Dexton Deboree: “KNOW WHO YOU ARE”

Instinct. Integrity. Unwavering commitment. Unyielding vision. Relentless pursuit of making a difference, inspiring and empowering the world through storytelling. I gained these ideals through sport, and those building blocks define my life, my path, my success, my understanding and processing of failure and my fulfilment in life. As a part of my series about “Big Ideas […]

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Instinct. Integrity. Unwavering commitment. Unyielding vision. Relentless pursuit of making a difference, inspiring and empowering the world through storytelling. I gained these ideals through sport, and those building blocks define my life, my path, my success, my understanding and processing of failure and my fulfilment in life.

As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dexton Deboree.

Dexton Deboree is part visionary, strategist, content pioneer, diversely talented Writer/Director/Producer and creative hybrid.

He has worked on such multi-faceted projects as Grammy-nominated James Bond’s “Quantum Of Solace”, Emmy-winning Branded Content special “Yes, Virginia”¸ and award-winning BRAND campaigns for Jordan Brand, Nike, Major League Baseball, Wilson and Major League Soccer, among others.

He Wrote, Directed & Produced the award-winning Feature Film, “Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1” which premiered at Tribeca and now streams on Tidal, on Hulu and most Digital Platforms around the world.

He is currently in post-production on a Docu-series with SMAC & Believe Entertainment, in production on a docu series around a professional athlete and in development on a number of scripted and unscripted films and tv series in partnership with athletes and co-production companies on the forefront of sports and culture.

Dexton Co-founded Content Agency Los York and is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Falkon — a creative content company born at the intersection of Advertising & Entertainment.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you please tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It started with a powerful poem that just showed up out of nowhere when I was in college. After I wrote it I kind of woke up and my whole world changed. From that point forward I was on a mission to bring words to life in visual storytelling, transferred to film school and the rest is history.

Can you please share with us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Though I’ve always been a writer, I spent a lot of my career as a producer, EP and on the business side. Somewhere mid-relationship with Jordan brand while I was still the account lead, the brand asked me to write a short film celebrating the Hare Jordan — the 20th anniversary of the ad campaign that pre-empted Space Jam with Bugs and MJ. Months later after hearing nothing about it — they invited me to a VO recording with the voice of Bugs Bunny. When I walked in the room someone introduced me as the director, sort of accidentally, I didn’t miss a beat, step up, sat in the director’s chair in the sound booth and directed the session. And from that point on, I was a writer and director for Jordan brand and never looked back. So my very first piece as a director ever was a short film for Jordan, directing Bugs Bunny with Warner Brothers and Amhad Rashad in a studio and it all just snowballed from there. Similar to that poem I believe fate stepped in and laid out its plans for my destiny much more than I plotted it all out and made it happen.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?

Instinct. Integrity. Unwavering commitment. Unyielding vision. Relentless pursuit of making a difference, inspiring and empowering the world through storytelling. I gained these ideals through sport, and those building blocks define my life, my path, my success, my understanding and processing of failure and my fulfilment in life.

Ok thank you for that. Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”? How do you think this will change the world?

There’s a few. But I think more than anything, it’s this idea of using storytelling, and more specifically sports storytelling as a vehicle to help heal, empower communities and inspired future generations to either stand up, speak out, fight for what they believe in and take real action to push for change. Sports has ALWAYS held this power and we’re at a point that it’s the biggest genre of culture at large and has the widest reach across the globe so these stories through the lens of sport have never been more impactful or held the ability to truly help change the world. There are some things in the area of filmmaking — across content that I’ve been developing since COVID hit that have allowed me to remain actively in production even during complete lock down that really hint at great innovation and the resulting impact on people’s time, finances, pandemic agnostic and far more environmentally sustainable long term and far beyond Covid’s presence.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?

In sports storytelling, it came about during the making of Unbanned. I went into it of course knowing that looking for the truth to the mystery or real definition for the ZIETGIEST of both MJ and his Shoes was not going to be as obvious as most people previously explained and far deeper than a surface explanation. But what I found really unearthed this idea of just how impactful the sports superhero ended up being on an entire generation and community of people. Empowering and inspiring every young black boy with the hope and conviction that they too could fly, or at least stand tall, walk proudly, speak up and just BE who they are and find greatness and fulfilment within that was just such a profound concept and truth. Many other truths emerged as well but that simple and profound truth really further focused my own life and my mission to tell stories that really matter and truly impact the world.

What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?

The world simply needs it. With so much hardcore news and real stories rolling out that are negative or reminders of hate and prejudice and tragedy we need an even balance of really inspiring and empowering stories that educate people on true history, teach them by way of example, inspire them by way of powerful examples leading lives and actions worth taking inspiration from and finally illuminating and amplifying people and moments that truly deserve to be celebrated, while also furthering ideas and examples of people and moments that blazed trails before us and thus instill in us the knowledge and belief that we can do it too.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

ALWAYS BE PRESENT — It’s something I’ve had to learn over time but BEING present and really conscious of every moment — good and bad — is the most fulfilling part. And I can say there were times coming up that I was so focused on my destination that I missed some of the journey. And even the hard times, the struggle, the rejections and the failures, all of it was life and alive and so much to gain from.

TRUST YOUR GUT — Coming up it’s common to look up at those that have gone before you or are in a place you want to be, or have achieved things similar to what you want to achieve — to consider them the experts and you the novice. I always used to assume that everyone knew so much more than I did, that their success or accomplishment meant they were smarter, wiser, more experienced, more talented than I was. But over time I’ve learned that that’s not true and that true instinct and personal authenticity is as valuable as experience and real wisdom. Wisdom and instinct are really very close cousins and come from the same place which isn’t always book knowledge or perfect tangible proof or logical experience.

KEEP THE FAITH — Trust in the universal order of things is really essential to the long and winding road of life — but it’s really exaggerated in the realm of content and entertainment since logic and consistent progression can sometimes be very misleading or even uncertain and really kind of jump around in fits and starts that is a strange mix of talent, divine timing, social climate of the audience, ingredients of the market and just alignment on ideas and agendas across so many factors. Rather than riding the wave of ups and downs or creating false narratives of what something MEANS, just keeping the faith that the path you’re on, even if full of unexpected turns and unrealized expectations is all very naturally part of your path.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF NO MATTER WHAT — Similar to the above but more specific to really taking things personally, rejection, failure, a lack of appreciation or validation for ideas, are all easy triggers for people to abandon their self-belief under the guise that the “proof” states they aren’t worthy, good enough, smart enough, talented enough or right about an idea. And other’s opinions are never the ultimate and final judge of any of the above.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE — I’d say one of the greatest keys to success I’ve learned is that the more you actually know who you are — good, bad and indifferent — the more aligned you are to your purpose, your calling, your destiny and your true offering to the world and the more you’re aligned to that the more your life conspires to make it so.

Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?

Somewhat repetitive to the above but I think above all it’s always maintaining a champion’s mindset — this unwavering commitment to persevere, to triumph and to really find fulfilment in the game along the course of it. I think that fundamental sports ideal has been the bedrock of my life. I became a high school wrestler as a sophomore in high school. I was too late to the sport, to tall and too skinny, and too uncoordinated to ever be a great wrestler. But I found my place on the varsity team as the guy that could outwork anyone and thus, I drove and motivated the team by my sheer work ethic. I was the fastest guy on the team, the most conditioned and could outlast anyone in any test of endurance which is a huge element of wrestling. It was that foundation that allowed me to later implore that same discipline to writing, to training as an everyday practice and to tackle life via a mantra I came up with quite a number of years ago that I’m always training, preparing, eating, and playing in the sport of life — where life itself is a sport, I’m an athlete within it and I’m committed to being the very best I am capable in my sport. That has really served and guided me most of all.

How can our readers follow you on social media?



Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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