Court Dunn

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Court Dunn

The Restless Films founder/creator of "16 Bars" talks about bringing concept and freshness to Rap cinematography without big budgets.

Court Dunn claims to be a simple man with a simple vision, but his works scream everything but that. As a video director, he has been able to take clay and mold it into a visual that measures his talents beyond an ordinary imagination. The Restless Films founder is a New York-based filmmaker, music video director and Hip Hop videographer. Even as the man who stands behind the scenes, it is evident that he is an artist in his own right.

Court has been working for some time having entered the entertainment game at the ripe age of 20. With his HipHopDX series "16 Bars" (Royce Da 5'9", Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Styles P, etc.) and a NahRight.com "One Shot" series, Dunn is bringing great Hip Hop concept and cinematography to the online Rap space.

The Importance In Shaping One’s Own Style Behind The Lens: "For a director to put his own style behind the lens is everything in my opinion. For me it’s everything because I think a lot of what I do is about trying to be different. I’m not trying to outdo other people; I’m just trying to go in a different direction. A lot of the shine I’ve gotten is based on me doing different things. Everything is starting to be real crazy and over the top, but I’m trying to keep things real simple."

Bringing Treatments To Life: "A lot of times in Hip Hop, I don’t have a lot of time to come up with ideas, especially when I’m working on things like the One Shot [presented by NahRight.com] music video series. A lot of the time I’m put in a situation where I might get a call and have to work with the artist the very next day. For example, I just did something with the artist Pill and had only gotten the record the day before. In those cases I may only have a few hours to come up with something. For me, I usually have ideas on hand. I take the record and try to come up with something conceptual. I try and come up with a simple concept that you’ve never seen before like when I did the Joell Ortiz Twitter video. A lot of time I just have to work with what I’ve got to make it happen."

Video Shoots Outside Of New York: "For the most part everything goes down in New York. I mean everyone has to pass through New York at some point so a lot of the time it’s just a matter of when people show up. Whenever the labels have somebody coming through, then they’ll usually holla at me. They ask me to step in; I listen to the music, think of an idea, and shoot the video or series. So it all goes down in New York pretty much."

Realistic Budgets For Quality Independent Video: "All the videos that you’ve seen that I done had like no money at all. For me a realistic budget is all just a matter of being irrelevant in a sense because if you can be creative enough you don’t really need the budget. I mean the budget does help because it can separate things quality-wise, lighting-wise, or location. There are certain limitations without a budget, but at the same time you can look at the Paranormal Activity movie that they just made for $15,000 and it turned around and made millions. Everything I do is based on me having nothing to work with. Realistically, a budget for making the video is based on the scope of what the artist wants to do. If they want to do something crazy then it’s going to be a crazy budget, but if they want to do something simple than we can do that for nothing."

Produced Videos vs. Video Uploads: "I think that right now video is everything, whether that’s a five dollar video, a YouTube video, or a big budget project. Regardless, I think the most important thing for any new up and coming artist is getting exposure so I think having any video is important. Everybody can try and sell records, but not everyone will be able to provide that type of outlet to let the public be able to see their face. Next, if you can put your face out there and the visuals are dope than people are going to want to mess with you. If your visual is good then your buzz can spread really fast. Having a good video is such an important tool that stays in demand. One strong video can blow your career up."

Formal Training vs. Self-Taught: "I’ve been doing Hip Hop videography for about two years. Before that I was a filmmaker I went to film school in Boston. So I had some formal training. My school was pretty much editing and technical based. Making videos is a learning process so I’ve had to teach myself a lot. At the time when I first started I had never really studied music videos by any means. It became the combination of having some formal training, having access to some equipment, and being prolific with passion. I’m still learning constantly and with each video I’m getting better at what I do. I’m learning to challenge myself more and more."

Next From Court Dunn and Restless Films: "I have a lot and I mean a lot of videos coming. We already have tons of stuff in the can ready to be packed up and dropped out. All of it is going to have a fast turn around. You’re going to see a lot with HipHopDX's [16 Bars] and the [NahRight] One Shot's. I have a lot a big things going on that I can’t say right now because we don’t want to ruin the surprise but it’s major. I’m working with a lot of big major artist right now.  Look for projects with The Clipse, Termanology, Emilio Rojas, Styles P and many more."

Visit CourtDunn.com. Photo by Alexander Richter, visit AlexanderRichterphoto.com.

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