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Meet Ren D’Anelli

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ren D’Anelli.

Ren, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As a very young child, I would watch sci-fi and fantasy films in awe, finding myself especially drawn to understanding the work behind the scenes and how they could make something so amazing come to life. I have a very distinct memory of watching Steven Spielberg explain his process and thinking “I’m going to do that.” Since then, I’ve always had a deep interest in filmmaking as a whole with emphasis on directing as my career choice, choosing a range of directors as my idols and learning about how they came up in their careers. Skip ahead to college, where I took film studies and production courses, I gained the confidence to enter the yearly film festival thanks to encouragement from my professors and peers. With the success in school giving me a boost, I moved on and started working freelance and carving my own path to my goals. I started my own business, picked up some side projects, and began to really throw my energy into creative work. Last year I made my first passion project “Womanhood” in under 30 days with a small but dedicated crew, my first short film outside of college, and currently have it in some local film festivals. Since then, I’ve been focusing on creating music videos for local Long Beach musicians, growing my photography portfolio, and finding ways to support myself with my art.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Let’s be completely honest, most (if not all) artists deal with imposter syndrome on some level. That pesky self-doubt that creeps in and tells you you’re not enough, heckling you for the risky choice to share your raw self with the world. This struggle can be heavy, crippling even when you let it overtake you. It’s something that I regularly fight off, reminding myself of the positives and debunking the negative thoughts with logic; easier said than done. Apart from this, I have been on that standard journey of a self-supporting artist who has to balance life’s responsibilities with my need for creative expression. I don’t like the term “starving artist” because there’s always a way to make something work, but it’s usually challenging and takes a lot of focus, and I’m always up for a challenge. A smooth road would be far too boring for me!

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I work as a freelance “maker” under my title of Ren D’Anelli Films, doing everything from photoshoots to directing and producing videos. I’ve been doing a lot of work with local Long Beach musicians, truly my favorite scene to work in, and hoping to grow my portfolio in 2020 to show more of my directing style. My goal with my business is to continue having a consistent flow of clients, producing quality content with a small team and supporting my creative community, then being able to fund my own short films. Along with my business I work in some other groups, including co-hosting the podcast New Fire (season 3 coming soon) and producing comedy videos with Brew Haha (launching early next year). I love to keep busy and fill my time with creative work, it’s what brings me joy and keeps me pushing forward.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There have been so many people in my life pushing me, encouraging my growth and giving me the honest feedback I need. There are too many to list, but you know who you are and how much I love you for that support! One of my closest friends is Taylor Crawford, Long Beach singer/songwriter and owner of The Whale Song Studio, who I met in a Lyft ride two years ago and made my first music video for. If it wasn’t for that chance she gave me with her single “Walk Straight” and her wonderful friendship since then, my journey would’ve been much much rockier. Another important player was my first film professor, J.J. Vazquez, who gave me honest and encouraging feedback that helped me make my first short films and understand the process of directing artistically while executing production realistically. He also gave me some of my first real on-set experiences, some of the most valuable lessons during my time in school. The support and love of my family drives me to work harder and make them proud, my circles of friends also following creative career paths fuel my passion while the friends in other professions keep me grounded, and the growing support from strangers via social media encourages me to keep sharing. We are a community and we must lift each other up!

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Ren D’Anelli

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