Videographer in Los Angeles, California
As a Director, and Production Designer, Joe Rey’s resume reads like a who’s who of top corporations and artists: Chrysler, The Backstreet Boys, Dr. Pepper, LeAnn Rimes to Busta Ryhmes. Growing up in Camden, New Jersey music was always playing in the neighborhood. Joe honed his technical skills with some of the best Directors in the business such as Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Terry Gilliam, Hype Williams, Marcus Nispel, Bob Giraldi, and Joseph Khan. Some of Joe Rey’s production designs have been honored as part of a permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art. Joe’s ever expanding creativity finds him on the cusp of a new adventure, a science he has coined called “POPOLOGY®”.
“I pretty much grew up on listening to the radio. Before I was born, my mom was one of the first group of dancers on American Bandstand, a show that began out of Philadelphia from 1955 through 1959. Music was very much introduced during my childhood because my Mom loved to dance. Radio Dance music was an important genre for me in the 1970s and 1980s. I loved to listen to Madonna, and Michael Jackson; really, all kinds of music. As I got older I turned to more rock n’ roll music. I think that early exposure to music made me want to be a part of music video creation, and being involved in the filming industry was the direction I took.
... I went to the Art Institute in Philadelphia for a couple of semesters. Actually I went until the money ran out. We were a very low-income family, and my Mom had to spend my tuition money for living expenses. I had to drop out when I was 16. Not having a full education, per se, it makes a young mind anxious, so I became a ‘professional intern’ to learn the skill of film-making. The production company that I was working for put me with Director Garrett Brown. He invented the Steadicam and won Oscars for it by using it in The Shining and Rocky, and lots of other classic movies".
As I learned more about production design and art I thought I could fill a niche. I printed out $40 worth of business cards and called myself a production designer. I started getting gigs pretty much right away. It was basically good old-fashioned tenacity. In the late 1980s I hooked up with a friend who was building a film studio in Philadelphia. At that time, Philadelphia was becoming the market film town. Stuart Levy hired me to be his assistant to help him build “Metropolis Studios” (of which Rey named). I pitched Stuart on the idea of me having my own shop attached to the film studio and he went for it.
In late 1989 we opened Metropolis Studios as a premium & premiere shooting stage within the Philadelphia city limits. We were getting top-run commercials, and features accomplished. Then we got into music videos. I went to New York to pitch our studio. I remember this one company called Classic Concepts Production Company that headlined a director named Lionel C. Martin, an important member of the music video world. I convinced Lionel to hire us. Well, the first job that he called us for was the unknown of band called ‘Boyz II Men’. We did “Motown Philly”, and then a few weeks later, the video was on MTV blowing up.
After that experience Lionel C. Martin became a substantial client for me, bringing Bobby Brown, TLC, Keith Sweat, Lavert, Whitney Houston and many more. My road to directing was supported by a lot of talented directors that taught me. From each experience I learned something and built on it. I started to work with other production designers like Hype Williams. This was in early 1991 when no one was really rapping. I started doing rap music videos that included Busta Rhymes. This escalated to working with legendary artists like Janet Jackson, Spice Girls, Mary J., Dr. Dre, The Offspring, Joan Osbourne and many of the early greats of the 1990s.
I then went into my own business called ACME Art Department, (Art Department for Commercials Music Videos, Etc.). We had a bi-coastal art team that would basically do all the work from New York, Philadelphia and LA. I went on to build VH1’s sound studio in --.... The sets had to be really cool, big, elaborate, Techtronic and interesting. It was very competitive work. I also did work for MTV. When MTV was branding itself and expanding into Asia, they sent me as a production designer. I got to work on Austin Powers. I co-directed with Joseph Kahn working on Backstreet Boys’ Larger Than Life, and I got to production design the many space craft sets, and shoot B-Camera.
I’ve had so many amazing opportunities, because if I worked one good job, then I got the next. In one sitting, I couldn’t even tell you all the projects and artistries that I have been a part of. I can say that from the age of 19 to pretty much age 36, I worked relentlessly full-time.
But in 2001, two weeks before September 11, I had my Jerry McGuire moment. It was a cathartic experience of questioning myself. I asked, ‘What is MY message? Who am I in this business? What more can I contribute?’ That is when I came up with this word POPOLOGY®. It was built on all the pop culture experiences I had up to that point.
Then September 11th happened and I thought, ‘We need a peace strategy, some form of creative production that is not political, that endorses and supports brands, and promotes music and religion and grief systems through the science of popular culture.’ It took me 14 years to get here. It is about getting people to join in the conversation about the science of what is popular. I believe that the concept of what is popular needs to be shared. I want people have an equal voice with corporations and media advertising. I want to create awareness.
My question is; are you participating, or are you a passive consumer?
"Pop culture can actually take more from you than you are putting in. I don’t want popular culture running people. I want them to have the tools to direct it. We are basically creating a media literacy education curriculum with POPOLOGY®. See, Think, Do!™ We are creating micro-licensing opportunities where you can pick your favorite music videos, and then tell your story of why you love them, (ala’ D.I.Y. MTV) which basically gives more airplay to those videos". www.....com
For Now, Let's Get Your Music Video Shot & Your Artistry Mass Appeal!
Music matters to me because . . . I matter to music!