Puerto Rican-born producer Sevier Crespo has worked with such industry heavyweights as Michael Mann, Jerry Bruckheimer, David Beckham, Kendrick Lamar, and Demi Lovato, and with such global brand as Adidas, Coca-Cola, Nike, Marlboro, Mitsubishi, NBC, and Netflix. We recently got a chance to speak with Sevier about what he’s learned from working the industry, how Hollywood can be more inclusive, and more.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
I had such a wide variety of music that I listened to. I loved Bob Marley, Prince, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Beastie Boys, and I can’t leave out Boyz II Men.
In your early career, you were able to work under powerhouses Michael Mann and Jerry Bruckheimer. What did they teach about the entertainment industry?
Hard work, perseverance, never giving up. One of the most valuable things I learned was to stick to your own creatively and not waiver. And another amazing lesson was to be detailed. Be detailed in every way, nothing should just be glossed over and generalized, whether it’s in a creative realm or production, it’s all in the details.
You’ve produced several films over your career, including “El Guardia” which premiered at Cannes in 2019. When it comes to the music for a movie, what’s the inspiration? Do you get involved when it comes to music selection?
Sometimes music will come to my mind during the filing of the movie and I might feel inspired by something and share those concepts and ideas based on the overall mood and message. But I really tend to defer to the director and stand behind their choices. But it’s really nice when we are all on the same page of course.
Producing ad campaigns for Adidas, Coca-Cola, Nike, Mitsubishi, NBC and Netflix is a huge undertaking. When you’re working on production for a global brand, you must have music going to keep the energy up. What are some of your favorite go-tos music-wise (song or artist)?
Typically I find it best to play what the athlete or talent likes because if they are in a good mood, so is everyone else. Of course if we are running sound then we can’t play music, but generally for mood it’s great to play what the talent requests. The minute a job wraps shooting, my favorite song to play is Jay Z’s “On to the Next One.”
You’ve worked with incredible artists like Khalid and Kendrick Lamar. What strikes you about these guys? What’s special about them?
I have found that they are not only professional and get the job done, but they are humble too. I can’t say that’s true for every VIP that I’ve worked with, but surprisingly it is for many. They are there to work and bring whatever they can to the table. They respect the time and energy of the crew and creatives there for the shoot, and tend to be collaborative to get the best content.
You were born in Puerto Rico, and in recent years produced a movie that was about Puerto Ricans and made in Puerto Rico by Puerto Ricans. Any Puerto Rican projects coming up in the future?0
Yes, working on a great project called “Killing Class,” which will be set in Puerto Rico with a primarily Puerto Rican and Hispanic cast (in English) that is based on true events. And I’m also working on a TV show set in Puerto Rico that’s like “Narcos” meets “The Wire,” based on true events.
What do you feel the entertainment industry can do to improve inclusivity?
I think it would be great if we had more ethnically diverse content that was then created by those specific ethnicities. Let the story be told by the people living it. Hire people of diversity to tell those stories at every level, behind and in front of the camera — actors, directors, producers, interns, crew, everyone — instead of an all-white production company and all-white people telling the ethnically diverse stories. I’ve had the experience of producing a movie that was about Puerto Ricans that was made in Puerto Rico by Puerto Ricans. That was a powerful experience. Guys like Ryan Reynolds are really leading the way right now and putting their money where their mouth is. He recently launched a self-financed inclusion group called “The Group Effort Initiative” aiming to give people of color the chance to work and learn on his productions. He’s showing up in a way that is meaningful and I admire that so much.
You must spend a lot of time working at your computer. If you were to take a Sunday drive, where would you go and what would you listen to along the way?
My favorite thing to do lately has been to go on a drive with my wife to Brentwood, get pizza from Jon & Vinny’s and sit in our car and eat it. Sometimes we use that time to catch up with our son on the phone who is working out of town, or listen to our favorite comedians’ podcast “The Pete and Sebastian show.” We usually will drive down to the Pacific Coast Highway and drive along the water and then head back. Living in Los Angeles we have been trying to remind ourselves lately that we have these beautiful beaches and canyons to take advantage of. We like the same music for the most part, so Prince or Ray Lamontagne, occasionally some Lil Wayne too. It all depends on the mood.
For more information on Sevier, please visit: seviercrespo.com.