Today we’d like to introduce you to Damien Blue.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Damien. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My grandfather on my dad’s side was a painter, my mother’s mother was a photographer. I don’t always see their direct influence in the kinds of work that I produce today, but I’m certain their existence in my life was and still is an underlying influence that drove me to pursue visual arts.
I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. My experience started with photography at age 15 – with the money I earned from shoveling snow, I purchased a used Nikon D200 and a 50mm. I just took pictures of what I saw – friends, the mall, my fam, etc. Shortly after, I sold that setup and wound up meeting a group of rappers that owned a D300s. They said I could use the camera whenever I wanted as long as I film their music videos; as a kid, I was stoked. Later on, that camera actually got impounded when it was in the rappers’ possession…there may have been some arrests, I’m not sure, but the camera was in fact a stolen camera – so that was the end of that. The upside: this was my first experience with ‘state of the art’ (for that time) HD footage, and I was hooked.
Fast forward several years and a couple of camera setups later (including my beloved iPod nano, the model with a video camera on the back), I was 19, living in Milwaukee, WI, going for a film degree at the university. School helped with connections but I was already freelancing far before receiving my degree – there was no need to wait, and the DIY world was just taking off at this point. I teamed up with my good friend Cody LaPlant to co-direct a number of music videos; producing work with a friend helped with the learning process tenfold. The main gig was music videos and low-pressure commercial work. I graduated with a BFA in 2016 and started my LLC shortly after, operating out of Milwaukee, WI for three more years, then relocating to Los Angeles where I’m based currently. The main gig is still music videos and commercial work with short narrative sprinkled on the side.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There are always challenges. Freelancing can feel a bit seasonal…when it rains, it pours – and sometimes there are droughts. A big challenge that took me a while to get used to is all the pitching. It’s not uncommon to pitch for dozens of projects and land only a few. The competition can be grueling. My main objective now is to continue to introduce myself to producers, agencies, and production companies that I’m inspired by, and seek representation that fits best. And, of course, continue to pitch without losing any steam along the way. Collaboration can pose challenges as well, usually all good challenges that will only make an artist stronger in the long run. The industry is full of artists, but I almost consider us more ‘problem solvers’; we’re constantly troubleshooting day and day out on set, so obstacles and challenges are aspects that you learn to become very good at assessing.
Please tell us about Damien Blue Films.
Damien Blue Films specializes in music videos, though not by design. The aspect I’m proud of with my style is how malleable it can be. I get excited with taking on unique projects that challenge me to re-shape or adapt my style. That said, my style tends to feel intimate, capturing an emotion that ties back to real-life experience. I’m absolutely captivated with subject matter, my eye typically follows a person and his/her experience more often than the environment that surrounds them. I’m moved by stories that are grounded in reality, occasionally with accents of something more imaginative or supernatural. My willingness for imperfection is what I believe sets me apart from others. I have tried to chase perfection in previous works; time and time again, I’ve discovered that my best works are those that are occasionally improvised and rough around the edges.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Compassion and friendliness. At the end of the day, I simply want those who work on set with me to remember having fun and being genuinely cared for. The industry is massive, and yet it is so small; having everyone remember Damien as being charismatic and fun to work with is by far what is most important to me.
- Website: www.damienblue.com
- Phone: 608-577-1846
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @damien.blue
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/damienbluevideo/
BTS photo credit: Christie Suchomel