In the first installment of the Student of the Game Podcast, Nolan Smith is joined by his friend Colin Tilley to discuss his career as a director/filmmaker, the role his parents played in becoming a leader, lessons he’s learned along the way, and growing his production company, Boy in the Castle.
Colin Tilley Socials:
Nolan Smith Socials:
1:05 - Colin discusses his new wine label, Love Birds
5:03 - Dive into Colin’s background growing up in Berkley, California
- Seeing his friends, The Pack make it on MTV and realizing anything is possible.
- Going to the same school as G-Eazy.
10:23 - Nolan explains the purpose of the podcast
- To give knowledge to the younger versions of themselves.
11:28 - Colin gives his thoughts on film school
- Knowledge is so accessible today that it’s not a necessity.
- People should do whatever stimulates them, whether it’s going to school or going out and doing it.
15:32 - Discovering Colin’s superpower
- Learning that his true superpower is communicating and leading others.
19:27 - Learning how to be a leader from his parents
- His parents ran a team-building and leadership company.
- Colin was always soaking in everything they preached which led to him becoming a stronger leader.
22:33 - The role Nolan’s parents played in shaping his life as a businessman
25:25 - How Colin prepares for his shoots
- It starts with always needing to be inspired by the concept.
- Having a strict shooting schedule alongside a shot wishlist.
- Always making sure he’s prepared physically and mentally before a shoot.
- His editing background plays a major role in his shoots.
30:00 - How Colin took the jump from little to no budget videos to major budgeted videos
- In the first 5 years, he didn’t make money through directing, rather he focused on constantly reinvesting and upping his production value.
- Was always focused on the bigger picture.
33:33 - Colin doesn’t feel he has a breakout video, rather each video was a stepping stone
- Started by shooting a music video for Niles of the Cataracs which would lead to shooting a music video for Lil B’s track, “We Can Go Down” which premiered on Worldstar. This led to opportunities to shoot for Tyga and winning his first awards for the music video of Tyga & Chris Brown’s “Deuces”. This opportunity started a long-lasting relationship with Chris Brown where Colin directed the next 30 music videos for the pop star.
37:40 - Importance of having a team
- Teaming up with producer and partner, Andrew Listermann played a major role in helping Colin through this process of working on bigger music video shoots.
41:25 - The role Colin’s mentor Taj had on his career
- Taj invited Colin down to La, where Colin lived on his couch for a couple of months and was offered the opportunity to work on Taj’s sets and eventually editing his videos.
44:18 - Exclusive look at the new Boy in the Castle Merchandise
47:30 - How artistry connects with business and balancing out the two
- Colin always had the bigger picture in mind and understood from an early stage in his career that in order to be “known” and “seen” he would need to grow the business facets of his art as well.
- This meant constantly reinvesting in the company and constantly challenging himself.
54:27 - Colin’s investments outside of his business
- Currently focusing on investing in future scripts for his film endeavors
- Investing in Ember, a growing business that produces temperature heating mugs.