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The Directors: Noah Conopask



Sequoia Content takes a look into the work and inspiration of director Noah Conopask

The Directors: Noah Conopask

Noah Conopask is a self-taught director, cinematographer and photographer whose Commonwealth Games film for the BBC was recently honoured with a gold award at the Ciclope Festival in Berlin.

He is known for capturing authentic human moments and for having a knack for combing connective narratives with striking imagery.

His love for energy in his work harnesses the power of the visual narrative to transcend the human experience and connect cinematic stories with audiences the world over. Noah has  brought his expertise for combining connective narratives with striking imagery to commercials for Gillette, Bose, Under Armour, Benjamin Moore, Ladbrokes, Academy Sports, Red Bull and more.

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

Noah> They put the talent first. I wanted to expand my global reach and opportunities for more exceptional work. Their roster and creative sensibilities align with my own. I’m always pushing for growth. This is where it’s happening.

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

Noah> When we began the conversation I knew right away that there was a connection. They’re so smart, intelligent and nimble. They have their finger on the pulse of the industry and are full of great ideas. I’m in amazing company with the talent on the roster.

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

Noah> I grew up between Baltimore and Washington D.C. in Arnold, Maryland. We lived in a modest neighborhood on the Seven River, a small inlet of the Chesapeake Bay. I was lucky enough to have two wild life sanctuary’s flanking our home. There was a lot of nature for me to get into and explore. That’s where my love of extreme location contrasts comes from. Cosmopolitan cities and secluded nature. It’s influenced my creatively profoundly.

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

Noah> Working as a motion graphics artist and ACD at DK in Chicago. My first commercial I directed was a low budget promo for Showtime specials. Totally guerrilla, running around the city at night making shots. It was so fun! I still find it crazy that I was able to helm that job - what an incredible opportunity to learn on the fly like that.

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

Noah> There were prior achievements but I suppose the two commercial projects that stick out in my mind are:

Under Armour Lindsay Vonn ‘Cold Gear’ - the Fusion of gritty authentic sport and industrial sci-fi was right where I wanted to be in that moment.

Nike. ‘Be Great’ - this is probably the project that truly opened everything up for me. It was a defining stylistic signature film for me.

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

Noah> ASICS. It’s simply beautiful. Pure athletic elegance told through evocative visual storytelling. It’s intelligently made. Extremely economical in terms of location and production but huge in production value.

REV’IT! ‘The Reason’ short doc. - I love this project because of its purity. It was literally just me and my super eight camera running around a vintage motorcycle race. It's pretty amazing what you can achieve with the most minimal of resources.

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

Noah> Barry Jenkins, Johnny Green, Jaron Albertin, Melina Matsoukas, Jonathan Glazer.

The work that makes me jealous is narrative and character focused work with big conceptual ideas at the core - executed with impressive visuals.

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

Noah> Being Outdoors.

Adding to my video journal archive. I’m always shooting. Always on the hunt with whatever camera I have - looking for inspiration that I can incorporate into future projects. 

Photography. This is an obsession and has been since I was a kid.

Writing. Every day.

Motorcycles. Dirt and Street. Remote adventure trips. My most recent was Mongolia.

Music. Specifically guitar and film scoring in Logic. 

Drawing. Anatomy. Don’t be disturbed by the skeletons in my living room.

Board sports. Surfing every morning that I can. Snowboarding. Standing on the top of a silent mountain with crystalline snow blowing up the rock face as you drop into waist deep powder on a sheer descent is pure magic. Skateboarding. Forever.

Poetry and philosophy. History. The future.

Q> What do you do to break out of the industry bubble?

Noah> Adventure rides on the moto. Weekend rides in the Santa Monica mountains with my moto crew. I recently escaped to Colorado for a few days to rip around the rockies. 

I’ve been making a lot of purely experimental short films lately. No agenda in mind for them. These get me away from briefs and into a personal headspace. Instinctual.

Quiet nights at home with my clan with every device turned off.

More of Noah's photography can be found here

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

Noah> I love that great ideas have become more important than ever. The tools that we use to make films have become cheaper and more accessible than ever. It's easy to grab a high-quality camera and capture professional video. It’s the ultimate democratization of the process. So the substance of the thing really becomes a standout component. Authenticity has become king. So has transparency in process. It all leads to higher quality creative.

The negative of what is going on is that algorithms are driving creative decisions. I do feel that in certain circumstances we're losing a bit of our humanity as we become dependent upon these predictors. The circle spirals in on itself and homogenization ensues. New ideas are overlooked as brands search for sure fire ways of selling products. I do believe that we're on our way to finding a balance.

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

Noah> Well there is a few!


NASA - My childhood dream was to be a pilot and then an astronaut.  Maybe I can realize some part of the dream through working with them.

UNICEF - Every day, UNICEF workers brave war zones, treacherous terrain, disasters and disease to make the world safe for kids. Applying my skills to contribute to this Nobelist of deeds would be a true honor.

TESLA - Tesla is the future. Mars, solar, electric cars, flamethrowers - enough said. Can I please have my Cybertruck now?

PATAGONIA - the fusion of outdoor adventure, humanity in the elements and filmmaking is an extremely dynamic synergy for me.

APPLE - The creative and executional bar is so wonderfully high at Apple. Everything they put out is such a treat to experience. I would love to apply my style and Sensibilities to their brand.

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

Noah> There’s too much simply cool looking kind of visual montage stuff out there. That work kind of makes it self these days. Without narrative or substance or a bigger theme or richer more meaningful depth I feel like that work gets lost in the ether.

Filmmakers making creative decisions and work simply to post stills on instagram. Thats not filmmaking.

The table has been flipped. The rules have been thrown out the window. Anything is possible. There are so many different media formats and platforms for storytelling now. You really have to be open and accept constant change.

I've been able to travel all over the world because of this work that we do. I'm winning more exciting opportunities every year and I'm excited to continue that growth and what adventures the future holds for all of us.

More of Noah's work can be found here.


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Genres: Storytelling

Categories: TV and Radio, Media and Entertainment

Sequoia Content, Fri, 25 Jun 2021 15:04:00 GMT