THE CREATIVE WARRIOR.
Hannah Lux Davis attended Create & Cultivate and now she's on our C&C 100 list. Let that sink in.
Also let it sink in that the creative powerhouse is one of the most sought-after music video directors in the game. Having worked with talent like Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Hailee Steinfeld, Demi Lovato, , Jessie J, and Tinashe, the 31 year old is unstoppable.
Her videos have racked up billions of views. Yes, BILLIONS. (Other words that start with B: Boss, Badass, Big Cheese.)
After moving from Seattle to LA, where Hannah attended the Los Angeles Film School. When it came to her final project, she made a music video instead of the typical short film.
It's that kind of creative hustle and risk-taking that have made her successful. She PA'd on multiple sets, just to make contacts. She did the same thing working as a makeup artist. The whole time she was networking like nobody's business/made it all her business. She may not have known what was going to happen, but she did know how to throw her name in the race.
And she just keeps running shit.
More from Hannah below.
So. We HAVE to bring it up, because it makes us giddy. You attended Create & Cultivate. What was that experience like?
It was inspiring to be in a space with dozens of like-minded women, all eager to write their own story in whatever capacity that meant to them. The atmosphere was all also incredibly special with its attention to detail. Everything from the neon signs to the chairs we sat on felt curated.
Was there advice you took from that day that you still apply to your career?
What stuck with me the most is the importance of persistence.
You've worked with the most amazing set of female artists. What has that experience been like?
My interest in music videos began with artists like Britney, Christina, and Avril, so to be working with this new era of female artists has really been a dream come true. It's been challenging but incredibly rewarding. Each artist has their own set of idiosyncrasies and it's different every time. As a director, the collaborative process is one in which you have to be receptive, confident, and just enjoy the ride!
Is there a standout moment for you?
Anytime I get to work with Ariana on a project for her music, it's always pretty major for me. I have so much respect for her as an artist. She's so in tune with herself (on top of being crazy talented). When we work together it's a real collaboration. She's at a point in her career where there usually aren't too many other voices involved, so it's always really liberating, for both of us, to just be creative and go for it! I definitely cherish our relationship. Directing the visuals for her Dangerous Tour was a real honor.
Another standout moment would be directing the Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated documentary. The premiere itself was such a trip! It was insanely rewarding to watch the film with a huge audience and I was so excited about the positive reaction it received. It was easily the hardest project I've ever done!
Where do your drive and passion come from?
The work! I just want to make cool shit and you can't do that if you don't have drive or passion
When you run into a career obstacle, what drives you forward?
I always say that every job is a learning lesson. These learning lessons usually have a common theme: communication. Whether it's assuming someone understands my vision, not checking in with certain departments, not testing something ahead of time, or not fighting for something I know I need to execute the idea, I always take something away from the project. The size of that lesson varies of course, but there's always a unique obstacle of some sort that presents itself...and I'm grateful for it! Like, "OK COOL! That happened. It won't happen again!". Knowing I'm learning and growing each job definitely drives me forward!
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Laziness or negativity on set! It gets me off my game and brings the energy down.
What is it like being a female director in such a male-dominated world?
I'd be lying if I said it wasn't awesome. Now more than ever, brands, artists, and agencies understand that they need a female's perspective, and I'm loving what's being created! That being said, there are a TON of female directors in the music video and commercial space and a ton of really great talent. I don't know how much longer people can continue to say "male-dominated."
Do you get tired of hearing the words "male-dominated?" (We do.)
What's something you'd like people to know about your job that they probably don’t?
It's a lot of writing! If someone were to tell me 10 years ago that I'd be writing as much as I do on the daily...well I actually don't know what I would have done, but I wish someone would have warned me!
IYO-- How can we stay original when we are so saturated with other people's work?
This is tough. When writing music video or commercial treatments it's expected to include tons of imagery to support your written concept, and it can be hard for everyone to step away from those visuals. Originality comes with practice. It comes with taking the time to find your voice - and the understanding that you need to listen to it.
What about your career makes you feel the most complete?
I believe what I'm doing now (and will do in the future) truly encompasses all of my passions. For as long as I can remember. I've been into visual storytelling, fashion, makeup, music, and sports - and it has ALL come together in this career that I've made for myself. I pull from all of my passions to direct. For example, I used to do makeup, and now I get to creative direct looks for massive artists. I used to play the drums growing up, and now, when I edit, I cut to music and communicate with music composers. Most recently, I directed a Gatorade commercial and got to work with athletes! It's super fun to combine all my passions under one umbrella! I also get to work with my fiancé (he's my Executive Producer) and my best friends every day. That's pretty awesome.
If you had to trade jobs with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?
TBH... a busy stay-at-home mom with a SICK house and tons of kids!
At what point in your career did you find the confidence to really take charge and become the woman you are today?
Turning 30 was good for me. Competition in my industry is brutal and I found myself constantly comparing myself to others - professionally and personally. "This person is booking more work!", "That person's doing cooler projects!", "She looks way better than me while doing all of that!"... a lot of that kind of thing. Once I turned 30, for whatever reason my mind settled quite a bit. I'm not saying I'm made of confidence now, but with age comes a bit of wisdom and appreciation for all artists. I know I've put in my time and deserve to be here.
What's the best advice you've ever been given? Or your favorite piece of #realtalk?
This industry can be demanding and chaotic. My rep, Tommy LaBuda and I will have the occasional pep talk (these are quite often actually, haha) about tuning out the noise prioritizing what's on my plate. He's someone who reminds me that when I take time for myself, ideas will follow!
What song do you sing in the shower when you’ve had a bad day?
Such a sucker for this song... Florida Georgia Line ft. Nelly, "Cruise"!
Photo Credit: @davisfactor