Famous? Almost. -- Freddy D'Angelo Interview
h e l l o !
This is my first official post on the Freddy D'Angelo Studios site, so I should probably say, "Hi, I'm Shannon." In short, I'm a St. Louis native who is determined to spend her life making art - whether it be in front of a camera, over a microphone, from a writer's desk or a directors chair. Entertainment is my passion, more specifically cinema and music. I was fortunate enough to become an intern here at F.D.S. through St. Louis Community College and I'm so excited and thankful for the opportunity.
Recently I was able to sit down with Freddy and hear some of his thoughts on his life, career and vision for this company. Below is the interview. Enjoy!
So, just jumping right in, tell us about yourself and what you do exactly.
My name is Fred Dickerson Jr, I am a twenty-three year old entrepreneur, I specialize in creating media content for artists... I work in the music industry - I have worked in this field for four years. I produce music videos, commercials, promo videos, press photos, social media management, artist development - all that jazz for artists to help them excel in their careers. It's kind of been a free-form job. Every day you wake up and it's something different.
How did you get started in this industry?
Long story short... I was nineteen years old, and I'd only had my camera for about two years at this time. I was in college and I didn't know where to actually go with my career. I was kind of at a standstill. I started filming music videos for myself by my sophomore year of college. I was on Craigslist one day just browsing while at work - because I didn't want to be at work and I saw someone was looking for a videographer and they were paying $250. I was like, "Wait, I'm working all week, ten hour shifts here at Radio Shack to make 250 bucks... And these people want me for 6 hours for 250 bucks?? Where do I sign up?" So I sent them a message, and next thing you know, chain of events happened, I filmed my first concert and I just got hooked.
Where do you hope to be in five years?
It'd be kind of tough to break it down to five years for me. I'm twenty-three right now. I have this weird, weird dream of at age thirty, stepping down from photography and becoming a school teacher. I spend every single day of my life doing things that people out there dream of doing, and its one of those things where I just blow it off because it's my job. Going to concerts and staying up all night isn't the most fun for me anymore - I dream and aspire to inspire other people. I've had a few opportunities to speak at Meramec college here in St. Louis, and just hearing the way the students respond...just makes me smile because they're in that classroom like I was, and they're like "What do I do next?" And then out of nowhere, somebody comes in, who's been in that same classroom, and tells you that the world is bigger than you think it is. Slowly but surely you start realizing that the world is massive. You could spend every day inside of a box doing the same thing over and over again, or you could find something that you're truly passionate about and chase it. And photography is one of those things where I've been passionate and I've been chasing it, but I feel like if I were to become a teacher, I could just keep popping out geniuses. Every single year, I'll have that one star student and I'll be like "Yeah, you're gonna go for it." Just like my professors did. Those professors took that extra time to tell me "Chase your dreams, believe in your dreams. You can do this." Those professors are the reason why I'm doing what I'm doing today.
What does music mean to you personally?
(Pauses) ...You can't go around yelling at people everyday. So, you put it in music form and then you're yelling at people every day. That's a thinker right there. You can say whatever you want in that song that could have been on your chest for your entire life. Music is a release. People do it for all their own reasons - some people do it for the fame, some people do it for the attention... I do it, honestly, because, like I said, I can't go around yelling at people every day. I don't really get angry, but whenever I'm on stage, I turn into a different person. I'm just screaming my song lyrics, I'm playing these guitar solos, I'm playing drums... And it's a freeing feeling, and for that portion of time that I'm on stage, I get to let loose and go wild. Music's an escape.
When we had our first meeting, I mentioned the movie Almost Famous and you said you seriously relate to that movie. Could you elaborate on that?
William, the main character, is a teenage boy randomly gets to write an article for Rolling Stones, and the Rolling Stones people don't understand that he's a teenage boy. They think he's a grown man, and they send him out on the road with a professional touring act [to interview and observe them]. He has his entire life changed: He's getting attention from people, he's getting to fly on private jets... He's just thrown into that entire realm. Now, the reason I relate to that movie, going back to that first Craigslist ad I applied to...I wasn't even old enough to go to half of the shows that I was photographing. But these people thought that my big six-four self was like, a twenty-three year old man already. So at nineteen, I was sneaking into concerts to photograph them, in different cities, different states, everywhere. I relate to that movie so much because that kid was just thrown out there with his favorite artists and then realized that they were just normal people. That's what I've found out over the years. I've been blessed with the opportunity to photograph every single one of my favorites... and it was life changing. I didn't get to hang out with them or anything, but there are other artists that I've photographed and I've been on the road with them for years, and you learn so much about these people. You learn what makes them tick, you learn what their favorite foods are, you figure out their hobbies, talents, everything. But your job is to be the photographer or the videographer or whatever. I could tell stories for hours and hours about maybe some of your favorite celebrities.
And then it's at your discretion what to do with that information - I know that was also a big dilemma in Almost Famous. To tell, or not to tell certain aspects of those people's lives...
That was a big dilemma, because while things happen... you realize that the people doing those wild things have somehow grown into being your friends. You have the choice, you make the decision... That movie's my life.
Can you see yourself ever branching out into the film industry?
I dream of going into film, but I feel like film... will always be there for me. I'm just taking it one day at a time. One step. Because, I started out as a photographer, and now people know me as a music video director. Two years down the road, maybe people will know me as a movie director. You never know quite where life will take you.
Alright, so fast-forward to your death bed. You're very fulfilled, you've spent your life doing what you love... What's the one thing you want people to know about you? What do you want to be remembered for?
I hope I'm remembered for being a positive person. It's been a lot of years of maturing and building and trying to become a better person. I just hope that someday, when I'm gone and it's all said and done, someone can just be able to say "Freddy inspired me to do something." Or, "Because of what he did, I'm doing this." "He inspired me." I want to be a positive inspiration for everyone out there.
Be sure to follow Freddy on social media to keep up with his unorthodox, awesome lifestyle and to stay inspired!
Facebook: Freddy D'Angelo Studios
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