By now I think it’s safe to say that when Director X and Drake team up, the final product is going to be magical. Complex recently spoke to Director X on the “Started From The Bottom” video where he broke it down scene by scene and spoke on Drake being the “driving force” behind it.
After releasing the “Started From The Bottom” video on Sunday, it instantly became a fan favorite. The video was shot in a number of locations around Toronto and the Dominican Republic. While not wanting to take too much credit for the video, X wanted to make sure that people knew that Drake came to him with the concept. “I just think people should know that Drake was the driving force pushing for that. He’s the one saying he wants to spend the money; he’s the one saying I want to make these big ideas happen. When people watch the video they need to understand that he’s putting in some work to entertain,” said X. Keep reading below for X’s scene by scene breakdown of the video.
The Soccer Scene:
The Bentley and The Blizzard Scene:
Director X: “That shot of him in the car, we shot that once. The shot we used was one take. We did a bunch of other stuff like getting the snow right—this whole video ended up being that whole kind of thing. We’d shoot a couple shots, but it ended up being one take for everything. It was almost like making a movie.
It wasn’t a snowy day that day. All of that snow is fake. Every bit is fake—the snow on the ground, the snow in the air, everything is artificial. The shot with his mother. In the back—that’s Movie Magic. It’s foam.
It’s just the right calls to the right effects people. On my side of things, it’s not as difficult as it may seem because there are people who do this all the time for different productions. A million movies you’ve seen and the snow is not real. Can’t tell, but there are tons of them and this was one of those situations.”
The Lovely Leading Lady:
Director X: “I’ve known her forever. For a really long time. Everyone in this video is from Toronto. It’s a city, but its a town at the same time. So that’s my homie. The way God planned it, she was the closest to set. She’s the hottest girl, but she actually lives closest to Hamilton.
Hamilton is where we shot the airport for the flying scene, so just for scheduling we had to shoot the drug mart close to there because of production rules. The day of when we didn’t have anybody, we were just like, ‘Call Maria [Angelica Charuppi], she lives in Hamilton.’ We were like, ‘Don’t go to school today and come do this thing.’ So it just happened to be that the hottest girl on the planet lived 10 minutes from set when we were shooting in the middle of nowhere.
She wants to do all that stuff in front of the camera. She’s a performer, so it’s possible. She’s gorgeous and she’s incredible. She’s not in the mix on the other side of the border so people are like, ‘What the fuck just happened?’”
The OB and “OVORyan” Skit:
Director X: “OB’s a real natural. Ryan is fun, but he’s not an actor or jokester like that in front of the camera, so he needed a little more finessing, just to get him comfortable. OB didn’t need nothing. He was off to the races. You can tell even in the ‘HYFR’ video just by the way the video starts and his attitude that he’s a real character. We just wanted to take it to a ridiculous place and have fun with it.
“It was generally planned out by Drake and them. They came up with that, but on set is where we finessed the lines and made them come together.”
The Lucky Strike Scene:
Director X: “That’s the Lucky Strike he likes to go to. So it’s all kind of personal beyond it just being a bowling alley. That’s the one he goes to.”
The Paradise Hookah Bar Scene:
Director X: “That’s [Drake's] place Paradise. That shit is pretty easy. With all those people and everyone knowing each other, it’s a little bit different than the usual video set where people are strangers for the most part. Everyone knew everyone on that set, from the crew on down. Even that crew of guys shooting the video, they shoot all of their videos. Everyone knows everyone so it was very familiar. It was pretty normal. Nothing too crazy.”
The “Started From The Bottom” Billboard Scene:
Director X: “That’s Drake. He’s up there. If you were to ever come to Toronto on the Gardiner Expressway on your way downtown, that’s where it is. There’s not a double or anything. It was a cold fucking day—on the ground it was cold so imagine 200 feet in the air. Forget about it.”
The Private Jet Scene:
Director X: “No, we’re not flying it, but we were definitely in a jet. It’s a lot, especially for the amount of time that you see it. It’s a big production. In the 2000s, people were jumping out of airplanes and they had Hummers, and they shot in the desert. They danced with Jennifer Lopez. Busta Rhymes was turning into metal. We all grew up watching these videos that were giant productions where people were working really hard to entertain and compete with one another.
They were trying to do the biggest and best thing they could possibly make and then he gets to make a video and they’re like, ‘Here’s 100 grand.’ So ‘HYFR’ was the beginning of him pushing it conceptually, but this is where he said, ‘I’m going to push the envelope monetarily. I’m going to spend the money and make the bigger thing and make those videos that people will actually enjoy, not just something that plays because you want to hear the song.’”
The Champagne Papi Scenes:
Director X: “That’s the Dominican Republic. That’s where he was vacationing. We just showed up where they were, me and four other guys who shot it. It was great. A lot of the fun you see was actually happening. Everyone had a good time. If you’ve got good eyes, I’m dancing in there. I’m in the background grooving.”
On The Budget For The Video:
Director X: “It comes up to a lot, but it’s still not as much as when we filmed back in the day. I’ll tell you that. It’s in the upper region of what people spend now. You’re not going to get that money without a fight from the record labels and being an artist like Drake. The money he spent on this—I’ve done Mobb Deep videos for more money. Back when the dollar was worth more on top of it, so that’ll put that in perspective for you.”