By Jer’Mykeal McCoy
Phresh & Professional
NASHVILLE – On a cool Sunday night in December 2012, the production crew of Reel Focus sets the scene for a music video that gives the aura of a Micheal Jackson’s video of the 1980’s. Setting for the evening’s shoot takes place in foyer of Caravath Hall on the campus of Fisk University. The rose pedal draped floor of the 19th Century castles, along with dim lighting gave way to the breakaway dance scene for a local music artist that is about to take place. The video is not under the direction of hip-hop director Hype Williams or John Landis of “Thriller”, but up-and-coming cinematographer/director Spencer Glover.
The music video was part of a two-day shoot that took nearly a month’s worth of planning by Glover, 26, and his Reel Focus crew for local Nashville music artist Destini Winters song “Shoulda Waited”. Shooting ranged from scenes at the Nashville Zoo to the historic Fisk University in North Nashville. The crew had be filming since 8 a.m. that morning after being up the night before until 4 a.m. The hours demanded to complete a video shot that had to be done that evening or risk of being cut off mid-scene by Fisk administration for going over time.
Glover’s love for film started at a young age with a knack for movie soundtracks. The Portsmouth, Va. native says he used to remember the music to all his favorite movies as a child and sung them while the movie played. His interests in documentaries lead to short films that eventually landed him to music videos. Now he’s one of Nashville hottest young directors.
“At the end of the day I’m a director, but first I’m pretty much a cinematographer,” said Glover. “I love to create space in somebody’s mind when they are watching.”
After being attracted by a band scholarship, Glover sharpened his director skills as a student at Tennessee State University studying communications which he received his degree in May 2012 with a concentration in production. Being apart of TSU-98 Tiger News, the TSU student ran bi-weekly newscast, prompted him to use his voice in a leadership role. Glover said that directing news made him stay on top of things and if he was behind if he was not already several sets ahead. He said what lead his path to directing was his developed ability for talking to others.
The defining characteristic is not his beautiful eye for cinematography or experience, but his way of bringing out the best in his crew and talent. After several scenes that did not go to Glover’s liking, he offered Destini a few words of advice to send her performance to the next level, and it worked on the next take.
Glover prides himself on being an effective communicator and helping others. He is a big fan of reaching back, especially in film. His interactions in the film industry exposed him to the lack of diversity in film, particularly for African Americans.
“You really don’t see a lot of black directors, black cinematographers. I know when I go on set I might see one or two of us [African Americans],” said Glover. “I know I want to reach back and give someone the opportunity to do something new.”
Most of the members of Glover’s Reel Focus production crew are comprised of former classmates at TSU. He enjoys having the opportunity to continue working with them and seeing the progression of his crew. Gladly giving them advice on film, but loving the go-getter attitude they process to learn on their own.
“Reel Focus is the name. I’ve always liked catchy names and had a knack for being creative. I basically combined my belief in my work ethic and development it along with the focus of film and production to create the name,” said Glover who says the name can be broken down into two ways: reel focus (which speaks to tangible, film reels, quality of work, and focused images), and real focus (which is more of a play on his belief in hard work and a persistence to keep the standard of work high).
“I literally heard his name four times, from four separate people, from four walks of life,” said Domonique Billoups, manager of Destini Winters. “The chemistry was really natural and he’s a great energy to be around, and that’s very important.”
Glover’s works have lead to a list of awards including: 1st Place for Best Film in the 2nd Annual Tennessee State University 48 Hour Shootout in 2012 and 2nd Place Best Film in the Nashville 48 Hour Shootout in 2011. His YouTube channel has received over 22 thousands views, 15 thousand which coming from his last music video for hip-hop artist Mariyo Deon.
Glovers says that his future in film is to continue to build his company and to produce high quality film, commercials, and music videos.
The Reel Focus creator says he wants to create an opportunity to reach back and actually employ students from HBCUs and give them a real network to industry standards and knowledge.
“Plan on putting in a lot of work hours, make sure you select you’re team wisely, and always be open to new ideas and constant learning,” says Glover when giving advice for up-and-coming directors.
Some of Glover’s personal goals include: winning a major film festival, an Academy Award for cinematography, and to continue to inspire others thru film. All of which are accomplishable feats for the young directing phenom.