A month ago I was a pretty big fan of the TV show Community. Today I am a pretty big fan of one of Community’s stars Donald Glover. I didn’t really know anything about Donald Glover other than he and his partner in crime on the show (Abed, played by Danny Pudi) were my favorite parts of the show, which is impressive since the show features Chevy Chase and the always hilarious Dr. turned comedians Ken Jeong. But while I was at SXSW I was asked by the web editor of Village Voice Media if I could take some photos of Donald for a story he was doing on him.
The story was on Donald’s versatility. Not only does Donald do stand up and act, but it turns out he is actually rapper that goes by the name Childish Gambino. When I found out I was going to be shooting him I googled him and listened to a song real quick. I thought it was entertaining enough. I also found out he was one of the main guys in Derrick Comedy a web video comedy team who’s videos I am sure you have seen.
So I headed down to the Austin Music Hall a few hours before Donald was hosting MTV U Woodie Awards there. The original idea was that I was going to shoot him getting ready for the show or something but when I got there I found out that I had 15 minutes to shoot him outside. It was super bright out and I had no location so we walked around for a bit and couldn’t find anything good. They told me that I should go find a location and that we could try to shoot again right before the show if I was willing to come back. I told them that would work but I wanted to get some shots just incase so we shot for about 3 minutes up against a fence and then up against a truck. They weren’t very inspired but I figured I would get another chance.
Unfortunately they got behind with the Woodies and I didn’t get to shoot him that day, but he showed up to the Village Voice Media music party and I ran into him back stage. He and Danny Pudi spent like 20 minutes looking at the photos on my iPad and we hung out by Wu Tang’s dressing room talked about shooting again in a few days. Both of the guys seemed like rad dudes. Plus I got to see Childish Gambino live and he absolutely killed it. Seriously, he was amazing. I was not prepared for that.
A few days later Donald had this comedy show at SXSW and I was going to meet up with him before it. Unfortunately I didn’t get there in time to shoot again but we made plans to meet up later to shoot. Unfortunately that didn’t happen either. Luckily he was going to be in NYC and it was looking like this article was going to be for the cover of the Village Voice and I might get to shoot it. Again, luck was not on my side and the art director of the Voice wanted studio shots which is not what I do. All of this was a bummer.
Now all that aside it turned out to be a good experience anyway. First of all, Bill Jensen’s cover on Donald came out today and it is really great and they used a few of my photos. You need to read it now. Secondly, I got turned on to Childish Gambino. I understand why he goes by the pseudonym. If you hear about a comedy rapper you might think it’s a joke, but Childish is seriously awesome. Download his free EP now. Thirdly, Donald and Danny both said they will let me shoot them in the future which should be fun, plus Donald might by a photo from me which I cannot complain about, and lastly and most importantly the shots I took came out pretty great and that is the whole point of this damn post.