David Redish is the co-founder of Slice Media, an award-winning creative studio located in Dallas, Tex., that conceptualizes and produces fresh content for T.V., the web, and social media through a pioneering approach.
Young, picky, and edgy is the short list for David’s style, personality, and motto in all walks of life. David’s work is often described as young at heart; he has the innate ability to shape characters and settings with a built-in nostalgia from periods long past. This provides his clients with engaging stories that resonate across audiences.
MO: What inspired you and your business partner, Cesar Jasso, to create Slice Media?
David: I moved to L.A. in 2009 and was fortunate to hop on some big commercial productions with some of the top independent production companies in the industry. I quickly saw that you can’t go at it in this industry alone, especially not as a young director with nothing under your belt. Nobody wants to give you the time of day. I tried teaming up with different producers, but they were only in it for their own benefit. I was thinking about opening my own company, but not in L.A. The market was – and is – too saturated.
It was almost a year later that I ended up at SXSW in Austin, Tex., with a band called 6th Street. I directed and produced video art for their live show, and they brought me along to help produce a few concerts during the festival. Cesar was working in Austin at the time and offered to let me stay with him. While I was there, he saw me in action with the band and asked, “How can I work with you?”
I told him about my idea for my own creative/production company, and he started researching what it would take to open a studio and run it in Dallas. We spent two weeks, taking 3-4 meetings per day, locking down clients. In the second week, we met a political consultant who asked us to bid on two of his candidates’ 30-second TV spots. We grasped the opportunity, formed an LLC, got a bank account and a website, and hit the ground running.
MO: How is Slice Media’s approach to creating content different from other film companies?
David: Most companies are motivated by their bottom line, as they should be. However, for us, we pick up projects as we see fit. It allows us to be selective about whom we work with, and this sets us apart. In the art form we’re in, you can’t be different and work with everyone out there. We see the world one way. If you like that, you’ll love our work. If you see it differently, maybe we can collaborate, create something new and different, and teach each other something…but you just can’t be creatively successful with everyone. That’s been a staple of ours since day one.
We also focus on branding from start to finish. My directing style is based on feeling out the brand, from the camera angles and shots, to the font for titling, to the pace. We work to find the right feel. If it doesn’t feel right to me, it’s certainly not going to feel right to the audience.
MO: How do you create a vision for your films? What sparks your inspiration?
David: I tend to start on my days outside of the office, usually when I’m traveling. There’s something about being on an airplane, confined to my iPod, headphones, and ideas. It’s the perfect cure for anyone with even the slightest case of ADD (which, by the way, is a must for a creative mind to function at its highest).
I’ll take out my Moleskine and start flipping through old notes. Once I’ve settled into a story, I let my imagination take over and just start writing. The momentum of my thoughts and free associations inspire my story, setting, and characters. That momentum allows my mind to be creative and work in a unique way; no two of us think alike.
Uniqueness comes out of trial and error, and the writing process is where I can do that. I’ll try and retry scenes. I may have pages and pages of the same scene rewritten 10 different ways, as a monologue or dialogue, or silent, short and to-the-point, or with lots of lengthy subtext. It’s not an art form where you show up on set and say, “Let’s try this.” You’re not just improvising out of thin air; if you are, you’re either an idiot or a genius.
MO: Do you have a favorite film that you have created? Why does it stand out as your number-one piece?
David: I love my latest piece, which is the pilot for a new webseries. It’s called “Chasing Daylight,” and each episode sets out to follow a top DJ while he or she is on tour for a couple days. The first installment features DJ Paper Diamond.
The best part about this piece is that it’s all mine. However, it’s my philosophy to let things happen and find the story as we go. The producing is heavily influenced by the cinéma vérité style of filmmakers like the Maysles and Frederick Wiseman. However, my editing is a bit more indulgent. We literally show up, throw a mic on the DJ, along with any of his entourage, and start filming. I ask a few questions along the way, but the point of the show is to learn about these people: what they’re really like, what being on tour is like, what else they do, whether they’re nice, mean, or funny. That’s what I want to see, and so do others, according to our more than 13,000 views since it was released on Vimeo.com in early August.
MO: As a freelance director, what types of projects do you love to create?
David: Like all directors, I love working on things that I come up with, whether it’s a commercial concept, music video, or short film. Like all directors, I want to work on projects that let me come in and make the piece I want.
With ads, I love 30-second spots. Having to convey something that fast is an art form unto its own. You are usually working 10-hour days on set. We’re filming multiple angles, set-ups, and scenes, depending on the ad, but it’s all to capture 30 seconds of perfect content. That’s tough. Everything really has to be perfect. I love having to work with that discipline and pressure.
However, I also love making original works. When people watch them and are entertained or moved, I love it. I made something with my bare hands, an idea the started in my mind while traveling around the country filming DJs’ shows, and I thought, “What’s it really like being a DJ on tour?” The fact that people I don’t know gave me 5 minutes of their time to watch my work is a big deal. Time is so valuable, and with the amount of content uploaded online every day, every view is a victory.
MO: What are you excited for in the future with Slice Media?
David: I’m definitely excited to release the second “Chasing Daylight,” featuring Felix Cartal. In the immediate future, I’m excited to take some time for myself to travel and write. We plan to produce a short film this fall, which will be an amazing journey. We also want to keep growing with our clients, both new and old, and finding new products and people we can help. That’s always important to us – is our work going to legitimately help our client? If it’s not, what’s the point of putting our heart into it?