The path to success is far from an easy road and for hip hop artist Meek Mill, an early life of poverty and the daily dangers of growing up in Philly made his rise through music that much harder. Mill’s determination to persevere and overcome is exhilaratingly captured in Brooklyn based filmmaker Jackson Tisi’s Spotify commissioned spot for new album Championships. Watch it below, after which Jackson reveals how he opened the scope of the original brief in order to reflect on the true meaning of success.

This film came to life through a pitch deck. Spotify’s initial deck was mostly centered around the amazing event that they threw with Meek at the end of the video. They wanted the film to reflect his album by being all about Championships. I saw this as an opportunity to infuse a bit more of a documentary feel to the film. To me, the event was always going to be the end/grand finale but I wanted it to be symbolic of the championship stage that Meek has reached in his life.

In order to do this, I wanted to talk a bit about the hard work and perseverance it took to get to this point. We started by shooting the interview with Meek about two weeks before the event. By the time the event came around, we already had a radio edit of the story we were going to tell. The day before we shot the live event we went to Philadelphia. Going to Meek’s home city of Philly was important for me to show people where he comes from and also why the city is so important to him. We spent a day in Philly shooting Bike Life and checking out some of Meek’s favorite spots, like Shyne Jewelers. The whole shoot was 3 days.

We shot the short on film and digital. For our 16mm film we were shooting on an Arri 416 camera and for digital, we were using the Arri Alexa Mini with a set of Kowa anamorphic lenses. I wanted the whole film to not have a dull moment and I think changing between mediums like this helped a ton. The editor, Mark Potter, is also amazing and brought so much style and good pacing to the edit.

I wanted to talk a bit about the hard work and perseverance it took to get to this point.

I had a rock solid team at Bravó supporting this film. Zoe Yi is my go-to DP. She always brings such an amazing style to her images. Luigi Rossi is an all-star producer and the whole job couldn’t have gone smoother. We also had the piece graded with Sofie Borup at Company 3 and she did an incredible job.

The team over at Spotify was also such a pleasure to work with. They were all so creative and supportive of just trying to make the coolest film we could. It is always so gratifying to collaborate in such an open and successful way, and that is really what this team was able to do. It was a total group effort.

This film is one of the many great projects shared with the Directors Notes Programmers through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them submit your film.

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