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Sequoia Content Welcomes Director Arden Grier


Sequoia's newest recruit Arden sits down to chat about her life and career

Sequoia Content Welcomes Director Arden Grier

Sequoia Content has welcomes director Arden Grier to its roster. Here, Arden sits down to discuss her work, life and loves. 

Q> Why did you decide to make the move to Sequoia?

Arden> When Suzanne and I met, I felt instantly connected to her. She took an interest in other parts of my life, which struck me. I’m a passionate person, and often my personal life and beliefs play a significant role in my work. So meeting an EP who was interested in my work in politics, my hobbies, and my interests in social change always meant a lot to me and I felt like it paid respect to who I am as a director. 

Q> What is it about the team and the culture there that clicks for you?

Arden> If you haven’t met the sales team at sequoia, you should try to get cc’d on an email ASAP. I’m always pleasantly surprised when a room is full of women or gender expansive people who are in charge. Confidence, enthusiasm and a real feeling of collaboration is what really clicks for me. 

Q> Where are you from – where did you grow up?

Arden> I’m from Toronto… well Richmond Hill (which if you live in Toronto, you know is not Toronto proper). I grew up there and then moved to LA when I was 18 to pursue work in film. I am now lucky enough to work and live in both cities, avoiding staying still for too long. 

Q> How did you first get into the industry? What was your very first job?

Arden>I started working in music as a tour manager when I first moved to LA. I worked with a band for a couple of years which was so great, but I knew I always wanted to work in film. Since tour managing is essentially producing a live show every night, the transition to film production was pretty smooth! I started producing low-budget music videos and then eventually I thought, “why do all these men get to direct? That’s the fun job! I want that job.” And then, I started working my way into directing music videos. 

Q> What was your first creative milestone in the industry – the project you worked on that you were super proud of?

Arden> I remember as I was getting interested in commercial work, a producer friend of mine called me one day, who works mostly in car commercials. She said, “I want to put you up for this Kia job, but you have no experience.” Harsh, but true - and she also came with solutions. She suggested we conceptualize, shoot and edit a spec commercial in 48 hours and use that to pitch me on the job. I think this was a big moment for me where I got to let go of all the pressure and just have fun in the process. I remember looking at the end product and thinking, “If I can do this with $200 and 48 hours, imagine what I can do with $200k and a couple of weeks.” It was a milestone in terms of letting go of perfectionism and seeing my own potential.

Q> And what recent projects are you proudest of and why?

Arden> I shot a pilot proof of concept last year - it’s a comedy show about climate change - and it is easily the best thing I’ve ever made. It’s hilarious and wild and weird. It’s colourful, important and attention grabbing. It nearly killed me to make (I say as I’m still in post-production), but it’s also the proudest I’ve ever been. The world is ready for climate comedy (shout out to Netflix’s Don’t Look Up). And I truly think comedy can save the world. 

Q> Within the industry, who are your creative heroes? And what work makes you jealous?

Arden> I love this question because I actually think it’s great to call it what it is - jealousy!! We all get jealous, it’s ok! I am constantly jealous that another director thought of something or made something before I did. I absolutely adore Drew Kirsch’s work. He’s done Taylor Swift music videos, and has an eye for design and colour that will make you question if you’ve ever even seen a rainbow before this moment. I also obsess over Emma Westenberg’s work. She did the Michelob Ultra “The Pure Experience” Super Bowl commercial a couple of years back. I LOVE sound design, and that spot always gives me chills. She also directed Janelle Monae’s music video for “Pynk”. I mean… she had the dancers wearing VAGINA PANTS. I will forever be jealous that I didn’t think of vagina pants first. Basically, I worship risk-takers, rule-breakers, and anyone who is dramatic, over the top and wildly unpredictable.

Q> Outside of work, what are you passionate about?

Arden> A lot. I’m very political and very opinionated. I get worked up really easily about injustice, which there seems to be an endless amount of in the world. I spend a lot of my time calling my reps and yelling at them, and also volunteering for campaigns I’m excited about. This is such a big question, I could go on and on with my answer. Maybe bullet points would be better. 

  • Defending, uplifting and protecting trans kids 
  • Getting big oil out of politics 
  • Teaching young people about sexual health 
  • Dismantling white supremacy
  • Shutting up and listening. Asking questions. Taking time to process before offering your unprompted opinion.

Q> What are your thoughts about the changing role and definition of creativity in the ad world?

Arden> We have so much access to content and so many content creators right now that chances are someone has already done what you’re trying. That said, I believe no one will ever do it quite like you. Or me. Or whoever is doing it. I’ll never make something exactly like anyone else, and that’s what makes it special. 

Q> What would be your dream brand to work on and why?

Arden> I would love to do a really sexy spot for Bulleit bourbon. American boys from Tennessee aren’t the only ones who drink whiskey. ​​

Q> What’s exciting you about the industry right now?

Arden> It’s suddenly cool to be not cool, and misfits are at the centre of this change. A lot of people don’t like change, but I do. Change reminds us we’re alive!!!!!! I think we are moving towards radically diversifying the film industry, and thank god.

Check out her reel here

view more - Hires, Wins & Business
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Sequoia Content, Thu, 27 Jan 2022 17:20:50 GMT