really found some kind of fun niche to fill
Speaker 0 00:29:26 Together. Right. Had some, some success early on in your making relationship that led to other makings, which is so often how it goes. Correct. Um, and then have, have there been any unsuccessful makings I love hearing about fails that shaped us in lessons. Uh, you also mentioned it's either a win or a lesson <laugh> yes. Um, tell me about the lessons, any, any losses slash lessons we should call 'em loss
Speaker 2 00:29:56 Losses.
Speaker 0 00:29:58 L O S S E S not Lawson as in making Lawson, but uh, Lawson anyways, carry on <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:30:05 There are always, yes, everything's either a win or a lesson, a win or a learn. And um, I think that I'm lucky enough that there haven't been any like great creative loss losses mm-hmm <affirmative> um, but I frequently go into a project talking to, uh, my director of photography saying if, if I can get this to 80% of what's in my head, I'll be happy, whatever. And it, sometimes it far exceeds that and sometimes I'm like, this is absolutely what I was trying to do, or this is better then whatever mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and there are plenty of times where, uh, for budget reasons, uh, timing, just the way that it shakes out. I I'll look at the final project and be like, this is, this works. Um, I'm not gonna put out, I'm not gonna, uh, put out something that doesn't work on some level mm-hmm <affirmative>, but I then get to sit there and, and be like, okay, this isn't what I had hoped.
Speaker 2 00:31:00 It would be, um, this isn't my, this isn't my portfolio piece. Mm-hmm <affirmative> what lesson can I learn from this? In terms of even like time budgeting, where, where did, why didn't we, I feel like I had enough time to do what I was looking for. That could be something that I could control better in the future. Mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> um, could I have, rather than doing X, Y, Z piece myself gotten somebody else that was an expert in that field could have pulled it off, pulled it off with me, uh, um, figure out a better way to collaborate with other artists, et cetera, et cetera. Mm-hmm <affirmative> okay. So I think it's hard. It's hard for me to find something that feels like a loss because it does every different project allows me to add a new tool to the tool bag, even if it's not my favorite thing I've ever done.
Speaker 0 00:31:44 Right. Although, or is it also that you're so much in the practice of celebrating a loss or considering losses lessons that you aren't seeing them, or it's also possible Brian, my friend that you have had a charmed making life, you know, like you have people's trust, you have people's attention not to get like the bears bones about it, but you are a white man operating in the world who kind of by de facto has trust some sort of built in credibility and access to certain things. Sure. Would you think, or would you say here actually, here's how I wanna approach this. We spoke earlier today about having heard, like, you know, interviews, Ted talks, reading articles of remarkable people who do remarkable things. They make remarkable stuff, and we're all sitting here underneath them as peons, looking at them and hearing about their stories, which undoubtedly are cherry picked to, you know, suit, whatever the story it is that they want to tell about their life. Mm-hmm <affirmative> if they're a person presenting, as you know, um, someone who had no idea, they were gonna go into a certain field and just happened to be really good at it. Surely there were days where they weren't really good at it and they had to work really hard and struggle, but they're not telling that story. So I guess my question is, um, how would you, if we put a pin in it right now, talk about your story.
Speaker 2 00:33:17 Mm-hmm
Speaker 0 00:33:18 <affirmative> how would your story be different if you were a woman or a person of color or not from where you're from? Um, that is a hefty plate. My friend that is a Thanksgiving dinner. Good luck. <laugh> <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:33:30 I can obviously only speak to my own experience and I can't, I can't necessarily say how it would be different if I was someone else, but right. I know that I want to be able to speak to the hard work that I put in, but I know that I've come from being set up for success. I am, uh, even my foundational narrative of saying, oh, I wanna make something outta. This was, I was saying that two, two, um, well educated, super positive, super helpful. Um, encouraging, wanting to encouraging parent figures. Yeah. Uh, that constantly helped me find ways to do what I wanted to do. Right. And so even from day one, I had two incredible people that I could stand on their shoulders immediately. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and then I, I, I was able to have a, so many educators throughout my, uh, education throughout my career, throughout my life that would see me be excited about something. And then hoist me up to figure out how to do it as well. Yes.
Speaker 0 00:34:38 Support.
Speaker 2 00:34:39 I, I have not even, I mean, even now I am very excited to be doing the things that I'm doing, but I am only able to do them because of the people I collaborate with. It is I have plenty of things that I see as my successes, but every video that I have done recently and that I seek to do, I am partnering with my director of photography, who is an incredible artist of his own. Right. And is able to fill in the million gaps in my own knowledge or, uh, cracks and mouth, my foundation to hold the project up. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, I think that I do a really great job of while standing on those people's shoulders, still reaching for something just beyond me, uh, um, and trying to grow with those wins or learns. Um, but it is absolutely because of the network of people and experiences that have brought me to that table. Mm-hmm,
Speaker 0 00:35:40 <affirmative> my question for you and for myself, I think of it often is how do I simultaneously reach for what is beyond me and lift the people around me. So as a person who works alone often and works like remotely kind of often, how do you do that in your sphere of, of design, of building, of directing? Like, what does that look like in your world?
Speaker 2 00:36:05 Sure. I, um, in the, in the same way that I am only able to do the things that I am because of my community, I get the best outcomes because of pulling in the people that I know are gonna do the best job for the project as well. This is, uh, I've lucked out because my brother is also a designer. He is probably the best designer I've ever seen in my life. I know that I am biased, but like truly his work on his own is fact. It is incredible. So, um, I've had multiple projects where I need a specific, uh, title made for the project. Um, a custom graphic that I either don't have the bandwidth for, or I, I just genuinely know that he is going to do a better job. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so, um, I know that also sounds like nepotism, but I'm so happy to bring him into something. Um, because I know that he is gonna knock it outta the park. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> a, a fun thing that we did recently, um, on this, the puppet video that has already come up in this conversation, uh,
Speaker 0 00:37:11 The, the upcoming or the previous,
Speaker 2 00:37:13 The upcoming, the, uh, there's an upcoming project for Ben mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, where it has a, a great nostalgia feeling. It feels like it comes out of maybe the, the, the eighties, nineties. Um, and we designed these title cards, cuz he's a, an excellent designer and a type designer as well. I had him so
Speaker 0 00:37:34 Cool. That skill.
Speaker 2 00:37:36 Absolutely. Um, he designed these beautiful, uh, title sequence for the project. And when I put it on the test footage, I was like, this is absolutely the right design. Um, but there was something about it that didn't feel like it was connected to the world I was building in the same way. Mm. So I took the, um, incredible design that he did and I blew it up and I hand painted it on glass and then photographed the paintings and brought those in the project. So it still felt like there were a bunch of imperfections and things you couldn't
Speaker 0 00:38:09 More hand made individually.
Speaker 2 00:38:10 Yeah. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so, um, none of that would've been possible. I wouldn't have able to come to that realization. Mm-hmm <affirmative> if he hadn't created something so incredible to in the first place.
Speaker 0 00:38:22 Yeah. I mean, yeah. You're speaking to, to the collaborative nature of our world and our work and it, people say it takes a village and it really, really does. There's no, I mean, I can't say there are none because I do know a lot of people that wear a lot of hats and can be the DP and the talent and the editor of their own film and that I get. Um, but I think the, the juicy, the juicy work, the, uh, Hmm. I think when you do, when, when, when you, or when I I'll say this, when I embark on a solo project, a genuinely solo project, I do it because it speaks to me. I think these are my thoughts. When you want to speak to the masses, you start working at a scale that you have to include the masses you must include, include other people. Absolutely. Sure. Um, so that's kind of an important delineation for me in my work, cuz I do still love to do things that are private and just for me and that I am the director of every angle of it because I love control. Um,
Speaker 2 00:39:38 <laugh> I mean, I, I even, uh, as most of my work is in music now, I'm not even the original author of anything. I am mm-hmm <affirmative> even if I wrote the concept for a music video or put together the treatment, I am servicing someone else's story. I am taking their song and maybe putting it, putting a new spin on it with the visuals or something mm-hmm <affirmative> but moment one is collaboration. Moment. One is taking something that even not only they worked on, but a bunch of people came together to build mm-hmm <affirmative> and I'm bringing more people to that table. <laugh>
Speaker 0 00:40:12 Mm-hmm <affirmative> that's awesome. Um, okay. So the music video comes out. The, the new Ben video comes out on what day?
Speaker 2 00:40:20 Uh, the new band music video it's called wonderful world. It comes out, um, everywhere on September 23rd, Friday, September 23rd. Awesome. Um, it is an incredible new song. Um, it is a song that I first heard. I think I first heard the first cut early 20, 21. So it's been a minute, but it starts
Speaker 0 00:40:41 UN unintended <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:40:43 There you go. It's it has be in a minute mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and the song opens with this like very simple, beautiful guitar lick that immediately reminded me of rainbow connection from the Muppet movie. And because Ben has such a late eighties, early nineties bent, I was like, this is the perfect combination of things. So I came at it being like, okay, I think there needs to be this puppet. And I think he's gonna be sitting on a rock, looking out at the water and playing the guitar and playing this, uh, uh, simple guitar lick to be owed to that time of, uh, uh, filmmaking and aesthetic, et cetera, et cetera. Um, and then was able to build this whole narrative on top of it, the song it's called wonderful world, and it is written to, and about his daughter, Jane mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, essentially saying that he has had many beautiful things in his career. He has reached many Heights, um, but he traded all the way to be there with her.
Speaker 2 00:41:41 So the, uh, slightly heightened metaphor that I took is that we see Jane and Ben, uh, talking together and she asks what makes him really happy. So he wants to tell her this whole story of all the great things that he has done in his life, the great Heights he has reached. So we, we go into a bit of a dream world and there is a puppet version of Ben that is singing all these things about reaching great Heights while climbing this mountain. So making the metaphor literal got it. And he reaches the top of the mountain. He's looking over the big vistas and a little puppet version of Jane comes in and sits down. Um, so even at the greatest height she is present. So then when we go back to real world, he carries her up the stairs, metaphorically that he is able to climb even higher because she is in his life.
Speaker 0 00:42:30 Ah, and this is lovely. This is the stuff Disney and Disney and Pixar are made out of. <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:42:36 Correct.
Speaker 0 00:42:37 Um, uh, okay. Thank you for sharing. I'm excited for everybody to see it. Um, we'll be sure to link in the show notes of this episode 100%. Uh, is there anything else that you're working on you're super excited about or wanna share?
Speaker 2 00:42:50 Uh, not ones that I can talk about, unfortunately,
Speaker 0 00:42:52 <laugh> I understand that struggle.
Speaker 2 00:42:55 Um, I've got a, uh, I'm lucky enough to be working with a lot of artists, um, to tell their stories and, um, I will be sure to update you as, as things are, are allowed to be released.
Speaker 0 00:43:06 Copy that. Um, okay. Sweet. Maybe then let's now head into a, a burnout round. Are you ready for this burn out round, I
Speaker 2 00:43:16 Guess?
Speaker 0 00:43:17 Okay. You can have one song on the desert island playing with you. You're stranded, no ships, no saving sight. What's the song that you keep with you?
Speaker 2 00:43:27 Um, well it's burnout route. So I'm going with gut reactions all night long by Lionel Richie.
Speaker 0 00:43:33 Great choice. Love that choice. You get to portray a fictional character. Who is it?
Speaker 2 00:43:41 Oh, um, fictional character.
Speaker 0 00:43:48 Yes. This is somebody in writing or perhaps they've already been in film, but not a, not a, not a real human character.
Speaker 2 00:43:56 Sure. The, the younger Marvel nerd in me, uh, wants to say Tony stark because he is a maker of things. Even if it is fictional technology that I wouldn't be able to figure out, um, has always has, has was a, a younger version of me that loved that character so much that I would love to have my hands on that story as well. Cool.
Speaker 0 00:44:15 If you got to collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Speaker 2 00:44:19 Uh, can I say Dana Wilson?
Speaker 0 00:44:21 <laugh> but you already have
Speaker 2 00:44:23 Great. Um, I would, I mean, I would collaborate with probably Steven Spielberg because
Speaker 0 00:44:33 Big
Speaker 2 00:44:33 Dog, he is somehow has had all of the great films that I loved as a kid. But then even as I got older, like still valued everything about them. It wasn't just candy that I liked as a kid. It was something that I was able to still glean so much from, as I got into my career, got into my adulthood, saw things with, I liked it from every lens that I viewed it. Got it. How's
Speaker 0 00:44:57 That? Got it. Um, okay. And next one, kind of writing off the Marvel idea. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Speaker 2 00:45:08 Great question. I, um, my favorite like comic characters have always been the ones that don't have powers, um, have been like Ironman and Batman, who are, they have like technologies and things, but they are very human people that don't have are still very vulnerable in their ways and use their intellectual resources or whatever to build whatever story fight, what battle, et cetera.
Speaker 0 00:45:35 Mm-hmm <affirmative> and they are also both rich white men, which I have to bring it back to. Hey, and I do commend this about the Marvel universe, and I learned this from Riley, my assistant and who, who you met, um, that Marvel has taken a very conscious and proactive, deep dive into this fourth phase of their making mm-hmm <affirmative> of including, uh, more women, more people of color. I think it's really fun to watch. And this is from a person who does not know shit about the Marvel universe. Sure. I plead, I plead guilty on that. I think it's magical and whimsical and, and powerful and strong and great. Obviously I think box off is, is agree on that. Um, but I do. I think that's really cool. Um, so that's me becoming a bigger Marvel fan. That's my vow to become a bigger Marvel fan. Um,
Speaker 2 00:46:24 You can join the rest of the world. <laugh>
Speaker 0 00:46:25 Totally right. Uh, okay. Final question. What is the, you you've mentioned this tool bag and having a lot of tools. I've mentioned wishing that I spoke another language, um, or all other languages, which is its own superpower, I think. Um, but what is the tool that you would most like to add to that, to that tool belt for tool bag?
Speaker 2 00:46:44 Oh, give me a second.
Speaker 0 00:46:50 <laugh> I know that's a big one.
Speaker 2 00:46:51 That's a big one. I love
Speaker 0 00:47:00 It's that you're giving this. So you're like, no, this is real. This bag, the tool bag is real. It is well, I'm, I'm curious. So it's, it's as real as my curiosity
Speaker 2 00:47:11 While I am, this is not a, this is, it's not that I don't have this tool. Um, but I feel like my communication skills anyone's communication skills are like the most impactful thing on a set in any, in any job. Um, and I think I am continually getting better at communicating different kinds of people or communicating what's in my head, et cetera, et cetera. So while it is not a, a hard skill, the soft skill of communication is something that I want to keep at least growing in the tool bag.
Speaker 0 00:47:42 I love this answer and I am right there with you, my friend. I mean, I think actually in some ways I was just having a conversation with my seaweed sisters about this. I want to especially be practicing that, um, that skill with the people I'm closest to, it definitely is useful on set or when communicating vision or non-tangible things that you, that you need to explain with words before they're made real. And if there are many people trying to make them real, you wanna explain it well, that's the thing. And then there's this other, there's this piece, there's this almost like there's this moment where you get so close with a person or with a group of people you work together so many times that you, you stop having to explain all of the things mm-hmm <affirmative>, but that doesn't mean that it is not important to communicate <laugh> so I'm, I'm, I'm loving your answer. And I'm also right here right now on the podcast, making my vow to continue practicing that skill as well, especially with the people I work with most often, cuz you know, they say about assuming <laugh> if I assume, you know what I mean, or if I assume that I don't need to say something, man, I am the ass <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:49:00 You and me? Both sister <laugh> it's
Speaker 0 00:49:02 That's that's a good one. That's a, a, a resounding sentimental and important, although maybe not joyful, but it is an important note to end on. Um, I'm a big fan of you, big fan of joy, big fan of your work, big fan of making and tools. Um, so thank you so much for being here and chatting with me today.
Speaker 2 00:49:22 Thank you, Dana. Pleasure to be here.
Speaker 0 00:49:24 Yay. All right. I'll be sharing, sharing the link to the Ben rector video. I cannot wait to see it. I can't wait for everyone to see it. And um, I'll, I'll talk to you soon. Sounds
Speaker 2 00:49:33 Good. Thanks Dana.
Speaker 0 00:49:34 Bye.
Speaker 0 00:49:39 All right, my friend, I hope that you enjoyed hearing all of the wonderful things Brian had to say, and I hope you enjoyed the video for wonderful world will be linking to that in the show notes, go get your eyes full. Uh, and I really love this conversation because asking Brian, the difficult question, you know, would you be where you are and would you be doing the things that you're doing if you were a woman or a person of color? Uh, I, I am so ready to examine my own privilege and I'm excited to dig deeper on that subject for myself. So stay tuned for future episodes there and stay tuned for more interesting work, both from Brian and our dear friend, Ben rector, congrats team, and go out there into the world, keep it exceptionally funky. And you will hear from me soon, BA this podcast was produced by me with the help of many music by max Winnie logo and brand design by Bree res and big thanks to Riley Higgins, our executive assistant and editor also massive, thanks to you.
Speaker 0 00:50:49 The mover, who is no stranger to taking action. So go take action. I will not cannot stop you from downloading episodes or leaving a review and a rating. I will not ban you from my online store for spending your heart earned money on the cool merch and awesome programs that await you. There. I will, 100% not stop you from visiting words that move me.com. If you wanna talk with me, work with me and make moves with the rest of the words that move me community. Oh, and also I will not stop you from visiting the Dana wilson.com. If you're curious about all the things that I do that are not words that move me related. All right, my friend, keep it funky. I'll talk to you.