At age 24, producer-director Byron Woo committed himself to following his passion for multimedia video production.
Faced with making a tough decision between joining an established production company full-time or starting his own company, Woo chose to start his own company.
He founded Nomadics (www.thatNomadics.com), a multimedia production company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and surrounded himself with "a solid team of passionate filmmakers, photographers and business-oriented individuals."
"I started making videos early on in high school with some friends using a simple Sony camcorder. We would make corny music videos of classic songs that we liked – and when I say classic, I’m talking about Backstreet Boys and N’Sync," Woo recalls. "When I first started college, I had no idea what I wanted to pursue and revolved through majors such as psychology and business/entrepreneurship before finding my calling in film. I finally got my Canon 7D camera and started exploring different arts like dance and music, and learned editing platforms like iMovie, Final Cut Pro and now Adobe Premier."
Woo added: "I’m so excited that Nomadics has grown to where it is now. In the last month we’ve worked on a promo for Samsung, a commercial for an exclusive clothing brand in Russia called Chi Chi Maison, and also a music video for Maddie B. Some of our other works include a commercial for Nike 6.0 and a commercial for an international media production team called YakFilms, known for their work with urban dance. All of this could not have happened if it wasn’t for my team. Business success relies on all the collaborative efforts of the team as a whole. We’re still new and still growing and learning new things, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Nomadics."
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Woo grew up in Oakland. He recently answered a few questions about his career, artistic influences and goals.
Tell us how you got started directing videos?
I would say I officially got started when I formed Nomadics. I would go to restaurants and ask them if they wanted a promo video for their marketing needs. I took up gigs at weddings and filmed music videos with friends. Overall, music videos are the main thing that I love to direct. I love how you can embed a short film idea within a music video and find it quite exciting to come up with stories and tell them through the combination of music, the setting and the actors. A lot of my personal projects involve a lot of abstract stories and experimental music choices.
Tell us about your artistic influences?
Growing up, I was always exposed to many different types of arts, especially that of music. I remember I would dig through my stepdad’s CD collection. He had hundreds of albums from different musicians of almost every music style. He had pop and rock and reggae, from Bruce Springsteen to Billy Joe, Michael Jackson to Bob Marley, the B52s to The Beatles. Music is my main inspiration for the films that I create and direct. A lot of my style revolves around music – even the commercials, promos and short films I’ve done have music that I love and find inspirational. I also admire many directors who are already established in the film industry such as Khalil Joseph and Andrew Thomas Huang. Some films you might want to check out by them are “Until the Quiet Comes” directed by Khalil Joseph, and “Solipsist” directed by Andrew Thomas Huang. Both are very beautiful and inspiring short films. I also really respect Spike Lee. My favorite film from him is "He Got Game." The way that film was composed and shot is pure genius.
What are your goals?
First off, I just want to say I feel so honored and blessed for all the things that have been happening with Nomadics. I have high hopes for my team and I really see a lot of big things happening for us in the year 2014, especially. I guess you can say that my goals are for my team. We’re going to continue to grow and get better and better. All the work that we put out happens because of the team as a whole. This is just the beginning and I’m looking forward to collaborating with different artists. I got a chance to network with a lot of great people such as the talented dancer Allen Ramos. I recently met him at Maddie B’s video shoot and we hit it right off the bat. He’s being mentored by Shane Sparks and I’m really proud of the dude and got high hopes for him. Also watch out for Kooleo and his team of dancers. There may be some possible projects happening with all those guys. Hey, maybe one day I’ll even get to meet Spike Lee and maybe direct some music videos for some of my favorite musicians like Frank Ocean, Mr. Lies or M83 just to name a few haha.
What are you working on next?
Nomadics is always working on many projects, from commercials to music videos and other fun projects. But the biggest project we are working on right now is for my own personal short film project entitled “Movado.” “Movado” is the name of an experimental instrumental song, of which the producer has given me full rights to. Lately, I’ve been very intrigued by the art of dance, especially that of contemporary dance. This video is going to be utilizing a lot of dance and a lot of cool costumes and masks to illustrate the dichotomy of the good and bad we face in our everyday lives. I love dichotomies and most of my personal work is based on that. I’m collaborating with producers Sarah Lopez and Melissa Suncin of La Dona Films, Michelle Moy, Nomadics producer Henry Chu, Nomadics cinematographer Yan, Nomadics CMO Mike Lee, Nomadics artistic director Jonathan Kim, Nomadics editor and photographer Jenna Nguyen, and my sister Michelle. Currently, we’re going through the planning stages and hope to raise funding for this project, so please be on the lookout for our possible Indiegogo crowdfunding. It’s going to be so much fun. I’m planning to submit this piece to Sundance as well as other film festivals. It’s my biggest project yet and I’m really nervous but excited at the same time.
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