Creator, Hecho Studios Los Angeles | Age: 29
Bao Truong may feel “a little weird” about his official title of ‘creator’, but it accurately sums up his impressive skill set, interests and wide range. For the citywide campaign LA Original, he shot photographs; for Carl’s Jr. hilarious and bite-sized Spielburgers campaign he helped direct the live-stream footage and DP’d; he helped re-brand, “put together the look” and shot stills for Truwomen’s new line of vegan protein bars and protein powders; he co-wrote, co-directed and DP’d YouTube’s Retold campaign modernising the classic fairytale Puss in Boots; and for his latest music video project, entitled Magic in the Hamptons for Social House featuring Lil Yachty, he co-created the concept, edited it, and helped oversee the striking graphics – cool retro media iconography remixed with modern applications of typography. “It’s fun to do a lot of different things and mix it up from job to job,” he says. “And I love that collaborative, “all hands on deck” approach of indie filmmaking. It gives you a real understanding of how all the jobs work.”
Truong grew up in Houston, “always interested in visuals of all kinds,” and attended the University of Texas’ radio-television-film school with a focus on writing, directing, and cinematography. After graduating in 2011, “I began freelancing immediately, shooting and directing videography for a fashion and beauty company, and I did that for about four years,” he says. “I was based in Austin and I also branched out, doing regional and then national commercials, and then I moved to Mexico City for a year, for a change of scenery. I did some fashion films and music videos there, and also worked on my writing.” At the end of 2017, Truong was recruited by 72andSunny spin-off Hecho Studios, and moved to LA. Since then, he’s been “super-busy with a lot of different jobs, and I’m currently doing a series of pitch projects and helping to build prototypes.” He also just finished up a campaign for Smirnoff’s Welcome to the Fun % spots which he co-DP’d.
“Looking ahead, I definitely want to keep doing commercials, as it’s a good way to make money, and it teaches you so much when you’re working within the limitations of budgets and the needs of clients,” he reckons. “But I want to get more into longer narrative work in films and documentaries, and as a first-generation Vietnamese filmmaker, I also want to make culturally relevant projects. And I’d love to direct movies – that’s the dream.”