NOEN JENSEN’s TRUE STORY
The film industry often seems to us a marvelous fairy tale, where successful people live. But is it that simple to get into this fascinating world?
Today we take a look behind the film set with the young ambitious director, Jensen Noen, who moved to LA four years ago and has already won recognition for his short films, as well as for his award winning music videos.
LIFE | PHILOSOPHY | WORLDVIEW
From: Kiev, Ukraine
Moved to the US: 2014
Experience in video industry: Over 10 years
Music videos for: Jay Z, Bryson Tiller, Khalid, Normani, Maxwell, Duke Dumont, Asking Alexandria, I See Stars
Cooperation with brands and labels: Sony, Nike, Beats Electronics, RCA, Virgin, Roadrunner Records, Atlantic Records, Sumerian Records, Rise Records
Short films: Oceans Within Us (2010), Blesscode (2013), Observer (2016), Decisions (2016), Gambit (2017)
Feature film: The Perception (2018)
NOEN JENSEN’s TRUE STORY
What was your biggest childish dream? Have you dreamt of making films since childhood?
Since my childhood, I’ve always dreamt of being a musician, music was my everything and seemed to be the only possible way to express my ideas, feelings, and emotions get them across to a numerous number of people. Later when I was a teen, I got my first camera. My friends and I shot short videos, simple short films, which were something like vlogs (though none of us heard anything about YouTube), different jokes, and so on.
Later I started making simple videos for my music. At some point I realized that movie was a much more extensive way of communication, which allowed me to express myself to the greatest extent. That’s why I tried to make my first short film. As it had been rewarded and had received a lot positive feedback and reviews, I realized that it was the activity to which I would wish to commit myself.
What was the reason for your move to the US? Was it a difficult decision?
I made many music videos for performers from Eastern Europe. Having shot a range of successful works in my motherland, I started receiving offers from American labels. I made a couple of videos for them when I was in Ukraine, and they were very pleased with the result.
2013 became a crucial time for me – I shot the music video Down & Dirty, and it got about 2 million views in just 2 days after release which was an incredible number for the first music video of a young musician. We received a powerful feedback from the enormous number of people all over the world, and everyone appraised this video as something exclusive for this kind of music. After that I received an invitation to come to the US to meet and discuss future cooperation. During my next visits to the US I had a chance to see how this industry is arranged here, I could learn from many people and as a result continue my career development.
What was your first impression about life and work in the USA? Have your impressions changed over the years you’ve been living here?
As surprisingly as it may seem, I didn’t feel any difficulties after I had moved here. I found the way of thinking of the people here and work specifics very close to mine. At once I felt to be in the right place and to be headed in the right direction.
The US is one of the very few countries, where you can achieve incredible results if you are hard working and talented. This country offers everything necessary.
What do you think to be your most significant achievement for now? What challenges did you face when bringing your plans to life?
Undoubtedly it is my feature film “The Perception.” I spent more than a year and a half to finish it, and I believe it is the greatest accomplishment in my career for now.
The most difficult was that I had to do everything on my own as opposed to my commercial projects, which usually have external financing, for which I usually have large budgets, a team and nice possibilities of sale. When working at this project my partner Sam Malko and I had to finance and produce the whole process. We have gone through many trials and paid a high price to put this dream into life. I’ve learnt a lot when making this film and have gained many professional and personal skills. One thing is for certain: this film has divided my life into “before” and “after”.
It is obvious that being a film director isn’t simple and it takes a lot of time and energy. How do you manage to find an ideal balance between your professional and personal life?
My main secret is that my wife is very active too, and she has got many goals and plans. We live in harmony, as it’s no problems for each of us to let the other be utterly absorbed with work when it’s necessary. The bottom line is that we always compensate it with a nice rest and pastime together.
By the way, Elina was beside me all the time during filming and she did everything she could to help me – she was the stylist, the designer and even more. I’m incredibly grateful to her for that.
In one of your short films, you address some problems that exist in the nowadays society. Do you consider highlighting important social and other problems critical when creating a movie?
It’s obvious that people of art should speak about problems of the society because they have influence on people and their minds. Their creative work can change the world for better. But I have always been adherent to a softer careful implementation of such topics into my works. I don’t want my works to shout, I want them to speak in a calm manner, so that people want to listen to them, I want them speak not directly, but more delicately, on the level of the subtlest matters and perceptions as this is the surest way to make one think and reflect, change one’s opinion and vision about things.
3 COMPONENTS OF JENSEN’s SUCCESS
1 – Industriousness.
I can’t stop till I bring something to an end. External factors just can’t stop me.
2 – Craving for knowledge and personal development.
I’m keen on self-education, I start every morning with a book, I watch all online video podcasts and master classes on topics I’m interested in. Even while driving I usually listen to audiobooks or podcasts. I enjoy getting new knowledge and I’m convinced that it is extremely important.
3 – Flexibility.
If the things are not going my way, I can easily change the plan. If I fail, I try to turn this failure into an opportunity, if I don’t know something, I learn it. I never try to change anyone or join any conflicts, as they are never helpful for the most important things. I try to always keep my options open and take everything calmly. Be as calm as water – this is a Japanese wisdom, which I use in all life situations.