Vaseline’s “See My Skin” (commercial)
What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
Our first professionally directed work was a Vaseline spot called “On Brown Skin” in February 2022.
How did you get into directing?
We spent over a decade creating content for commercial campaigns as still photographers. In additional to our commercial work, we spent many days on set as unit photographers. Our experience led us to work with well known media companies such as HBO and OWN. We also spent time working closely with other directors on large scale projects for global brands and agencies, like Ogilvy and Facebook. All that experience together led us to increasing confidence and agency on set. It became a natural transition for us to direct our own work and seek more commercial opportunities as directors.
What is your most recent project?
Our most recent project is a spot for Google’s 2022 I/O Conference. We directed a spot that explored the AI and tech that Google is incorporating into their mobile cameras and search features. Specifically, we looked at how skin tone renders in the digital space. Our spot featured a Harvard professor who is researching that topic and working with Google, as well as young users who spoke about their experiences as people of color interacting with AI and technology.
What is the best part of being a director?
We really enjoy assembling teams and working with other exceptional creatives like DP’s, art departments, stylists, and makeup artists. We really enjoy the working relationships with our EP, our AD, and the producers. We also have the opportunity to travel
What is the worst part of being a director?
Taking time, energy, and creative resources, whether it be mental capacity or otherwise, to create and write treatments and ideas for projects that you never get to do. Bidding is the worst part because we create ideas for things we think are really cool, and they may never come to life.
What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
Our current career focus is narrative work, more specifically, commercial and documentary narratives. We’re mostly interested in making highly stylized films that tell real stories centered on people and culture.
Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
Our mentor is fellow director, Jason Harper. The lessons we’ve taken from our countless interactions, whether it be personal time spent with our families, or professional experiences on the numerous sets we’ve been on together, would be: find ways to make your work personal without taking it personally. For us that means making sure that we are authentically invested in what we’re putting out while being consciously aware of the needs of those we’re serving, the clients, the producers, and the people participating in our films.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Rog’s favorite series is a Netflix docu-series called One Strange Rock. He has no favorite movie, but likes countless documentaries. His current favorite branded content is a fashion film for Nanushka called Harmonia. Bee’s favorite streaming series is Chef’s Table, favorite film is Devdas (2002).
Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
Bee was born in Kenya and is of South Asian and African decent. She has lived elsewhere in Africa, in the UK, and in Canada before eventually settling in New York City. She worked countless random jobs before realizing that she’s creative. Her life changed when she picked up a camera to document the world and tell her story.
Rog is of Caribbean decent, born in Jamaica and raised in a little town in Westchester County, NY.
How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?
The pandemic has had a profound impact on our careers, personalities, and attachment to each of our identities as artists. Having to spend so much time away from work has re-rooted us in our family structure and shifted our priorities away from making work and towards being more present with our family. Secondly, the intense drought of commercial opportunities also re-shifted our focus towards creating personal work that is meaningful and that we’re able to control fully. At the same time, not being on set allowed both of us to see how much we cherish working with others and applying our creative abilities within a team setting.