Film Courage: When was the first time you picked up a camera?
Walid Azami, Photographer/Youtuber: The first time I picked up a camera professionally…I’m going to backtrack just a little bit. I worked with Madonna and I worked on her world tour and I befriended (a good friend of mine now) named Jamie King who was the creative director of the tour and so many other artists.
He would come in and watch me look at everything. I would inspect like crazy because I knew where I was. I knew that I am going to learn so much from this woman. And I left that job and one day out of the blue he texted me Hey Walid, how are you? Let’s go get dinner, I want to know what you’re up to. So I went to dinner with him and I drove up from Anaheim at the time (or Fullerton — one of those two cities) and I drove up to LA and met him for dinner. What he did not know is that I was dead broke — broke, broke, broke. And this was pretty much right at the birth of the 2008 Great Recession. I had quit being a music video director’s assistant, I had done some PA jobs. I was the worst PA you could ever hire…I mean the amount of work I put into not looking busy, it was exhausting! And I thought Just do the work. But like trying to walk back and forth and look busy without really doing the stuff.
Jamie called me I want to know what you’re up to. He had a plan. We had dinner and another friend who was a very talented director joined us also and he asked me What are you doing? I’m broke at this time and I have a credit card and I probably have about $300 to $400 in my savings account, that was it because you don’t get paid much as an assistant in Hollywood. I had quit that to do some behind-the-scenes video (like MTV is making the video) and I got one or two jobs and it just stopped. But I didn’t know that the Recession was borne, so it had stopped for everyone but people hadn’t been honest about it yet. Something happened overnight, right?…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
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