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Daily Inspiration: Meet Alex Cook

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Cook.

Hi Alex, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve always loved film and photography, but it was something that never seemed like a possible career option growing up. There was always an aching to create and tell stories, but it took me until college to really acknowledge it and make that career choice. Once that happened though, there wasn’t really ever another path or option. After that, I really just started making videos for whoever I could find, trying to put together a reel to pitch around to bands and companies. Once I had a small reel, I just started emailing all of my favorite bands. Eventually, I got ahold of the manager for Son Lux and convinced them to let me make a video for the EP they had just released.

That “Dangerous” video is what I consider my first real project. That led to another video for the track “Slowly” off their Brighter Wounds album. That project led to a few videos for the LA artist Saro and more recently REI AMI. I’m currently working on a few other videos and pitching on projects as they come in while continually writing personal projects in the interim periods. I don’t think there is necessarily one way or path in the industry. I feel like I’m just chasing my heroes in a way, and I feel like I’m just getting started to be honest.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
In the moment things don’t always feel smooth, but when I look back at the projects I’ve made and the work put into it there is a certainly a sense of accomplishment even on the more difficult or stressful projects. I read a quote recently that “making a bad movie is still the hardest thing that you’ll do”, and that certainly struck a chord. It’s amazing that anything ever gets made, and I always appreciate seeing films that dare to try new things. On every project, I conjure up the story or concept and then try to fit it into whatever budget or framework I have to work with. Part of the process is trying to push the project as far as possible artistically and visually without it falling apart – trying to pull out the original vision for the project into reality. That’s both the struggle and the absolute joy of the process. Sometimes that struggle makes the film better too.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m currently directing music videos and short form work, although this year has been a bit of an interesting time for everyone. I’ve found myself writing more and more personal and longer form work this year in response to that. I think any creative is constantly in a process of finding or refining their craft and voice to find a truer way to communicate with the viewer at a more intimate level. I would hope that’s what defines my own work. That’s the high aim. We’re all building on the backs of those people that first inspired us and created the original spark. My hope is that my work connects with the viewer and kindles that same spark; the moments that happens are the ones I’m most proud of.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
In any artistic endeavor, I think you have to take risks, especially film. Both to get the projects you want to shoot and when you’re actually on set filming. Better to “fail” making something that pushes your work forward than to play it safe and stagnate. For me, that means sometimes trying a shot that might not work or being open to adjusting things on set when a better more unknown creative path appears. It’s a balance between preparedness and experimentation. There is also the possibility that something is “perfect” in an aesthetic sense but fails to connect with the viewer. That’s a different kind of risk too. Risk has a negative connotation to it, but I think risk is the cost of trying to make something worthwhile. Honestly, I think we should all take more risks, myself most of all.

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