Keeping up with the Jonze.

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“The things you feel most embarassed about are the things most worth doing”, this coming from the man who lead the Torrence Community Dance Group to notoriety with an unforgettable dance sequence in Fatboy Slim’s Praise You music video, which he also directed.

“The things you feel most embarassed about are the things most worth doing.”

Spike Jonze isn’t just a creative force to be reckoned with, he also happens to be one of the most down to earth people I have ever met, this despite sitting at least twenty rows away from him as he spoke from atop a stage to a hall of hundreds of people. It felt more like I was in his living room perched in a big armchair listening to candid tales about cutting his own hair with dog-clippers as a thirteen year old after taking inspiration from cult 80s film Rock ‘n’ Roll High School – something he still does to this day (only now he’s traded the dog-clippers for actual hairdresser scissors he carries with him everywhere he goes). Or of how he felt like he was “running away with the circus” when he joined Freestylin’, a BMX magazine popular in the late 80s/early 90s as an assistant editor at the ripe old age of seventeen.

Spike Jonze isn’t just a creative force to be reckoned with, he also happens to be one of the most down to earth people I have ever met, this despite sitting at least twenty rows away from him as he spoke from atop a stage to a hall of hundreds of people.

I honestly didn’t know much about Spike before the talk, other than his first feature film (and the subject of our year 10 English class film study) Being John Malkovich and his Oscar-nominated film Her, a story Spike conceived 8 years before it was madeAll I knew was that the name Spike Jonze seemed to appear almost synonymously with and within pop culture. After a quick search, I discovered that Spike was the mastermind behind a smorgasbord of music videos, a medium he naturally gravitated towards because even as a kid “music was what I was sitting in my room dreaming to.”

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Everything from girl grunge fave Cannonball by the Breeders, to Bjork’s classic It’s Oh So Quiet and Fatboy Slim’s infamous Weapon Of Choice, which saw Christopher Walken transform into a boss of a dance machine. Then there’s his stint as co-creator and executive producer of Jackass. Yes, THAT crazy MTV stunt show (each to their own, I guess). And he’s even done the acting thing with parts in Girls, Three Kings and Wolf of Wall Street, where Spike was surprised to discover how loose and free working with his hero Martin Scorcese was, likening him to “a jazz master directing a 500-strong orchestra playing improv.”

“Music was what I was sitting in my room dreaming to.”

But for someone with a pretty solid CV, it didn’t come without a few missteps along the way. Spike’s attempt to bring classic children’s book, Harold The Purple Crayon to the screen were hampered by compromises which happened “millimetre by millimetre” as film studios played puppet master to his creative vision.

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But Spike’s roots in making skate videos, a time when he “shot a lot and made a lot of mistakes”, taught him to keep at it. Like a true skater, grazed elbows and bruised knees don’t get in the way of nailing the next trick. That next trick just so happens to be his latest gig as creative director of Vice Media Inc, a growing behemoth of a youth media brand priding itself on bringing  bold journalism and cutting-edge content to millennials around the world.

But for now, Spike seems pretty contented cutting some random guy’s shaggy hair on stage in front of hundreds of people and encouraging us to join his self-empowering ‘cut your own hair’ movement because “it’s free and it’s fast!”

Are bowl haircuts still cool?

x Grandma AL

[Images courtesy of Huck Magazine, celebratingchristopherwalken.com, Dazed]

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