We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexander McKee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexander, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I believe that any and all aspects of working in a creative field are filled with risks by nature. Firstly, it is a career path that doesn’t have a defined tier system — you can’t chart a path of promotions from Intern to CEO like you can in so many other professions.
Yet most importantly, I feel risk each and everyday that I try to put a new idea together and create a film, music video, or commercial. Artists need to give themselves more credit for opening up their emotions and mentality to the world on a daily basis. It takes a lot of bravery to show who you are and creatively attempt to show how a situation in life makes you feel.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
To be where I am professionally today is the result of what I could call a decade of “training.” At 28, I feel confident in saying that for the last 5-6 years I have been able to find my own style and footing as a filmmaker, but 12 to 22 was the formative journey.
When you’re a kid running around with a camera asking for your friends to come over and film something after school, it seems so fanciful. But even then, you must be patient and realize you’re asking your peers — who probably only want to get home and play video games or start their homework — for a massive favor! You can’t expect them to love this process as much as you do.
Communicating is perhaps the most important part of being a director. You need to have all the answers, and that was one of the earliest challenges I had to face.
Those backyard movies that you hear famous directors describe are absolutely a real thing — it was for me at least. There is such beauty in going back and seeing those early short films as a diary. I can see where I was in life, how I was feeling, and what I was striving to be as a young filmmaker.
The other natural challenge as a result of that is learning to not worry about being “impressive.” There is no technical manual of what makes a great film, only a story that brings forth emotions in its audience. Staying true to the stories I wanted to tell, rather than exploring what I thought others wanted to see, was perhaps the greatest and most important lesson I ever learned in my field.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
What a great question — I’m trying to think of an answer that doesn’t involve the beach or Malibu for something a little different! But then again, you can’t beat that view.
The Malibu Wine Safaris are just a blast, plain and simple.
I would have to take my friend to The Latigo Kid in Agoura Hills too. If you want THE best margaritas and chips in town, that’s the place to go. I’ve been going for years, and consider the owners and staff members to be like family.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To think of who else deserves a credit and recognition in my story is a seemingly endless list — no one can pursue this type of profession alone, in my opinion.
My parents have been my biggest fans since day one. Whether talking to cast or crew members, it is not uncommon to hear stories of parents that didn’t fully “get” this way of life, that didn’t embrace this creative lifestyle with the same encouraging fervor — but mine certainly did.
They have felt my excitement of success and the pain of my disappointments. They are on this journey with me emotionally — at times it seems they can be more mentally taxed about this difficult profession more than I am! But that has never stopped them from being thrilled that their son has found something in life he loves more than anything else.
They have given me a gift that I can never repay, one I can only hope to pay forward to my own children one day and give them the same love and encouragement that mine did.