We’re so excited to introduce you to Telly Awards Judge Dan Kent, an Independent Creative Producer based in Los Angeles, specializing in cutting edge visual content. From producing the world’s first touring VR Concert for Megan Thee Stallion, to a camera-free ‘drone-shot’ music video for Rufus Du Sol, Dan loves collaborating with world class creatives to use music, art & technology to challenge the way people view their relationship with all three in a quickly changing world.
Read our interview with Dan Kent below!
What was your first job in the industry? What did it teach you?
My first job in the industry was as a Director’s Assistant to a film director, Tony Scott. I had just recently moved from Baltimore to Los Angeles, with big dreams of becoming a world famous DJ. Luckily that didn’t work out and I instead met Tony. He was an amazing mentor to have right off the jump, and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I had no experience in film or Hollywood, and he took a chance. I’m pretty sure it was only because I would drive him places fast and make him laugh. He taught me to always do your research and homework when you’re telling a story, and to always be good to the people that you work with.
What are the best and worst pieces of professional advice you’ve received?
The best piece of advice would be to always follow your instincts and it’s ok to move on if the passion is not there and you don’t believe in the vision / project.
The worst piece of advice was that it’s OK to “template-ize” the creative to save money. It worked out horribly and I’m happy I don’t have to do that anymore.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Everyday is completely different and that is what I love about it. Because I like to play in a bunch of different mediums, it could be spent on set filming a music video in a junkyard in the desert in the freezing cold, or on back to back zoom meetings with 4 different time zones for a VFX heavy job, or helping a director or artist work through a specific idea that they want to create, or pitching a band or brand or a record label for the budget, or additional budget, to make that idea more awesome. Sometimes it is all of those scenarios at the same time.
What project are you most proud to have worked on?
One that really stands out for me is the Coachella Antarctic Dome for Rufus Du Sol that I did with James Frost back in 2019. It’s a 7 minute, conceptual visual set to their track ‘Underwater’, played on rotation, in the worlds largest projection dome, for the length of the festival. It was a job that went away and came back like 3 times, breaking our hearts each time. We just wouldn’t let it go away though, because creatively it was a dream come true. We had 7 minutes to basically go bonkers visually and send people on a weird journey at a massive music festival. By the time we got the full green light, what had started as a 3 month lead time, had shrunk to a 5 week lead time, and I’m pretty sure none of us had ever done a projection dome before. The best part was actually seeing the audience’s emotional reactions in real time at the festival with James, our amazing digital artists and my co-producer Rebeca Diaz. It also helped solidify my belief in the importance of in person events…which was about to be tested so hard when the world shut down a year later.
What’s the best part of your job? What’s the most challenging?
The best part of my job is being able to tell impactful stories, in unique ways with different creatives from all over the world. The most challenging things are prioritizing projects, not falling too much in love with a project before the contract is signed, and not getting one caught in development hell.
What makes you excited for the future of your industry?
Technology, the youth and their relationship with it. I really get inspired and excited when people push the envelope and use technology in unique ways. Kids today have a much deeper understanding of tech than I did when I was coming up, so I’m excited to see how they use that in the creative space. Technology can be scary, and obviously, dangerous, if used in the wrong way. It can also be beautiful and inspiring, and create things that have never been done or seen before.