All men dream, but not equally. Some people dream big but never reach that goal. Punit Dhesi never made a conscious decision to step behind the lens, but the unexpected move is paying off. In addition Fresno, California may not be the first place that you would immediately think of searching, to find the next great Hip Hop video director, but judging by his work Punit will definitely not disappoint you.
He’s only been doing videos for three years, and already has worked with a frenzy of artist from Chuck Dimes, Clouded Vision, Fashawn and Reflection Eternal. DXnext speaks to Punit Dhesi to get the low down on how it goes down. When building a reel like his.
The Start Behind The Lens: “I’ve been doing this for about three years now, since 2007. I started with Fashawn’s first video and just kept going since there. I didn’t go to school for it I just kind of always had a little bit of an interest in it. I tried to go school for it; I did a semester at Fresno State. I just didn’t really like the program, plus I didn’t really need it, so I left and just kept doing it like I was doing it. It’s not that I was more advanced than their program, but rather that their program was just so behind. The things I’ve learned on my own were greater than anything that they were ever going to be able to teach me.”
Getting Work: “I’ve never really had to approach an artist. They always approached me first and things went from there. It first started with Fashawn we we’re kind of just playing around and then the video got picked up and started getting play from TV, and winning awards, so everything just picked up from there.”
Creating Concepts: “I can come up with something on my own or with the artist. Sometimes it’s a little bit of both. I can listen to a record and play it and play it until I can come up with something on my own and if they like it we’ll run with it. Sometime I will take what they already have and build on it a little bit more or we can just work on it together. It all depends on my relationship with the artist and how comfortable we are working together. I can do anything nothing is impossible because we can figure it out.”
Treatment Turnaround: “Sometimes the treatments just come right to you. I mean sometimes I can just hear a couple a bars and already know what I want to do. But when it comes to you, it sort of just clicks. Most of the time, I just play the record over and over on repeat. I do this to go through ever thing like the instruments and lyrics to try and just feel everything to find the inspiration behind the music.”
Following Others’ Work: “I definitely check out the works of others. Probably one of the guys that I watch the most is Jason Goldwatch and his work. There’s a few others that I watch because I always like to see what else is being introduced. I like to watch everybody’s new approach to the gorilla style of directing. I compare their work to see if at all it is relevant to the type of work that I’m doing. I don’t know if I’d say it’s competitive but sometimes I’ll see a video that’s so dope that I’ll feel almost mad at myself like “man I gotta step my game up.”
Implementing The Culture Into The Scenery: “If it’s a west coast artist that really embodies that whole west coast vibe, then it’s really important to integrate their culture with visual elements. Those traits become apart of the visual aspects that you want to project with the song. For example I did a Strong Arm Steady video and I put a bouncing [Chevrolet] Impala in L.A. in it. But it’s not going to be something that I have to intentionally do.”
Being Able To Work Within The Budget: “I’m really comfortable with being able to work within any type of budget. With working with all the technology these days it doesn’t really take much to get the job done well. I try to shoot as much as I can in Fresno because that’s where I’m from and you don’t have to pay for permits. We usually can pull from different locations to make something happen but if not than we just think of simple treatments that are dope and don’t cost anything to make.”
Other Directorial Interests: “Right now I just want to go as far as I can go in the music business with my videos. I never really was a film dude, so I never had much interest in moving on to making movies. I’m just a Hip Hop dude, I started off deejaying and making beats. Everyone used to call me for beats now they call me for my videos instead. For now I just want to take my music videos as far as possible. Eventually I wouldn’t mind getting into commercials and documentaries but for now the music videos are my passion.”