Today we’d like to introduce you to Lenny Coote.
Lenny, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I flirted with the idea of being a videographer for years before actually dedicating myself to the art. My first love was music production and if you asked that big headed 13 years old “where do you see yourself 15 years from now”, he would’ve responded “A couple Grammys, records with the hottest artist (50 cent, Kanye, Missy Elliot.. at the time), and a big house for my mom”; you know, regular stuff. But let’s fast forward five years later to where the birth of my passion for film started to develop.
The year was 2010, I just lost a close friend to street violence in my senior year of high school. Not being as expressive as I was, I didn’t realize how much it affected me at the time. Not to sound like a cliche struggle story but coming to school the next day and finding out somebody passed over the weekend was a normality at the time, but this one impacted me a little different. It caused me to put a hold on working on my music as well as lose interest in other things I thought I loved. He was a talented kid. He had aspirations of becoming a rapper and just taught himself how to play the guitar in a few months. In the same moment, my friends in high school (Bizzy, Jovan, and Jordain) and I would Jokingly remix popular songs at the time from Drake, Lil Wayne, and Soulja Boy. It was some comedy relief during a time of loss and because my friend who loved rapping just passed, it gave me a little extra motivation to experiment. Jovan had this small digital camera that he would use to film music videos of us performing the parodies we made. I was very introverted but there was something about being on camera that brought something out of me. It gave me a safe haven to be and express myself. This was the moment that sparked my interest in film.
A year later, my friend Bizzy had a desire to do comedy sketches for YouTube. He showed me popular YouTubers (Deshawn raw and dormtainment) that inspired him to do so. Filled with excitement, we instantaneously financed rebel T3i’s off amazon and got straight to recording. What drove my passion for film was being able to step out of the matrix and create our own world, our own fantasy, and our own scenario. I then took it upon myself to take a course at Umass Boston for “intro to video” and a couple of theater classes as well to gain “on and off” camera knowledge.
In the fall of 2013, we met up with Moufy (A big New England Rapper in the early 2010s) to produce his album New England Knight. Thrilled with that opportunity combined with the stress of school, I dropped out of college in the spring of 2014. One of my friend’s advice to me at the time was “you’re clearly not happy. Just do what you want for yourself and be happy”. After hearing that, I then took my last reimbursement check and invested in a computer and a camera. Later that spring, I filmed my first video for an artist by the name of Young l3x who eventually became one of my closes friends to this day. Alongside producing and filming with moufy, I got the opportunity to capture footage for mainstream rappers (YG, Mgk, Post Malone and others). As well as built a household name in the City Of Boston as a videographer. There is so much more that happened during this three years period of me filming in Boston but I’m sparing you guys the details for time sake lol.
In 2017, I got to the point where I started to reach a ceiling in Boston. I was receiving prophetic message, dreams, and signs from God that it was time to leave the city and take my talents to Venice beach, or whatever it is that Lebron said. Out of fear, I was hesitant and kept praying “Are you sure this is what I’m supposed to do? Just give me a confirmation that this is it”. It could’ve been written all over the walls of my room and I would’ve still kept asking questions. Eventually, I mustered up the confidence to make the move and on March 15th, 2018 I landed in LA.
These past two years in LA have been phenomenal and if I could go back, I would’ve made the decision sooner. I’ve made a bunch of great networks and had the opportunity to grow even more as a videographer but more importantly as a man. I stepped in rooms and shook hands I couldn’t of imagined.
Film opened many doors for me. It brought me into spaces that the 13 years old in his room could never dreamed of. That sheltered child got the opportunity to build great relationships and capture time capsules in digital form. It paved the way for me to not be confined to my neighborhood but to experience the world not through just my eyes but the eyes of others.
Has it been a smooth road?
There’s no such thing as a smooth road, if there is then it’s been smoothed by many travelers. In my case, we are talking about Boston and it’s filled with a lot of potholes. At the end of the day life happens. Videography gave me the opportunity to embark on a road to self-discovery. If someone told me anxiety and depression was on that road, I would’ve asked to take the scenic route. But despite the struggles and the regrets, I have learned to forgive my self and be gentle. But in the end, I would say it was worth it because it made me who I am today and we only just begun.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Today I pride myself with having that “mamba mentality” when it comes to everything I do. I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist but what I will say is that I always give my best. For many years I was a perfectionist and took it as an attack when people would say “This is amazing” but meanwhile I’m in my head thinking “I wish we could film this scene over”. Over time I’ve learned to balance this out and be gentle with myself. In the same breath, I am stepping into identifying with excellence. Not in terms of being a perfectionist but giving everything my whole and true self, and doing that at the best, I know how no matter the space. This is what sets me apart from everyone. I’m not giving the “bare minimum” but giving you everything I have because of that’s what I know how.
To be more detailed, as a videographer, I have a unique perspective for film. That is the number one thing I get feedback on is how “my eye” is different. I would consider my core style to be colorful and other worldly. Earth can get boring at times, so how about we take a trip somewhere you’ve never been. My friend Angie who has experience in creative directing played the biggest role in opening me up to more of a colorful whimsical style wherein the beginning I had more of a dark/cinematic tone (I loved action films). I eventually merged the two together and Voilà, here I am today.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
LA is the perfect place to be if you are a creative. It is the perfect breeding ground for your art no matter what it is. There are thousands of resources here you can tap into and a bunch a people here who are in a tribe that you’ve probably been searching for. If you are a creative make a plan and come to LA!
- Email: LennyCoote@gmail.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/llenzel
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Llenzel
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbnOsX3LUVvtLs5cKqAh2iw