I have never felt like a behind-the-scenes video has more accurately captured my direction with women. It's a dance. I don't lose connection with her, I guide her, and most importantly - I listen. It truly is a partnership of trust. This is our dance...
Over the past year I have been developing a really special project - a mentorship for creatives that incorporates lessons on video, storytelling, and the art of direction. In this education experience, I create specific characters for my students to practice filming and directing with intention. By creating a backstory for the subject we are filming, it allows students to tap into something deeper, meaningful, and emotional.
I decided to tap into this pull I've been having towards dance and my culture and develop that character. That Spanish/Latin bullfighting-dancing movement I've been seeking. Not a specific dance form, just the movement. Leading and directing someone who is not a dancer, to embody these characteristics and portray that strong woman.
Quick back story on the song: I have 1.5 year old son, Luca, that we only speak Spanish to. I made a playlist on Spotify with all Spanish songs, including some with a beautiful guitar because he's obsessed with those sounds. One day, I made a radio station out of one of those songs and this one came on - Gypsy Moth - and every bit of my body knew that I HAD to create to this piece. That song commanded my attention. It felt so, so, so me.
I teamed up with Diane Aiello, a stylist to incorporate a very specific look for that character. I made a visual board for our model, and she pulled from her own personal story to bring this character to life. Clothing was going to be very important because this was not about a specific dance - this was about the type of person who embodies that kind of dance form. Given that our model Elle is not a dancer, I knew setting the mood would be that much more important.
The space we filmed in (The Abbey) already set a tone. I arrived early with my assistant Brooke and we walked around so I could test the light. Brooke filmed me while I was practicing the moves that I would direct Elle with. The movement was inspired by dance, but I communicated it as if it was a female bullfighter that was dancing with a bull. Commanding, feminine, and mysterious.
I filmed and directed Elle while Brooke captured me. When I came home with all of the content and sat down to edit, I was originally just going to make the piece on the character. But when I saw myself in this environment, directing something that feels to the core like me - the narrative changed. I had to present the dance that happens between my subject and I by weaving my content of Elle with the behind-the-scenes content of me. I felt incredibly excited to see my spirit captured on video when often times I am capturing the spirit of others. Brooke had been with me for 3 years, and it was very clear how she became an extension of my vision - truly understood me in the clips she captured of me. It was almost ceremonious. That was her last month with me as my studio manager and she gifted me with content that I cannot capture of myself. A nod of what is to come after a beautiful season of what was. And I hope that is what you get to see - a piece of me, a piece of the incredible women I get to work with, and my desire to guide and lead women to create meaningful content.