We sat down with Nashville-based Director, Sean Davé to hear more about his approach to a project, how music videos prepared him for the commercial world, and what he’s working on next.
StudioNow: Where do you call home?
Sean Davé: Kapolei, Hawaii will always be my home, but now I’m based in Nashville (and love it)!
StudioNow: What do you do?
Sean Davé: I mainly direct music videos, commercials & branded content. I also edit, shoot, and generally do whatever needs to be done on other video projects.
StudioNow: How did you get started in film and video production?
Sean Davé: I grew up totally addicted to VHS tapes of Brave Little Toaster and Wallace & Gromit. I think if there’s anywhere you can point to and say right there is where I got sucked in… it’s probably those movies. I was completely fascinated with them. Once I was in high school, I took some “fiction & film” classes and started checking out the school handycam to make projects with friends. At some point, I realized, hey… somewhere, people actually do this for a living.
After that, I went to college at the University of Alabama and double majored in film production and business (still vaguely keeping my options open I guess). I had to intern in both fields… so one business internship and one film internship later, my mind was completely made up.
StudioNow: When given a blank canvas, what’s your creative approach with a new project?
Sean Davé: It depends on the type of project. No matter what I’m doing though, it starts with pre-visualization—running through the shots in my head, before ever putting pen to paper. I find that the movie that “plays in my head” often ends up being the way that I ultimately shotlist/storyboard everything.
With music videos, for instance, I start by literally listening to the song on repeat while driving around town. I’ll just keep playing it into the ground, and envision the music video that would go with it, just based off of what I hear. Once I get an idea from that gut reaction, I’ll start refining and going into the technical stuff… like the budget and how to execute everything I’ve now daydreamed up. After that, everything gets mixed up and condensed down into a treatment.
StudioNow: You’ve done quite a few music videos. How does your experience with creating images for sound translate to directing a commercial piece?
Sean Davé: I think that working in music videos has definitely helped me transition to commercial/branded work. First off, the timeframe for music videos is crazy. You might have one day to capture everything you need for a four minute music video—versus two days for a thirty second spot. If you can handle problem solving with the frenetic pace of music video sets, I think it prepares you well for problem solving on any set.
StudioNow: Share with us your most recent/favorite piece of work. How is it reflective of your style and what about it are you most proud of?
Sean Davé: I recently directed these spots with Revolution Pictures for Audio-Technica: Audio-Technica | Elevate Your Game. They’re for a new line of gaming headsets, and feature two of AT’s sponsored gamers. They’re now playing on Twitch, and I had a ton of fun working on them.
My favorite thing about these spots is how wacky and tongue-in-cheek the comedy is. Having the freedom to go totally hammy and over-the-top with the actor (while keeping the gamers fairly deadpan) was right up my alley.
StudioNow: What’s next for you?
Sean Davé: Right now I’m in post on two projects that I’m stoked about. I just wrapped a soundstage commercial with some pretty wild practical SFX (I can’t say much, but we got to destroy some walls!), and an MMA promo spot with a super gritty feel.
They’re two totally different vibes, and I can’t wait to share both. Otherwise, I’m just focused on learning and growing with more commercial and branded work!
See Sean's work at www.seandave.com.