Where are you based and how did you first get into this line of work?
We’re based in Oklahoma, but Nik also spends time in Seattle. We first started messing around with cameras when we were in high school. We’d film our friends and make local skate videos. We were influenced by skate videos like “Yeah Right”, which had segments in it directed by Spike Jonze. Once we figured out who he was that opened up our eyes to the film world. We started making terrible shorts here and there, but one day we just decided to make a move towards music videos. Our first video as LAMAR+NIK got a bunch of love online and from there we started getting sent tracks with actual budgets. That’s how it started for us.
How did you come up with the METTA WORLD TEETH project?
We’ve been fans of that interview for quite some time now and we’ve always wondered what made Metta feel compelled to say what he said. He genuinely seems as though he was really thinking about teeth long and hard at some point, not as a joke. We thought it’d be funny to explore possible scenarios in which Metta could contemplate spirituality and teeth. That was really the basis for the whole thing. It was just really funny to us, so we went for it.
What gear/cameras did you use and why?
We used a Blackmagic URSA MiniPro, some re-housed vintage Canon glass, and a DJI Ronin and Drone. We chose this gear for no real reason besides it’s what the budget would allow. We fully funded the entire project for $300. We called in a lot of favors, but we just had the bare minimum tools to get the job done. Spenser (our DP) did a great job with all the limitations though and it still looks great. Also, wanna give a shoutout to Alan for lending us some gear. It wouldn’t have been possible to do the project without his help.
Did you plan out the story structure from the beginning or did it come out in post?
When we decided we were actually going to make the thing we transcribed Metta’s dialogue from the original interview and put it into a script. From there we just thought about funny places that would correlate to what he was saying. Some things changed from the script to the final product, but it’s pretty close to what we envisioned initially.
What do you do differently from other filmmakers?
We watch Metta World Peace interviews.
If you had to go back and do it all again, how would you get a foothold in the business?
I don’t think we’d change too much, but we definitely wish we had started earlier. When we began directing we didn’t really know what our voice was, but as our career has grown we’ve been able to develop and hone in on exactly the types of projects we want to be a part of. If anything, this is something we wish we would have grasped earlier on.
What has been the hardest part of doing what you do?
Like we alluded to earlier, learning to say NO is harder than it sounds and staying true to your craft isn’t always easy either. We’re constantly doing a balancing act. We weigh the pros and cons of doing a project when they come in. If it’s not something that gets us excited, we don’t want to do it. It just won’t turn out right. We had to learn that the hard way a couple of times in our career. Just because a paycheck is good doesn’t mean it’s going to help us in the long run.
What is currently the best part of doing what you do?
Just being able to make stuff like Metta World Teeth. The short is something we just wanted to make for ourselves. Even if no one else watched at least we would still have a funny video we’d enjoy. That’s the greatest feeling. Just creating films that we want to make. Having an idea you can’t get out of your head and then being able to watch it come to life is insane.
What are some of your favorite stories or web videos that you’ve gotten inspired by?
Recently? There’s this story floating around the internet about this guy who is 69, but wanted to legally change his age to 49. He even went as far as to take his case to court. He says he wants to change his age so he can get more matches on Tinder. Absolutely hilarious. We thought about writing a short about this, but who knows. Nonetheless, it’s entertaining.
Where can people follow your work?
You can follow us on all Social Media here: @LAMARPLUSNIK