The CultureHype collective: Meet Nick Melita & Jake Ryan Hull of Cinderblock
EVERY FRIDAY we'll be rolling out a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.
Cinderblock began as a creative outlet for two filmmakers, Jake Ryan Hull & Nick Melita & has grown into a full service film production agency. They've worked with 80+ artists/musicians as well as expanded their clientele to include corporate, commercial, & non profits.
"Jake Ryan Hull and Nick Melita have mastered the art of the intimate performance." -The Dallas Observer
What do you bring to the DFW creative scene? Why are you proud of it?
Nick: I'd like to think Cinderblock's work with musicians has helped some of them advance their careers. Even if it's as small as booking one extra show because they had a quality video. I'm proud that Cinderblock has built a reputation as music curators. One of our greatest passions is finding, promoting & collaborating with talented individuals.
Jake: My team & I at Cinderblock bring something special for musicians & music lovers. When we started in 2014, there were not any locally owned companies supporting musicians with video content as frequently as we did. We saw a need and we filled it. We built a community around us that mutually benefited all parties that chose to be a part of it. Over the last 3 years, several large companies have changed their business models to not support the artists as much while our boutique company has held steadfast doing the same thing we originally set off to do: Give our time & talents to help artists that deserve to be recognized.
What is your favorite perk of being in the entertainment business?
Nick: Free Tickets.
Jake: It’s great when your profession allows you to call going to concerts “work.” I never went to many shows growing up so I am making it up now by going to as many shows as possible. Networking is just a bonus.
If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?
Nick: Short Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake: 1. Jake. Ryan. Hull.
2. Dreamer. Neurotic. Starter.
What is your random special talent?
Nick: I popped the buttons on three different pairs of pants this year.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Jake: Go The Distance from Disney’s Hercules
Nick: I have three: (1) dumb tattoo. (1) John Mayer lyric. (1) video game reference. (so 3 dumb tattoos)
What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?
Jake: One of my 10+ suits.
If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Nick: Born and Raised - John Mayer
Jake: Definitely Bon Iver’s album 21, A Million . It takes me through every feeling while continuously hyping me up to take on life.
What is unique to you about living/working in Dallas?
Nick: The cost of living in Dallas is low enough to allow young creatives to function while being just broke enough to get by when they first start out. I don't think Cinderblock would have been able to grow at the rate it did if we had gotten our start in another city. We would've had to hold at least 2 other jobs just to live.
When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration?
Jake: I find inspiration in other people's success. Whether in business or creative. It sparks ideas & creativity out me like nothing else. It’s competitive but not in a mean spirited way. Competition is important for me to push myself.
How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in? When did you know that’s what you wanted to do?
Nick: I was fired from a job I hated. One week later, I met a guy at a bar that produced TV commercials and asked him for a job. From there I started freelancing on TV commercials & began to learn the film business from the bottom up. In that time, Jake & I began working together and created Cinderblock Sessions because we wanted to work with other creatives. It didn't take long to realize that we could take that project and turn it into a full-time music video production company. Its been almost 3 years since the first Cinderblock Session & we're busier than ever & creating more interesting and meaningful work than ever before!
Jake: I always thought I would go to college & get a degree (get a job, get married, & then die) but soon realized that I hated school so I dropped out & found myself working in the entertainment industry for the Dallas Cowboys and then Disney in different capacities. It was those experiences that led me to having enough confidence to start working for myself & pairing up with my business partner, Nick, to start the Cinderblock Sessions. Music had become a huge part of my life after school so I found that combining a passion with work would be the easiest way to start a fun project that I could experiment with. After doing 5 or 6 sessions, I had a moment during a show that I thought, “this is could be a career.” The music and arts scene just fell in my lap after that.