Toronto native earns job working with Will Smith after sending email
A Toronto-born director and cinematographer is back home on a break after he spent the past year following actor, rapper, and media personality Will Smith.
Aidan Tanner became a personal content creator for the actor after emailing the head of content at Smith’s company, Westbrook. He said he decided to take his shot after seeing Smith become more active on YouTube and showing a raw version of himself.
“I had that instinct like maybe if he’s going to start doing this YouTube thing, maybe he’s looking to expand his team,” Tanner told Global News on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old heard back over a month later while travelling Asia with his friends. Smith’s team wrote back asking if Tanner would join their team in Budapest.
“I didn’t want to get too excited too quickly,” said Tanner. “It took about a week of first the email, and then I had a phone call with them to talk about what their process is and what they’re looking for.”
After that, Tanner left for Budapest and joined Smith’s team to help build the entertainer’s highly entertaining Instagram account which now has over 30 million followers.
This allowed Tanner to follow Smith all over the world while the actor completed stunts for his Facebook show, Bucket List.
“I feel like I had some things to bring to the table as far as visual things we could do with him as the subject,” he said.
Tanner captured Smith doing the ‘In My Feelings’ challenge atop the Chain Bridge in Hungary, as well as bungee jumping out of a helicopter for his 50th birthday at the Grand Canyon.
He was also featured in explainer videos alongside Smith and taught viewers how to do moving still images or stutter frames, which has now become the staple for Tanner’s work.
“In the moment we were doing a tour of the Budapest Opera House and I thought this was a great location to do the stutter frame,” he said. “He loved it and he posted it and it got a lot of traction.”
Tanner said Smith has been an “energetic force,” and that he is a regular person once you get to know him.
“I really wanted to collaborate with him and I could see through his social media that he was really into what he was doing so I wanted to explore that,” he said.
Tanner now has aspirations to act and direct himself.
He’s already worked with A-lister Jessica Chastain and has dreams to collaborate with Canadian-born singer Justin Bieber.
The young content producer said in a press release his experience with Smith has now altered his perspective on the power of compelling original ideas and the new ways of storytelling.
“A year ago I never thought I would be shooting something like this or even in this kind of environment. That was a wild experience,” he said.
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