With Pharrell Williams spending a lot of time in Miami for the past few years, he is basically become a local act. But if you need an even stronger local angle, FriendsWithYou-decorated cars aside, you only have to look at the promos circulating around the interwebs for N.E.R.D's new single "Hot N' Fun" featuring Nelly Furtado, off the band's upcoming album Nothing. Directed by Miami filmmaker Fro Rojas -- same man responsible for the winning Rachel Goodrich "Light Bulb" video and Jesp's video for "Rising Sun" -- the promos showcase the things people do every day that are hot and, yes, you guessed it, fun.
A little further background information on Rojas: The 30-year-old filmmaker was born in Miami, but later in life moved to Los Angeles for several years. He came back to the Magic City after his mom passed away from cancer and the responsibility to raise his little sister fell on him. In the five years that he's been back he says he's glad to have returned and see Miami go through its own art transformation and coming to life. In addition to music videos and commercial work, he also directs short films.
Rojas took some time to answer a few questions about his work with N.E.R.D and how it came about.
New Times: How did N.E.R.D go about contacting you about creating these promo videos?
Fro Rojas: N.E.R.D's label emailed me. They said they had asked around town and my name came up several times because they wanted to work with local emerging talent. So they got a hold of my email and set up a meeting with the label first then I chatted with Chad and Shay of N.E.R.D. They played the album for me, and, I must say, it sounds amazing. Really hyped for it to come out.
What was the concept behind the videos? How did you go about creating them?
The concept was to keep it simple, natural and make different and various videos of what "Hot N' Fun" could be to different people. For example a dancer, people partying, kids skateboarding, etc. I got my team together and went ahead and captured moments in people's lives of what hot n fun is to them. For example the girls shopping was shot at Mina Miami Beach. The girls in the video Monica, Michelle, and Mary are all sisters that own the store. So we went over there and just had them trying on different clothes and having fun with it all. The party scene was a party my great friend and actor in numerous projects, Melvin Lima was having, and we set up the Jenga idea and some other bits but most of it is everyone just having a good time. The girl dancing is a great and talented dancer named Amanda De La Nuez, which I had an idea of a performance dancer rehearsing and practicing really hard. So that to her is "Hot N' Fun."
Are the people in your videos just ordinary, everyday people like your friends?
The people in the videos are all local people. Each does their own thing..but the idea was to capture natural moments. So I knew Amanda was a dancer so we got her rehearsing and practicing. We knew the Minagorri girls owned a store and we wanted to capture them just shopping and having fun. The party scene was just a bunch of friends having a good time. The kids skating was just us filming kids skate at the local park all natural and fun. The idea was to keep it as natural as possible capturing moments with these people. Nothing should have felt to set up.
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Where will the promos appear?
Honestly not sure where the teasers will appear or what are the plans for the videos. When we initially talked it was going on blogs and YouTube and stuff. I sent it to them about a month ago and they told me which ones they loved. But I know they've been busy touring and gearing up for the release of the album and I got busy shooting some other projects and commercials, so I just left it up to them. I posted them on my Vimeo site because so many people worked on them with me and so many of them wanted to see them already so I felt it necessary to put them up.