Storytelling used to be a solo sport for me.
Just me, my camera, my stories, and a whole lotta my face.
That was until I moved to Japan at the beginning of 2020, right before Covid struck.
I remember talking to one of my roommates, from Netherlands, as he was trying to book a flight back home and it keeps getting cancelled and I just go, uh, fuck.
On a glum, April day, a few months into the pandemic, I took my camera outside because Japan, and I just started filming myself sitting there.
On the bus.
Next to the river.
Wherever I could.
And I put together this little short.
And a lot of my roommates saw it — I was living in this massive share house with like 15 other roommates and so I thought about death a lot.
And one of them, in particular, said to me, “There’s something really, really magical here.”
And it was around then that I started to discover that…
A. The most generous thing that somebody can give a burgeoning artist is support. Telling them, “Wow, this really resonated with me. Thank you for crafting this.” And…
B. Storytelling is really a communal thing.
In order for stories to expand, they need people: People to tell them; people to hear, read or see them; and people to share them.
The less you make it about you, and the more you make it about them and the community and either helping other people or entertaining them or whatever, the more likely it is to resonate.
And the funny thing is, from that day forward — I remember feeling incredibly isolated, then — but from that day forward, my roommates and I started to spend a lot more time together.
Playing Smash Brothers; making dinners together; going out on short walks or long adventures, everything.
A because stories are so communal, they often get better the more people you involve.
Think about every massive movie you’ve ever seen — they sometimes have upwards of 1000+ artists working on the set at any given time.
Solo no mas.
Since then, I’ve worked predominantly on productions that are about creating community and building families of creatives — starting with a short series of documentaries that I filmed in Kyoto with friends who I’d made there, a series of short films in Los Angeles and ultimately landing on projects like BITN.
Some of these projects involved crews of upwards of 50+ people.
Here are a few of them:
Between all of these different projects, we’ve helped companies like Kitcaster add $200,000+ in revenue; organizations like JCOH reach over 100,000+ viewers on TikTok; and
But working on these projects has radically shifted my approach towards filmmaking.
I’ve made it a lot less about me — certainly, a lot of my stories are personal — and more about connecting with a wider community and audience and helping others create value and impact in their communities.
And that’s what I’ve been doing more and more as a filmmaker and a storyteller — trying to connect deeply with a greater community.
And I think that’s really the goal of storytelling.
What I’m working on, these days.
Beyond fundraising for projects like BITN (wrapping up Q4 ‘23) and finishing the edit on How to Life (wrapping up Q1 ‘24), I’m starting to get back into working with clients as effectively a storyteller for hire.
I help non-profit clients and entrepreneurs craft video campaigns that serve up the why, how, and what of who they are as an organization, and creating marketing content in the form of short-form videos for platforms like TikTok and Instagram that help them drive eyeballs.