Birthplace: Springdale, Arkansas
What was the first movie you made?
I seem to remember a video with a puppet named Herman that involved a bunch of bad physical comedy. I made it with my neighbors and I think it was never finished. We enjoyed watching it, though.
When you were a kid, what’s the first movie made you feel like a grownup?
Glory. It was the first R-rated movie I ever saw and I think my parents and my friends’ parents must have decided to collectively let their sons see it, because it feels like all of the boys in my class saw it around the same time. Seeing an R-rated movie felt like a milestone in my young life ( I was 7 when it came out but I imagine I saw it much later ) and it was discussed and recounted at recess in great detail.
What are you unembarrassed to admit you’re good at?
What do you wish you were better at?
Getting things done. I’ve got lots of ideas and half-written scripts that I don’t seem to ever get closer to finishing.
What phone do you use?
Nexus 4. I’ve contemplated buying an iPhone for years but Android is too cheap, the notification system is too good, and I couldn’t type without being able to swipe (something Apple has just opened up to on iOS, albeit not on the native keyboard). I spend a lot of time on reddit.com/r/android and my next phone is likely a Nexus or an LG (removable battery and SD card), but I’ll stick with the Nexus for at least a little while longer. Using a $300 phone for 2+ years feels like making money.
Refurbished late 2013 15” MacBook Pro Retina. This is the 2.3 Ghz model with dual graphics cards and 16 GB of RAM and it does just about everything I want it to right now. It works a little hard editing 2.7k GoPro footage at full resolution but I think I won’t need to upgrade for a year at least. I got rid of my iMac last year to go more portable and switched to portable drives for storage and I haven’t looked back. It’s so nice to be able to do serious work at a coffee shop.
Favorite camera to shoot with?
I have to qualify this by saying “Favorite camera to shoot with that you have?” because otherwise I’d answer an ARRI Alexa or some other camera I’ve never touched. I like shooting with a GoPro actually. It isn’t my favorite camera to shoot with but shooting with it is unlike shooting with any other camera. It can go anywhere reasonably well lit and fits in my front pocket and it’s nice and blocky so it sits on any flat surface and everything more than two feet away is always in focus. My current GoPro is a Hero 3 Black that’s seen some wars. It’s got a big non-functioning stripe on the front lcd.
Every DSLR filmmaker’s life changes when they get a 50mm prime lens. I love the Canon f1.4 50mm I’ve currently got. It’s so easy to get good bokeh and it can shoot good stuff with so little light. I’d love to upgrade to the f1.2 Canon L Series 50mm that Kyle’s got eventually but the f1.4 is a game-changer.
Favorite gadget (non-computer, phone, camera)?
My Kobo Aura. It’s totally changed the way I read. And in my opinion it blows the Paperwhite away. It’s got a fully flush screen on the front, great grippy texture on the back, supports ePUB (and everything else), has a microSD card slot, and native Pocket integration. I bought a Kobo Mini a few years ago for fun because it was $40 and I’ve basically stopped reading paper books.
What everyday object is a masterpiece of design?
Keys. I use mine to tighten the screws on tripod plates about twice as often as I use them to open doors. Also useful for opening packages, jingling to get someone’s attention, and for ruining someone’s car. If configured properly their usefulness can outlive yours.
Favorite phone app?
Now for Reddit. I love other apps on my phone but the Twitter and Reddit apps get the most use for me and I much prefer the experience on this third-party reddit app to Twitter’s native app.
Favorite desktop app?
Final Cut Pro X? This and the Adobe Creative Suite are the only desktop apps I use that don’t have a mobile version. I say Final Cut but I might find Adobe After Effects an even more pleasurable experience. Where Final Cut can sometimes stutter and drag, After Effects rarely feels like it’s chugging, even when it is. If you’re a filmmaker on a budget Final Cut X should be your first editing investment. Hard to say no at $300 and secretly a whole ton of professionals are using it.
What social network do you like the most and why?
Reddit. I like Twitter a lot, too, but Reddit is the perfect combination of strong user engagement and relative anonymity. There’s very little self-promotion on Reddit and there’s a ridiculous amount of constantly-updated quality information. I rarely comment or post on Reddit but I have a number of subreddits I check every day, specifically - r/android, r/movies, and r/nba.
Favorite YouTube channel?
Casey Neistat, no question. My wife and I started watching his vlog every evening when he was on day 40 or so of his current run of daily vlogging, so we’ve been watching his channel every day for 200+ days. He’s been in Cuba the last few days. I can’t imagine growing tired of watching his stuff. I also subscribe to MKBHD, New Rockstars, Chris Stuckmann, The Verge, OKGO, PES, Kirsten Dirksen and Devin Supertramp.
If you could create a commercial for any brand/product what would it be?
Apple. I think they consistently do the best work aesthetically of any brand. It would be a lot of fun to do a series of pieces for them. It also might be frustrating if we weren’t given much creative control at the concept level.
What would be your dream music video project?
I’m going to limit this to artists who are currently doing stuff because we’d all love to make a music video for The Beatles. I’d love to work with OK GO on a video. We may think that Beyonce or Taylor Swift videos are the ones that are going to have historical legs but OK GO have an amazing body of music videos for songs that no one remembers and people will be watching those videos purely for their creative ideas in the years to come.
Where do you most like to travel to?
Anywhere. I love New Orleans, though. And Quebec City and St. Augustine, Florida. And NYC.
What helps you recharge?
Traveling. Well, that and watching movies. Sleep.
What are you most excited about working on in 2016?
Vlogs. I love our creative and commercial work but vlogs are a lot of fun to shoot and edit and they’re immediate. I’ve got a long list of other stuff I want to do, but I want to be vlogging fairly regularly through it all.