TO MEET · 06/19/2013
Speaker Series: Adam Sjöberg
We’re lucky to welcome a steady stream of people into the Warby Parker office, and occasionally, we get to hear first-hand about their adventures. Last month brought us entrepreneur Ivanka Trump; this month, filmmaker Adam Sjöberg stopped by to share tales of traveling through 39 countries and creating a feature-length documentary, Shake the Dust, about breakdancing communities in post-conflict regions. Adam has also documented some of our own non-profit partners in action.
He’s a busy dude, but we caught a few minutes to download a couple of tips and favorites from him. Thanks, Adam!
His advice for aspiring photographers: The people who become successful or build a client base are the people who are always shooting—the people who aren’t waiting to get paid to shoot, and who are even willing to put money out of pocket.
Shake the Dust would never have happened if I hadn’t had a friend who said, ‘you can’t keep waiting for money to come along.’ Figure out what your genre is, and just shoot something.
Cinematic Rx: Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Bill Cunningham New York are both films that inspire me. My favorite films tell stories about unique individuals, and they tell those stories in original ways.
Why make Shake the Dust? I was unhappy about how disconnected my experiences in the developing world felt in comparison to what I often saw in the news. You can’t brush over people’s suffering, but I feel like the reality was way more nuanced than what I saw on TV.
Beware of over-scoring a film: Music is a crucial part of filmmaking and it can be used to manipulate the viewer, so you have to be careful. I’m always trying to work on when to bring the music down. I recently worked on a half-hour long film, and the first cut was just emotional song after emotional song—it felt like pandering.
Portrait via Oliberte; all other photos courtesy of Adam Sjöberg