Director X is an outstanding Canadian artist, director, and content creator -- he is best recognized for his work with Drake, Rihanna, The Weeknd, and more. He recently joined forces with Samsung Canada to announce the #PowerUp campaign. It highlights some of Canada's top up-and-coming talents and challenges these creators to capture impactful content using the new Galaxy Note10+. #PowerUp opens up a behind-the-scenes peek of three up-and-coming directors mentored by Director X as they take on the challenge to create an entire music video using the latest Samsung mobile innovation.
We chatted with Director X about his own creative journey, the #PowerUp campaign with Samsung Canada, how technology empowers creativity, and some notes on how to inspire the creative process.
Can you tell us a little bit about your own creative journey and how you discovered directing?
I was an artist growing up. All my life, I would draw. I thought I was going to do comic books when I was in grade school and junior high. Then in high school, I discovered graphic design, I thought I was going to be a graphic designer. In the later years of high school, I came across film making, music videos and decided that's what I wanted to do and pursued it once I got out of the building.
Can you tell us about how you approached the #PowerUp collaboration with Samsung Canada? What was it about the project that stood out to you?
Samsung approached me about doing something and it evolved into this project where we take up-and-coming artists and up-and-coming directors and pair them up. So we have three on each side. So there's Kat Webber, Justin Abernethy, Justin Singer as the directors. And then our artists are Pluto, Liz Lokre, and Anders. We've put them together to create a video with the Samsung Galaxy Note10+. So to me, what I find interesting is that we're now knowing the new technology currently in play. What are the new things coming, what is it capable of? Because that helps inform and push your creativity. So with the phone, we're now at that point -- it shoots 4K, it shoots slow motion. It has a stabilizer, it has multiple lenses. It's water-resistant for 30 minutes. It has all these amazing features. What can we do with it? So now we're doing it, we're giving it a real test. And this speaks to where we are in the world today with not just technology but the platforms. You can shoot everything on the phone, you can edit it on the phone, and you can then upload it to all the different social media platforms on the phone. All of that is incredible, that it can all happen within the platform. And now, the questions surround drive and creativity and talent. What do you got and how far are you willing to go to get it?
What role does technology play in inspiring your creative process?
The technology has a lot to do with it, especially now that things are digital. I need to know the frame rates that my cameras can reach. I need to know aspect ratios that I can put into it. I need to know ASAs as far as the exposures and speed of film and all these different things that come along with what you're doing that decide what you can do. Can I shoot this scene at sunset without a light? That's completely dependent on the technology in my hand? Do I need to bring in the light? How much light? All this stuff, this is what it means to be a filmmaker. You need to have this knowledge as you plan things out and put things together. And again, the technology that's available now and specifically the Note 10 Plus, gives you an amazing power to shoot really beautiful images and do something with it. This is where we're at. There's a lot of people making stuff, whether if they're pursuing it as a career or just because they feel like it and it's a hobby. Whatever level that you're playing at, you can play.
Are there any specific rituals you have to reset creatively or reconnect with yourself to find new inspiration?
I meditate a lot. I'm always looking at different art. When I was younger, I used to go to magazine shops and go through all the different magazines, buy them, rip out the pages, stick them. Now on Instagram, I have collections specifically for art, so I always just immersed myself in it. Then there's YouTube -- on YouTube, there's a lot of people who study everything. So between news and story structure and filmmaking, my YouTube experience is a lot of that. Watching different videos, breakdowns about stories and movies, essentially, I'm always studying. Lately, a lot of it has been about the story, story structures, scriptwriting, things like that.
What are some tips and tricks you have for the next generation of Canadian creators?
Tips and tricks? Go and shoot, man. That's it. You're now in the day in age where your phone is a legitimately super-powerful camera. And if you want to make stuff, you can make it, you can put it out. You can go face the world. The challenge now is sticking out, standing out from the pack. There are so many people doing it. How do you separate yourself from the rest, which will always be a matter of, again, creativity, drive and then a little bit of luck. Growing up, not only did you have to go do it, you had to go do it, and then someone had to see it and believe in you, and it was a process. You had to get by the gatekeepers first. There are no gatekeepers anymore, just the audience.