If you happened to catch a glimpse of filmmaker Travis Schneider from across a packed Hollywood venue, your initial thought process would probably go something like "James Dean incarnate, actor, model, beautiful face in the sea of angels" In which case you might be more than just a little surprised to learn that Travis Schneider spends more of his time behind a camera than in front of one. Check out my Q & A with the extremely sought after film director whose cutting edge style & uncommon eye for story telling has him not only directing the latest Maroon 5 music videos but also thoroughly rooted in the coveted Hollywood’s Most Wanted listings.
Quick 5 Stats With Travis Schneider
1. Golf with Brian Setzer or Air Hockey with James Dean?
- This is actually a tough one.. While I’ve met Brian Setzer and would love to meet him again, I’m not much of a golfer and would probably make a complete fool of myself. I had an air hockey table growing up so I’m fairly convinced I could crush anyone that I play, but then do I really want to make a fool of James Dean?? My guess is that Setzer would smack me for NOT saying James Dean, so I’ll go with James Dean. I’ll let him win a couple rounds…
2. Plaid or Argyle?
- I’d say plaid. Although I do feel like a stud when I wear argyle socks, most of my shirts are plaid and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
3. Best Make Out song Ever written?
- The first thing that pops into my mind is “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers… Or anything Diane Warren has ever written.. The couples that got to make out during prom while “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith was playing are probably married now.. She also wrote a great song for The Cult called “Painted On My Heart” that hits me hard every time I hear it… HOWEVER, with all of that said, I think my real answer is Harry Nilsson’s “Save The Last Dance For Me”.
4. Jean-Luc Godard or George Stevens?
- They are both so great on so many levels, but I’ve seen more Godard films, so I’d go with him. As a young director, I’ve always felt more inspired by his style to go out and make my own things. A lot of that “grab & go” kind of film making just made making movies seem a little more attainable and made me believe it was something I could do too.
5. When I’m not behind the camera or the microphone you can find me ____________.
- Eating… It’s probably the only thing I actually spend money on.
Maroon 5 Photo by TRAVIS SCHNEIDER
DYING to hear all about your latest video with MAROON 5 & Lady Antebellum "OUT OF GOODBYES" starring Dwight Yoakam. Tell us a bit about the shoot & why it’s our new favorite vid.
- I was equal parts excited and equal parts nervous for this video to come out. It’s such a departure from anything Maroon 5 has ever done, I knew there would be a majority of their fans that would tear it apart solely for the fact that Adam was not in it, but I also knew that the video might reach a whole new group of fans that may or may not have ever given the band a chance, and THAT is who I made the video for. Maroon 5 putting a country song on their album was a bold thing to do, so I wanted to make an equally bold decision with the video. Also, Sergio Leone is one of my biggest inspirations, so it was a chance to make some sort of attempt at creating a western and tipping my hat to his style. It really felt like it on the set too. We were on a ranch in the middle of nowhere and even though you can’t see most of it, the entire room was covered with things (furs, guns, traps, etc.) that really put us right there. Dwight Yoakam is the man, and he sang along loud to every word. Hearing his voice boom in that cabin gave me chills, and also made me wish they’d re-record the song with him. WATCH IT & fall in love with it NOW!
You are not only a phenomenally creative film maker but also a very cutting edge photographer of the famous & beyond. Who are your greatest inspirations & where did your love for all things cinematic begin?
- I’ve been surrounded by extremely talented artists my whole life, so growing up it always seemed like something I wanted to step into as well. My dad is an amazing film editor and I remember seeing him cut film on a flatbed in our house. So early on, it already seemed like an exciting and appealing thing to do. I tell him that he taught me everything I know but he hasn’t taught me everything HE knows. Every time I’m cutting I’m thinking “what would Dad do?”.My brother Chapman Baehler is an incredible photographer and got his start taking pictures of surfers, but it wasn’t til he started showing me photos he was taking of my favorite bands that I knew I wanted to do something similar. I would visit him and he would show me photos of Sonic Youth and Pearl Jam that he took after sneaking his camera into the venue and it seemed like the coolest job anyone could ever have. He would tell me stories about working with Frank Black and Porno For Pyros, and my 7th grade mind was thinking “why would anyone want to do anything else??”
Tell us about touring with Maroon 5 & documenting so many amazing shows & studio moments around the world…
- I have such an enormous amount of respect for those guys. After seeing how hard they work inside the studio and on tour, it gave me so much inspiration for my own walk into the music world. They are such incredible musicians, and you might not know it for sure until you see them live. Being in that environment day after day is continuously motivating. They’re all very creative and very smart, so I constantly feel like I’m learning when I’m around them. One of the main reasons I started shooting was to be closer to the music and to get the best seat in the house night after night. I’m still not sick of seeing those guys play.
Two of my favorite Travis Schneider films are "Uncharted" by Sara Bareilles & I absolutely LOVE Frankie B Tears & Feet LOOKBook with Taryn Manning. You are a film maker with a signature high style but the FUN in everything you do really shines through. What has been the most entertaining shoot for you thus far in your career?
I’m so happy to hear you like those. They were both really fun to put together, but I’d have to say the most fun but also the most stressful shoot I’ve ever done was for the music video "Temple Pressure" by Alvin Band. It was pretty much my first video and was also an incredibly ambitious treatment with not a lot of money to pull it off, but we wrangled a tight little crew of friends and family to work for free, pulled a lot of favors and barely pulled it all off. It was a fantastic learning experience and I still get people coming up to me talking about it. Sometimes it’s your limitations on a shoot that create the biggest creative possibilities.
THE DAMNSONS !! Where can we see you rock the stage with your band soon? And where do we get our life size Travis Schneider posters?
-The Damn Sons are trying to plan a little studio time so we can track all of the new stuff we’ve been working on! We desperately want to get out of L.A. and hit the road so we can play more in other cities, but we want to have something people can take home if they like what they hear. Check our Facebook page for dates, as we will post the announcements there. As for life size posters, those will have to wait til U2 takes us on tour…
Photo Travis Schneider with The Damnsons by David Schless
I have a feeling it won’t be long Travis.
Thank you for sharing your amazing artistic visions with the world.
VIEW Travis Schneider Portfolio