Nate Sukley of Daydream Productions: “Patience”

Patience. As Big Sean said, “it took 10 years to be an overnight success.” Everything can’t change overnight. However, if you apply daily implements of change to your life, your life will change. I remember times where I wanted to quit the video stuff. I still get like that sometimes. Not going to lie, it can […]

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Patience. As Big Sean said, “it took 10 years to be an overnight success.” Everything can’t change overnight. However, if you apply daily implements of change to your life, your life will change.

I remember times where I wanted to quit the video stuff. I still get like that sometimes. Not going to lie, it can hurt when a video you spend 2 months on only gets 100 views. But at the end of the day, I still get paid to do what I love. It only takes time for people to see the talent.

As a part of my series about leaders helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse and representative, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Nate Sukley.

As a 19 year old, Nate Sukley has already accomplished plenty. From founding his own brand Daydream Productions, to directing music videos full time, he most certainly has much to manage. He is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and tends to travel back and forth across the country to San Diego, California for college. Through forming Daydream, Nate has created a close-knit group of talented and young individuals that are scattered throughout the country. This group contains artists, musicians, producers, videographers, graphic designers, and many more types of creators. Their work consists of making their own music, creating their own visuals and spreading teamwork and motivation with any artists they team up with. With originality and consistency, this growing brand will only be focusing on improvement while diversifying the music scene and representing a new wave of culture.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always had the creative bug. Growing up, I would draw every day and constantly have music in my ears. I would dabble with every creative outlet there was. Over time, I found a passion for travel videos and they gained a decent amount of support. With that being said, an artist came to me and asked for a music video. After creating something like that and blending a love for original music and my own ideas, it stuck with me. I had plenty of creative friends in my life at the time and we grouped together a unit to organize our passions. That grouped transformed into Daydream Productions.

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

I would have to say working alongside Jaz Hookmaster Williams and Anthony Dent. These guys are out of this world in their crafts. It all started when I needed a college job. I didn’t want to work at a typical 9–5 because I was doing music videos as well, so I started reaching out to studios in my area of San Diego. Jaz was the first one to get back to me and immediately took me in to make a master course on producing music. Over the course of learning about music production from him, I came to learn he has worked with Mac Miller and many other artists I look up to. From there, he linked me up with Grammy winner Anthony Dent. He is known for producing for Jay Z, Beyonce, Diddy and many other big names. These master courses not only taught me a significant amount about the industry, but these guys have continuously given me opportunities after opportunities.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Everything about this industry is trial and error. There’s no getting around that part. The funniest thing I can think of is when I was when I was shooting a video in downtown Philadelphia in 2018. After seeing the abandoned warehouse location, I started hyping up the drone shots we could get off the roof. We began filming around mid-day inside the warehouse and I completely lost track of time because of all the graffiti in there. I was definitely in my element but started to rush. I told the guys we needed to get on the roof ASAP and started packing my gear up when I ripped the adaptor to my drone right in half. I knew ways around this problem, but it was just extremely embarrassing and ironic how I made the drone shots a key marketing piece and completely ruined it because I was rushing. We managed to get a few close drone shots but I couldn’t get anything too crazy without that stupid adaptor.

Ok thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our discussion. Can you describe how you are helping to make popular culture more representative of the US population?

My group is as diverse as it can gets. We’ve got artists perfecting their crafts right next to directors editing music videos and painters drawing something brand new. The thing about popular culture is that it sets a tone for a generation. The money, girls, drugs thing is old and pretty phony in my opinion. Anyone can rap about those things. It’s easy. We want to expand on the ideas that daydreaming holds. People need to get in touch with themselves, how they feel and how they are dealing with mental health. Depression and art come hand in hand, and it is important to value and balance those things.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by the work you are doing?

I would say that every single person in our group has had their lives switched upside down with the new work we have on our hands. A perfect example would be my friend Isaiah. After dropping out of high school, we got him into a deeper depth of music. He went back to finish high school and is now in college for music production, with him being one of our best producers now. A passion for craft can seriously change someone’s life.

As an insider, this might be obvious to you, but I think it’s instructive to articulate this for the public who might not have the same inside knowledge. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important to have diversity represented in Entertainment and its potential effects on our culture?

A perfect example of this would be Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians. In a society that was built off of white framework, it is rare to see people of proper race and ethnicity properly represented. White actors are constantly casted to portray Asian roles, for example. With Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, there was a shift like no other. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as people of many shapes, sizes and colors will be getting their chance at the spotlight. Our group consists of a diverse team of people with separate backgrounds and livelihoods. This key element screams diversity and originality. 1. Diversity brings new perspectives to the individual. 2. Without change, there is no growth. 3. Don’t you want to see something DIFFERENT and NEW?

Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do to help address the root of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

  1. Money driven devils should not be the ones calling the shots. They want profit, not quality.
  2. The era of popular music in today’s era does nothing but fuel toxicity into the youth of the world. The encouragement of explicit habits has created an era of cringy tik toking pre teens that think they know everything about everything.
  3. Work with new people. There is talent in so many artists that have gone unnoticed. Who cares if they have 500 followers? “Clout” should never be the leading factor in creating art. If you truly have love for the craft, you give talent people a chance.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

A boss sits back and yells orders. A leader is the one in the front showing by example on how to get something done. They show the way and put in the work, alongside with everyone else on their team. Lead by action, not just words.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. You do not need school to improve. If anything, school can very much hold you back, especially if you don’t know what you want to do yet. Don’t waste your money taking GE classes. It’s not worth it.

After dreading high school and fueling my dream to move to California, I finally graduated and make it to San Diego. I enrolled in college for Business Marketing only to find myself stuck taking GE classes for two years. That’s two years of paying for classes that are required, which I never had interest in to begin with. If you want something, just learn it on your own at this point.

2. Youtube. You can learn anything and everything by watching tutorials. That’s how I learned new things for editing and how my producers learned where to start.

I taught myself how to film, direct and edit on my own. Most of it was trial and error. You get the equipment and try and try and try. When you hit rough spots or have an urge to know more, YouTube is the way to go.

3. Networking/ Credentials. People backing your workflow is everything in this game. There’s all types of people in this world and if you scratch someone’s back, they’ll scratch yours. Win/ win.

Over time, I’ve come to know many talented individuals. Some are celebrities and some are completely of the grid. It doesn’t matter. People of all kinds have helped me get to where I am and I’m in no position to take all the credit for myself. I needed and still need help. It’s okay to admit that. It’s how you grow.

4. Communication. It’s important to let people you work with know how you are feeling and what your life is consisting of. Nine times out of ten they will understand where you are coming from, and you can figure out the problems from there.

With a group that is scattered across the country, it can be difficult trying to stay on the same page. A wonderful thing we picked up was starting weekly zoom sessions. It keeps us united and organized in our tunnel vision mindset.

5. Patience. As Big Sean said, “it took 10 years to be an overnight success.” Everything can’t change overnight. However, if you apply daily implements of change to your life, your life will change.

I remember times where I wanted to quit the video stuff. I still get like that sometimes. Not going to lie, it can hurt when a video you spend 2 months on only gets 100 views. But at the end of the day, I still get paid to do what I love. It only takes time for people to see the talent.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This question is almost impossible for me to answer only because I’m not on that level yet. When my opportunity comes, I will jump at it. In my opinion, the change I would want to see is for people to be comfortable in their own skin and take confidence in their actions. In an era of social media, everyone wants to be something they’re not. People want more, and don’t count their blessings. If we could all take pride in our current situations and understand there’s room for growth, I feel that everyone would be better off. To understand others’ situations and be empathetic is another thing. Everyone’s trying to improve, it’s just about perspective and attitude. This is all our first time at living life and we are all trying to figure it out as we go.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One Man Can Change the World. Big Sean. I was at a dark spot in life when this song came into my life. It gave me a hope that nothing else ever will and I don’t think that’ll fade away any time soon. Inspiration hits at any time, you just have to be willing to let it into your life.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Cole Bennett, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Rory Kramer where y’all at????? If you gave the kid a chance, I bet you wouldn’t regret it. I guarantee I’d work harder than anyone you’ve got hired and you might even learn a thing or two.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@natesukley on Instagram

Nate Sukley on Youtube

Daydream Productions on Youtube

Follow the journey !

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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