Clearview Films has come a long way since filming its first video in 2009. Shooting over 150 videos since its inception, Clearview has been working hard to make a name for itself in the video game. We tapped Antonio Valenzuela, who's worked with Clearview on various projects, to catch up with founder 8ight tha Sk8 for a chat about his approach to making videos, his new movie Grit City and what other projects he has on deck. Keep reading to see what this promising local video director has to say.
Westword: Where did the name Clearview Films come from?
8ight the Sk8: Originally it was Killabrew Screenworks, and I took a little hiatus and came up with a professional name, Clearview. I ran across it at the job, [and it represents] moving from being ghetto to give more professionalism. Clearview was kind of a double meaning, turn your life around a clear view out of your eyes, and it worked for a film reference, too.
How did you get your start in film?
I do music, as well, so I would always video tape with the camcorder, and I started layering music over the footage with windows movie maker. Then I started rapping my own stuff and synching it with music, but I never had the right equipment. Then I started with a Sony Handycam -- that was the first time we actually got some guys together to do a shoot.
It was called "Slapperino" with Me, Frank Teezzi, Ten Terintino and a guy named Gotti. Around the same time, Youtube, Myspace, and Facebook started popping, and I actually worked on a Julox video called "Nothing to a Boss," and the phone just started ringing. In 2010, I did 26 videos with a flip camera and editing with Adobe Premier Pro. So Now I have done over 150 videos.
What aspect of making music videos do you least enjoy?
The organization by artist, as far as creative sense. If they don't bring a creative sense to the table, its kind of hard for me to work on numerous projects, and I have to come up with a treatment for each one of them. Every once in a while, I'll be feeling a song and come up with a good idea. But if we set up a shoot and you come with nothing to the table, it makes us all look bad. We have to get our creative minds going.
An artist with two or one videos a year should have a creative sense of what they want. That probably happens one out of five times. Scheduling is also hard for people to start and end at a certain time. It's always around this time or that and dealing with so many people from around the city, different backgrounds, it can be an obstacle working with people from different walks of life and balance out the differences.
Do you write story boards, or is most of the shooting impromptu -- or does it depend on the artist?
It depends on the artist. Out of 150, I probably wrote a handful of them. Some videos just go. The visual impact on screen just makes it go easy sometimes. I'll come up with ideas and structure of all of them, but treatments are not really my forte, exactly.
So you just shot a film, Grit City. How did that come about?
Nyke Nitti came to me about two years ago. He wanted me to be a part of it. He had written a script, and he already had done a semi-music video twenty-minute film. He wanted to be in that lane for that. At that time, the director wanted a big budget, but we couldn't get a budget anywhere. We dusted it off early this year, and I told him, "Let's shoot it guerilla style," because if we want sponsors, we need something to show people. We casted the characters, got the locations, and I mapped out the schedule. The first weekend, we shot about 75 percent of it.
Is it done? When does it come out?
It's about 90 percent done right now. The actual video is done; we are on last leg of post-production. It should be release September or October, later this fall.
Where do you see yourself growing in the next five years?
We are trying to get more of a team instead of me as a one-man production. Wearing every hat is overwhelming. We are looking to add editors, shooters, production crew, equipment and make it bigger than what it is now. I think we are going to have more movies and short films. We have another short film in the making right now, Looking Back. It's about a rehab center where all the patients are connected but don't know they are connected until they are in group meetings and stuff.
Who wrote it?
I wrote it, and Nyke Nitti co-wrote it. We're going through screenplay and will audition for the cast soon. Next couple years, you will see more short films than you see music videos, oh and Top of Da Boxx.
What is Top of Da Boxx?
Top of Da Boxx is like Colorado's Rap City or 106 and Park. Last season, we had 25 shows hosted by Nyke Nitti. In August was the last show, but season two will kick off with Da Certified Playaz Committee. It can be a little unorthodox sometimes, running over an hour sometimes, with times changing. But this year, we are cutting strictly an hour with mostly new videos on there as much as we can.
I am still going to put some of my own videos on there. I don't look at who shot the videos but more focus on the artists. We won't put two artists videos on one show, but we will have two Clearview films from different artists with special guest DJs that come on. This season we will have Upset Records. It's hard to put every artists on there but anyone who wasn't on first season might bring new people, but whatever is relevant.
We look for the hottest songs or have a CD coming out, or dropping a video. Should be every Thursday at noon, Starting September 12th at noon starts the second season on YouTube.com/topofdaboxx.
Anything else you want people to know?
My job as video guy doesn't stop at shooting and editing, I break artist like a DJ would, with people like Young Cracka, Billy Lipz, Atak One, Wriky Knotz. I kind of put them out there because people were watching me. If I put out a video and it helps the artists build popularity, it's like a DJ breaking a record in the club. We're breaking records, too. I like to build relationships; anyone can contact us at email@example.com, and let's work.