Kenji Claudio is managing partner/director, executive producer at BYOB Bring Your Own Board Orange County TV series.
This week on Sam's Dream Blog, Kenji shares about following childhood passions, making your own opportunities and finding your team.
Sam's Dream Blog: What’s your professional dream? How did your dream originate? How has it evolved?
Kenji Claudio: My professional dream is to write and produce fun, compelling stories in film, television, any medium that allows for the story to be told and enjoyed. I was four years old when I watched Jim Carrey's "The Mask" and was in awe of how somebody got all of the intense car action scenes on camera – like, did somebody just happen to have a camera and press play when all of this happened? My childlike awe for film has stayed with me through the years.
I graduated, majoring in public relations and working in a comfy government job. Meanwhile, my friend was directing and producing a full-length feature film in Georgia. I asked him, “If I paid my way out there, would you let me work for you?” He took me under his wing. Eighteen-hour days, six days a week, pushed me to near-exhaustion, but I awoke every morning feeling like it was all worth it. That is when I knew that this is what I wanted to do, not just for a living, but for my career.
SDB: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Kenji Claudio: My most proud accomplishment is when I began producing, at the green age of 22, a full TV series worth of content on a shoestring budget with all my friends. I didn't really know what I was getting into when I called up my friends, asking them, “Hey, wanna make a TV show with me?”
SDB: What have been the biggest obstacles or challenges to realizing your dream?
Kenji Claudio: Three years later and two seasons in, I look back, and I see how truly difficult producing a season of TV is. But my naiveté kept me going, not really knowing how hard it was until I finished doing it. Other producers go through hell producing TV shows, but I chose an easy format of television, shooting scripted reality that can be done in a way that can always be produced no matter where I am...because there is always a story to be told wherever you go.
SDB: What advice do you have for others in pursuit of their dreams?
Kenji Claudio: My advice to others is to find a group of friends/creators that love to do what you do. Go with them as a team into whatever idea/venture that you're all passionate about. The creative process is a journey, and you won't know where you land until you get there. In the end, I think about all the fun times I had and remember that failure is a very real thing that can happen at every turn if there is a diva in your squad.