Meet Rafael V the mind behind ‘Joy’ a vlogumentary ft. Jme and David Vujanic

So, who is Rafael V? When and how did you get into film making? Tell the readers a bit about yourself.

Rafael.V is… wait who am I? I’m a creative first and foremost. I create things, whether they’re visuals, brands, strategies, or ideas in general. I’m currently a director, music manager, brand strategist, videographer, and filmmaker. I first got into making films and visuals around five years ago when I used to make short films with my friend and filmmaker Malik Rowe. We used to make short action films on YouTube, with corny special effects and video game type storylines, and ever since then, I was always loosely involved in filming things, but it was always more of a side hobby than an actual focus.

Photography by Sesilla Perkone

Photography by Sesilla Perkone

Filming became more important when I started working with Lewis Artist and Ramone Anthony, the duo I manage, on music videos; that was really when it started becoming a bit more than just a hobby and I began discovering my love for wanting to create dope visuals and direct videos.

What inspired your new vlogumentary ‘Joy,’ and how did you start the creative process?

Well, one day I was in the bath, feeling really sh*tty, and then I was listening to a song called “Joy,” by PARTYNEXTDOOR, and I just kind of thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if someone made a film about happiness and kind of summarized how I felt about this song?” Then I just decided that I should try to make it myself. I didn’t have a plan, plot or structure, I just knew I’d make it. So then the next week I went to a birthday party of my friend’s, and I just decided to bring my camera. I filmed some really raw footage that night and asked people a bit about what they thought about life, and then when I got back home and reviewed the footage, it kind of just clicked that I could make something! Random, but throughout making this whole film, Travis Scott’s music really inspired me to continue. I don’t know why, but listening to tracks like “90210,” “Apple Pie,” and “Way Back” really pushed me. I think whenever you’re creating something you always have a soundtrack to that whole process and journey.

You talk a bit about ethics and codes to happiness in your short film. So I thought I’d ask what happiness means to you.

To me, happiness is everything: It’s what we’re all working and living towards. It’s never working a weekend in my life. It’s creating whatever I want. It’s making stupid jokes and having random adventures with my friends. It’s those dumb dances I do when I’m just vibing in my house. It’s waking up to, like, twenty-four cute messages from your girlfriend. Its 4 chicken thighs (extra hot) with chips, rice, and halloumi at Nando’s on a Saturday knowing your team won their match 4-0 so you can watch Match of the Day when you get back. It’s that feeling Drake probably felt when he made Passionfruit. To me happiness is everywhere flowing through life, like The Force in Star Wars.

JME makes an unexpected appearance in the film! How did you get him in it?

Basically, I was out one night for a party near Oxford Street, and we just came out of the bar we were in…and then BAM! Out of nowhere JME and his whole crew just walked past us. it was so weird right, because the week before I’d just interviewed David Vujanic, and in his interview, he said JME is one of the people he feels is generally trying to add a positive change to society, and then I just ran into him that next week. So I just went up to him and asked him if I could ask him some questions about happiness. He gave me like 20 minutes of his time, and he just dropped some real knowledge, a great addition to the film. He’s so cool, like genuinely, a cool chilled guy. He doesn’t act like some of those famous people that kind of come across like they’re above people. I wish I could’ve spoken to him longer.

It was great to see the youth play such a monumental role in the general election given Brexit. David Vujanic played an integral part in helping to remind the youth of their importance in politics, as did JME with his support for Jeremy Corbyn. How did it feel seeing this take place? Have you thought about possibly making a film to educate the youth on this subject in the future?

I felt rather inspired to see this happen, more so because we saw artists and people who our generation relate to (JME, Stormzy, David Vujanic, Big Narstie, etc.) actually support and fully back the reasons why we as a generation should be voting. I think what was also instrumental was that it wasn’t exactly a case of one lying politician vs the other; it was how it was painted almost as a fight of good vs evil. Theresa May and The Conservatives really didn’t help their evil and negative portrayal with their policies on the junior doctors contracts, denying over 165,000 people disability benefits, and even asking rape victims to “prove their ordeal”, etc.

The real winner was definitely Labour and how it really shone the light on Jeremy Corbyn’s relatability to most people, and, in particular, young people, who are the future of this country. I think it’s really important for us to be way more informed on the political climate and how things work than we are right now. So maybe a film would help! That’s a good idea for the future.

You also talk about knowing yourself and how that stops you from putting yourself in uncomfortable positions. There are loads of up-and-coming young creatives in the entertainment industry right now. Apply this to them. What advice would you give them going forth in this industry?

To be honest, uncomfortable positions aren’t always a bad thing. I think that you should go through them at times in your life, but not more than is necessary, which is why I say you should “tek time and know yourself” to avoid that. However, for any creatives in the industry right now, I would say being in “uncomfortable” positions always helps you know more about what you want. I think for a lot of creatives, you need to be working in a job you don’t like, or be working on something you don’t enjoy, or be trapped in something you’re not comfortable or happy with in order to know what you want to do more; I think those moments give you real clarity.

I’d also say to young creatives in the industry to make as many friends in as many places as possible. The most important thing in the world is WHO you know, not WHAT you know; I know it’s cliché, but you really never know who you’ll need at any point in your life and who can help you. Also with this, don’t be afraid of meeting people who you’re not used to meeting from different walks of life: different cultures, industries, classes, races, locations, etc.

Photography by Sesilla Perkone

Photography by Sesilla Perkone

What do you want the youth to take away from your short film?

That your happiness is the most important thing in the world and that you should always be aware of your mental health. As stigmatised as the term “mental health” sounds, your happiness is literally your mental health. Take care of it, value it, nurture it.

How long did the film take to make? Was it a difficult process?

It took me around four months to make this film. The process was really different from anything else I’ve created or thought about creating, because there weren’t any planned shoots or things I knew I needed, it all just flowed and came. The film and the idea really evolved as the months went on, my approach and view on the film was completely different by the end, and a lot of it was just shaped by the things I captured, the time I spent with friends, and especially the time I spent alone thinking about it all.

Even though nothing was planned I think that was the best part about it all, because a lot of the film comes across really raw and natural, which is why I think people can relate to it more than a formal documentary. It was also really difficult sticking to the plan, because as I went on with the film a lot of my ideas changed, and making the changes would’ve been too extensive, so staying firmly planted on the idea was hard at times, especially when I had other new ideas. The best thing about the whole process, though, was that I did it all by myself, so I didn’t ever need to wait on anyone to create a thing or make anything, and that’s the way I like it.

From your experience, what advice would you give to other young creatives also wanting to make a short film and venture into the film industry?

I would say keep your dreams and ideas close to you, and write them down! You can easily forget them. I’d also say that sharing is NOT caring, don’t give your ideas to anyone unless you know they can help you and will keep them to themselves. Keep your talent to yourself too; a lot of people want the unique thing that you have, whether that be your style, your editing techniques, the way you take your pictures, your designs, your vision, or your ideas. Remember your style is unique to you and you only!

Keep it to yourself until you release it into the world, and especially, never tell anyone how you made something exactly. Also, go crazy! Go wild, experiment, create loads of stuff, and don’t be afraid to fail, because all it does is help you perfect your craft! My final piece of advice would be to remember that your ideas are doable! I made this entire film by myself, with a basic 18-55mm lensed DSLR, a premiere pro subscription, and four months. So don’t be scared or limited by the work quality of those with more money and resources.

‘You can make whatever you want , you can do whatever you want!’

Can you give us any clues about your next moves?

Another big project. More music projects. Fashion. Random visuals, and a whole load of GiRaffe stuff.

Watch the full vlogumentary below, like, comment and share!

Connect with Rafael V

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