A few months ago I was linked up with Kenneth Price via email. This was particularly the genesis for the upcoming MV Director Series here at Social8gency. I’d seen that there were a number of videos being produced for 9th Wonder’s IWWMG and it came to me to contact the guys behind the camera.
We decided on a format of interview then a breakdown of a selection of 3 – 4 videos by the directors. These are the guys saddled with bringing the musical vision or the theme of a track to life. The first edition of the Social8gency Presents: Behind The Video; we highlight director Kenneth Price.
Was directing always where you felt you wanted to be?
Not necessarily, I can’t point to a particular point growing up where I knew it was what I was going to do my life but I ended up going to film school after nearly failing out of business school and something clicked. I enjoyed everything about the filmmaking process and was instantly fascinated with how everything came together. I’ve been pursuing it constantly for the past ten years or so.
Where are you originally from?
Has your hometown/how you grew up affected your outlook on filmmaking at all?
Raleigh isn’t much of a filmmaking town. However, Wilmington, NC where I got my undergraduate degree is referred to as Hollywood East. Hundreds of films and television shows have been filmed there. So while I was in school I was able to work on indy films as well as big budget projects like Outkast’s Idlewild and Dawson’s Creek.
Who inspired you to get into the field?
Really just people around me who were making films. Hollywood filmmaking always seemed so unattainable it was more friends of mine and people like David Gordon Green who inspired me.
What has been the greatest tragedy and triumph in the business thus far?
That’s really hard to say, it’s always a series of peaks and valleys so I know if something incredible happens something tragic is on its way and vice versa. The greatest triumph is just being able to watch things from years ago and remember the times that went into creating the film.
How’d you link up with 9th Wonder the IWWMG movement?
About 2 years ago a mutual friend of 9th and I got me in touch with him so I could pitch the idea for “The Wonder Year” documentary. Ever since then I’ve kinda become part of that world, it just so happened it somewhat coincided with the creation of IWWMG so I started doing a lot of music video work.
Top 5 movies?
In no particular order… Rushmore, 8 ½, Bottle Rocket, Do the Right Thing, Lost in Translation.
Top 5 albums/songs?
In no particular order… The Beach Boys – “Pet Sounds”, Little Brother “ The Listening” , D’Angelo “Voodoo” A Tribe Called Quest – “Midnight Marauders” Steely Dan “Citizen Steely Dan” Boxset…yeah I’m cheating.
Where do you believe your strengths are in this game?
I’m kind of a one-man band, 95% of the time I’m doing everything from treatment to editing. I think its rare in any creative endeavor to have the ability to see something through from beginning to end.
To up and coming directors what advice can you give them about focus, how to get into the industry, etc?
I don’t know anything about how to “get on” or “break into the industry” or any of that, I just wanted to make a film about an artist I was a fan of and everything else kinda fell into place. As dumbed down as it sounds I guess my advice based on the past 2 years is just to never settle for something you don’t love doing. I could have made a whole lot more money working as a bank teller or an insurance salesmen or something over the past few years but you only live once so you might as well do what you love and have faith you’ll have enough money at the end of the month to get by on.
What’s the craziest moments you’ve had on set?
Nothing really crazy, we tend to keep a pretty closed set when we shoot. For pure spectacle, nothing beats the Big Remo “Go Ladies” shoot at Howard Homecoming.
Your style is seemingly rather documentary style, with your camera primarily just capturing the world around you, is that your preferred style or more a matter of what is currently being asked of you?
That’s 100% indicative of my background. I started doing music videos because of wanting to do a documentary and because of the cameras most of us are using these days its easier to capture reality because most people think you are just taking still photographs. No one has ever specifically requested the whole “just shoot this raw, documentary style” I’ve just always felt the most natural doing that. I’ve done some club videos and stuff but it always felt a little more outside of my comfort zone.
Where do you see your future leading you? What is the endgame for Kenneth Price?
I don’t know, two years ago I never really thought about doing music videos. I’d be surprised if two years from now I’d still be actively doing as many music videos as a I am currently but it’s been a lot of fun. I get my master’s in a month, chances are I’ll end up a film professor in the future.