Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Hammer.
Hi Jeff, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I grew up near Boston, went to film school in NYC, and originally started off trying to write, but realized I needed to direct to make my own projects happen. By the time I finished graduate school, I had fallen in with a group of creatives in a band, and we all traveled to LA together in a cheap RV in 2015 that broke down in Effingham, Illinois. We left it in a Wal-Mart parking lot, packed up our stuff in a U-Haul and never looked back. Once I got to LA, I really found myself, started working at Fox, freelancing and eventually landing at Discovery Channel. Meanwhile, the collective I was a part of started a warehouse space in DTLA near what is now Row DTLA, and we used it to film music videos and host warehouse parties. It was called The Factory LA (I named it after the Hacienda of course).
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road, but I’m grateful for that. Recently, my mother was killed suddenly by a crane truck in the middle of Harvard Square near where I grew up and where she met my father. Needless to say, this has made me question everything in my life and has been an incredibly difficult experience. I’m grateful to have had the support group I’ve built as well as a group called The Dinner Party, which met a few times before the pandemic started. These things have helped me to grow and refocus on what matters in life. I recently got my license (never had one) and a 97 Toyota 4Runner, which I’ve been building out in order to travel the US this summer. I’m not sure exactly what’s next in life, but I’m working on a feature project that I plan to shoot relatively soon, and I’m grateful to have such a strong base in LA after six years.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m a Director and Creative Director, and I’ve worked on Music Videos, Documentaries, Branded Content and Commercials. At Discovery, I’ve been mostly focused on automotive branded content, although I think what defines me is the theory and technique I take to each project. I’m most proud of a pretty singular Music Video I made for the band DAMEHT as well as the Cadillac and Subaru projects I did over the past year. I’m looking forward to moving back towards my narrative roots as I begin the journey to make a feature. Recently I also made a pandemic platformer called “Social Distance Jumper” for mobile, but Apple refused to list it on the app store. That was unfortunate, but the experience was amazing and I’m hoping to make more games over the next few years. I do some freelance productions on the side and am always looking to work with more brands and artists as well. My work can be found at https://projectname.date/.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
I’d say the entertainment industry is really who you know. Unfortunately, there is a lot of nepotism in it, but there are many good people. It just takes time to find them and to connect with them and bring them (and yourself) value. If I was just starting out, I’d probably just join the DGA as a PA and work up from there, to be honest.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://projectname.date/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/afilmbyhammer/
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@hammathyme
Lucas Garzoli Discovery Inc.
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