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Meet David Gielan of Human Element in Downtown Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Gielan.

David, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Human Element was founded in 2003 and though the company had always had the opportunity to partner with amazing brands, agencies, and media companies, the first true dynamic shift for our organization happened in 2012 when Matt Marenyi took over the business from its previous owner, bringing new ideas and a new creative direction to the organization. Matt brought the business from solely a commercial production company, focusing only on local and national broadcast television commercials to being a place where any media you can imagine can be brought to life. With that in mind, and with a new found focus to offer more services in house, in 2015 Matt and I decided to take our two companies and merge them in to one. At the time, I had been owning and operating my own music and audio post production company in Downtown Los Angeles, Melody Maker Productions (dba MMP Sound), since 2009 and had been mixing sound for everything Human Element was putting out. From the start we had a wonderful working relationship and I always felt like Matt was the kind of guy I wanted to partner with.

So, in the spring of 2015, as we were wrapping another huge round of Fanduel TV spots, I took Matt and Lauren Goodman, Human Element’s former operations manager, out to Korean BBQ and after a few drinks, I floated the idea of us joining forces. We were both excited by the idea immediately and later that fall, Human Element and MMP closed a deal to bring our two companies together.

Has it been a smooth road?
I think with any small business, it’s never going to be wine and roses all the time. Especially when a company goes through as many growth spurts as we have. I feel like the during the merger, each of our respective companies essentially doubled in size when we joined forces and managing that kind of growth and learning how to go from a single owner to a partnership can be challenging for anyone. Thankfully, we’ve been able to handle anything that has come our way and Matt and I both picked partners who can roll with the punches, have years of experience to draw from and don’t get easily rattled.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Human Element – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Human Element is a full-service production company and creative agency with offices in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Since 2003, we’ve provided services for a range of branded and DR campaigns, both for broadcast and digital platforms as well as top quality post-production for all forms of media. Human Element continues to maintain our commitment to artful execution and an enjoyable experience, from PA to EP, production to post, idea to execution. But that’s not the whole story. I contend that it is almost impossible to quantify the myriad of things we do in to a tasty soundbite so I welcome the opportunity to really get in to it.

At our core, and really because it is what this company has been doing the longest, we’re a commercial production company. We make TV commercials. But with that comes a huge list of al a carte’ services as well. We offer anything and everything, from creative all the way through post. For those who may not know, this for us means that we develop the creative idea in house for the TV commercial or piece of digital content, collaborate with the brand or agency on that idea, draft scripts, produce, direct, shoot, edit, mix, add graphics & VFX, and deliver that piece of content to wherever it’s intended. Some of our greatest hits include working for Adult Swim, Fanduel, Green Chef, ProFlowers, Shari’s Berries, and many others.

On the other side of the house, we have had the exciting opportunity to record and produce countless records for recording artists and offer recording studio rentals to musicians and producers in any one of our seven recording studios downtown. In that division, we have also created custom music compositions and scored a considerable number of short form and feature length films as well as audio post production on independent and studio films. We have had the privilege of seeing our work on IFC, Bravo, Netflix, Animal Planet, OWN, and United Artists.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
When you’re an Angeleno, I feel like it’s really easy to fall in to the trap where your immediate gut reaction is to start complaining about the traffic and the high cost of real estate and praise the weather and the proximity to the beach. To tell you the truth, after moving around as much as I have and living in so many states for either a short or long period of time, I feel like I am able to really see LA for what it is. My insights may not be groundbreaking by any means but after living here for 17 years, I think I finally get it. To me, my sole gripe is with a lack of cafe culture. There are amazing and fantastic people who are either from here or come to this city seeking something bigger, something that they couldn’t find wherever they were and I want to get to know these people.

When I go to NY, SF, or Paris, my primary activity is to sit at a restaurant or coffee shop and talk to people. Spend my time sharing ideas, experiences, discussing entertainment, art, news, you name it. In LA, to me this is sadly not the case. Sure, enjoy a good Sunday brunch with friends once in a while, but cafe culture does not dominate the landscape like it does in so many other places. It can make a person feel disconnected being surrounded by so many others who are always in the midst of heading to the next thing and rob themselves of the time of connecting through conversation. Now, all of this is limited to my own experience and more than likely, others are faring better than I am, but if that is the case, I hope you’ll find me and invite me to go sit for a two-hour coffee, put our phones away, and connect.

When it comes to what I like best about LA? Two words: Mexican Food.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Portraits by Gianni Neiviller Photography
Behind the scenes photos by Phil Shen

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment


    November 9, 2017 at 15:48

    I loved it. David Gielan is the son of one of my best Brazilian friends living abroad. It was great to know more about his whereabouts. Nice job guys!!

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