For a man that prefers to lead a label-free life, Jordan Taylor Wright is many things; he’s a vegan, filmmaker, adventurer, and a proponent of climate change awareness. He is the founder of Taylor Cut Films and has worked with Usher, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, The Chainsmokers, and Martin Garrix. He has also created and starred in holiday campaigns for Tiffany & Co., Audi, Ferragamo, and Aloft Hotels. While these are impressive career points for Wright, what is most important to him is mindful meditation, living in the present, and expressing oneness with those he encounters. His book and upcoming movie dive deeper into these subjects and highlight the ways he has attained success in his life.
Sasha Frate: As an avid adventurer and someone who recognizes our oneness and connection with nature, how and why have you started to raise awareness about climate change and advocate for environmental conservation?
Jordan Taylor Wright: We’re sustained by it so let’s treat it as such. I love trees, plants, animals, the ocean, and breathing fresh air. The way we consume meat and the way we treat (animals) is directly affecting the amount of CO2 that’s in the atmosphere. If we all consumed even just 25% less meat, we would be able to drastically reverse what we are currently doing to the climate. Let’s treat our Mother with respect because it deserves it and so do we. Traveling is an amazing way to open yourself up…and if you don’t have the means to travel, just save up a few hundred dollars and go somewhere within (your) country – there’s diversity everywhere if you allow yourself to experience it. Traveling is a beautiful way to have a mirror-reflection of oneness because you realize “Oh, (other people) feel just like I feel and they experience just like I experience. They are just coming from a different perception. What if I came from their perception for a second?” You get to have empathy, which is an amazing thing to have.
SF: There is now growing concern around the huge increase in social media-fueled tourism and its effects on remote places. Adventure-travel has been on the rise but so have ecotourism, conscious travel, and sustainable travel. What does conscious and stainable travel mean for you and why do you believe it’s important for people to take this approach when possible?
JW: What are your intentions? Why you are going to these places? Instagram and social media are beautiful outlets to share, express and connect but, why are you doing it? Are you doing it because you want to portray a facade or a lifestyle to make other people jealous? Are you trying to fill a void within yourself because of your current unhappiness? Are you doing it because you really want to see the world and experience as much beauty as you can while we’re within this human vessel? Intention is everything. If your intention is to feel and experience as much love as possible, you can be a beautiful mirror-reflection for other people to feel and experience love as well. You’re inherently going to have a conscious travel experience because you’re not travelling just to stay at a luxurious 5-star resort. You’re doing it because you want to feel what it’s like to actually live there. It’s just reworking your intention. Social media is beautiful in that way because people are seeing this mirror-reflection of how much beauty actually exists within the world. There are a lot of beautiful creators on social media but there are a lot of people that are (creating) to cause envy or because they think that it is what people want to see. Intention is very important; if we can align ourselves with the correct intentions, then our external world will be that of our intentions. Hopefully, this allows people to just (look) within themselves and ask “Why am I doing this? Am I currently happy?”
SF: What do you mean by “everyone is an explorer?” Would you say you’ve always been an explorer; an adventurer?
JW: It starts with exploring within yourself, within your own imagination. It’s just being in a state of meditation and allowing whatever you’re feeling to be the visual projection of what you are experiencing. So, as children we can be in our bedroom and think the floor is lava and that we’re jumping from volcano to volcano. You are allowing yourself to be open to channeling light and creativity that’s within you without being programmed and subjected to what society has to say. (As adults,) you get to re-program and delete all of these (societal) notions. Your brain is a computer and your ego is an operating system so let’s do a system reset and start from a base-point of nothing. You can call it law of attraction, you can call it karma; you can call it whatever. It’s our internal feeling becoming that of our external world. If you are traveling to beautiful places but you are still operating from your ego and mind-body, you’re not actually there. You can be in the most beautiful rain forest in Costa Rica but if you’re thinking about the work you have to do on Monday when you get back, or the stresses that you have, or the sadness of a break-up, then are you truly there? It’s about the allowance to just be within yourself and just witness everything. We get to become not only an explorer within our own minds, but within this physical realm as well.
SF: You’ve worked with some big names through your production company, Taylor Cut Films, including Usher, J.Lo, Chainsmokers, and Justin Bieber, to name a few. Where do you source your inspiration for the videos you create and how does starring in some of the videos you produce help you to keep true to your vision?
JW: It’s about learning that you are a faucet. The creativity is always flowing – it’s always there, it’s just whether or not you’re blocking it. Creating with these beautiful people was an alignment…when I was creating with Usher, I had just graduated school and he was starring in an off-Broadway show. We just connected because I resonated with (his) music so it was effortless to kind of allow that to flow. I love making movies. (Taylor Cut Films) is in production of a film right now…and when you are all channeling one visual and you are all creating together to make this one story, it becomes something much larger than yourself. It’s currently where (the world is) heading, especially with all these amazing social movements that are happening. It’s exciting to see that people are operating from their heart-space and they’re willing to do it with a lot of other amazing people as well.
SF: What has been your biggest takeaway in working with celebrity talents, and how has this experience shaped your path and content creation process?
JW: I think it’s been a beautiful mirror-reflection. When I first started, I was creating from a place of ego in a sense that I wanted to create, but I also wanted to make money. I also wanted to have recognition and I wanted people to validate what I was doing. A lot of us are scared of dying and (therefore) want the life we’re living to have some merit and some value. For some reason, we hold merit and value in other people’s recognition rather than our own happiness. Being with icons, or in the presence of creative (minds) that are high-up within their industries, allowed me to have a realization that creating with these people isn’t going to make me happier. It’s a beautiful collaboration that gets to happen, but if I am doing it because I want to be able to say “I created with Usher or Justin Bieber,” then it’s the wrong intention. It’s about creating with other beautiful creative (minds) so you can make something larger together. In that way, it’s a beautiful mirror- reflection to see that people of certain statures aren’t more or less happy than you just because they have money and fame. My analogy is that you are playing Mario, running around within his world, having fun and then, because of where you’re allowing yourself to go, you stumble upon gold coins. It’s not that you aim to get all those coins because then, ultimately, the journey is no longer fun. Allow the money to be a reward, like sprinkles on top of a vegan ice cream sundae. If you start making money by operating from your heart-space, then you can use that to re-energize and re-fuel everything that you’re making. It then becomes a self-sustained eco-system of love, creativity and gratitude, as opposed to a black-hole of wanting.
SF: For the Justin Bieber music video “Company,”what elements/scenes from that video did you produce? It looks like a massive project to capture everything that is featured in this video.
JW: The “Company” video was shot and edited by my friend Rory Kramer, and then I colored it for him. He was touring with the Chainsmokers and he came home one weekend to put together a video for “Closer” which was going to be their next single. I had footage that I had already shot and I gave all of it to him to create something larger. We spent two days just having fun in Malibu and then that next week, I believe, (the video) came out. I remember he said to me “I think the song is going to be really big. It might have 100 million views.” I was excited just to be able to create something with him. Now it has 2 billion views and it’s a very humbling experience. We created it because we wanted to create something together. We didn’t go into it like “Oh, we’re two super filmmakers that are going to make something awesome.” That’s not how the universe works. You do it because you love it and then all of a sudden other people love it. In terms of my relationship with Justin…I get to have all these really intimate and amazing experiences with him based on normal life interactions. When I was touring with Usher, (Justin and I) were in the studio together, or it was his birthday party, or it was getting dinner or playing table tennis. It’s just a blessing to be able to see (Justin) for who he is. The reason he’s even successful is because he loves (his craft) and he’s incredibly talented at everything that he does. It’s amazing to call him a friend.
SF: My take-away from watching (the “Company” video) is it really humanized him. You normally just see an ego-type of vision in the way that he’s portrayed the majority of the time. The type of scenes that you captured with him, and the behind-the-scenes, peeled off those layers and really humanized him which was really nice.
JW: We’re all the same at our core; we’re all that light. We’re all mirror-reflections of light; we just come from different perceptions. The only thing that’s separating us is our mind; our projection of our reality. You can’t change people. You can only give them a different lens to look through and a different mirror to look into. It’s about removing all of the external attachments and layers that we currently hold. Society puts a lot onto us and we get to remove it if we want to.
SF: With your production company, you work with a lot of different types of content creation, including landscape, editorial, portrait photography, commercials, music videos, and films. Do you have a favorite area to work in and what would be your top 3 tips for those wanting to enhance their content creation to create the compelling digital narratives?
JW: I don’t have a favorite. It’s all what the feeling is within the moment. I just got back from Alaska. We are filming a scene for our movie with the Northern Lights and there were moments where I wanted just to appreciate them, there were moments where I wanted to take a time-lapse, and there were moments where I wanted video footage. It’s really however you want the medium to express the story. The advice I’d give would be: What’s the story you want to tell and why do you want to tell it? Is it through a photo? Is it writing into a notebook? What is the story and why are you expressing it? We all share this same internal light so (whatever you do) is going to feel true to somebody else as well. Just allow whatever true feelings are happening to pass through you and then just continue to practice doing it because that’s what it is to grow. Even if the video, photo or whatever it may be doesn’t come out exactly the way you wanted it to, you’re doing something true. We all deserve to feel that trueness.
SF: How would you describe your ‘road trip style?’ Do you keep it spontaneous or are you the “plan 3-6-12 months ahead” kind of road-tripper?
JW: I don’t expect or plan anything. I have a general wanting or a notion of what feels good and I allow that to be the direction in which I am heading. But no, even for this past trip to Alaska, I was flying back from Oregon where we were shooting a scene from the movie in a treehouse and on the flight I just became compelled to write another scene with the Northern Lights. I wrote the scene on the plane and luckily the crew and cast were there. I remember, in the middle of the flight I went back and spoke to everyone, and we all got excited. We ended up booking the flights three days later. We had members on the team that were like “are the Northern Lights even happening around this time of the year?” It just felt right to me. The first thing (we saw) the night we landed was the most brilliant, beautiful, bright Northern Lights. It’s about trusting that intuition that we have within ourselves. If you trust that everything is going to be beautiful, then it will all be beautiful and you might end up stumbling into experiences that you never thought were going to happen. Be open and trust that what you want will actually occur. Life then becomes really beautiful because you’re living within the unknown.
SF: You simplify “the truth of our existence” with one simple phrase: “Harmony of mind, body, and spirit.” Why do you believe so many people are out of alignment or ‘harmony’ with these elements and what are some of the things you envision as being helpful to awaken and harmonize people to experience oneness; oneness of mind/body/spirit and also with humanity and the universe within and around us?
JW: As humans, we are just the mind, body and spirit. The spirit is the light that’s within all of us. The reason a lot of people are unaligned right now is because we’ve been operating from our mind-body for a very long time. The ego has been the guiding narrative of who we are. By understanding the body and loving the body, you get to realize that the body is actually an extension of every living thing that’s on this planet; we hold that within our very DNA and it doesn’t change. My book that is coming out within the next two weeks or so is called Forever in the Infinite Now and the three chapters are the mind, body and the spirit. It dives a lot deeper into these notions where the mind is your computer and the ego is the operating system. It gives tips and tricks on how to remove programs that have been installed into us by society. The body is our vessel which is also our hard drive so everything we don’t process within our mind-body we then store in our subconscious or within our physical body – that’s why we have aches, pains and ailments. Yoga, breathing, and running are amazing ways to release all of these attachments and blockages within our physical body. Time is a linear construct so if you are thinking about the past you’re living in the past, if you’re thinking about the future you’re living in the future. The now is infinite and we are observing everything. The book is a beautiful way to get that understanding in (tandem) with the film that we have coming out this summer called “The Discovery of the Divine Consciousness.” It has a lot of visuals that will hopefully touch people.
SF: Labels are part of our society and culture – they’re identifiers to understand what people do; you’re an “adventurer,” a “videographer” a “business owner…” Labels can be problematic in the sense that they often lead to ego (or lack of self-esteem/confidence), and disparity – comparing and spotlighting our differences rather than illuminating our sameness. This is not to devalue unique differences we all possess, because they are of value – this is simply to unveil and remove these labels to illuminate our oneness. Can you share a bit about your approach to dealing with this concept of “labels” and how you create dialogue around this in your content and stories?
JW: I think even the way content is being created and stories are being told nowadays is removing all that. Even the title “The Shape of Water” which won best film…think about that! What is the shape of water? It morphs and that was what del Toro was trying to project. He does it in a way that teaches you to love monsters or love your fears because those don’t exist. Again, it’s a perception. If you perceive something as a monster it’s going to exist but if you love it, is it a monster anymore? No! It’s the same with our demons, our fears, our stressors; same with anything that may be blocking us from feeling whole and happy. In terms of removing all of these labels…it’s just disassociating yourself from it and realizing you are nothing and everything. That’s all that is. It’s a feeling. It’s a feeling of just being happy because when you’re truly happy and living in the present, you’re not thinking about anything else.
SF: Kids are our future. Kids these days are inundated with technology and the world telling them what they should do and what they should look like. You created a short film, “The Fable of the Awakened Child” that speaks to the concept of the innate “knowing” that children have. How do you believe we can better guide our children to “stay woke,” to strengthen and listen to their inner voice so it can overpower the ‘societal voice?’
JW: I think what we admire so much in children is that they are a blank slate or sponge; they are just perceiving the world through the light that’s already in them and they have no notion of what things are until we start to tell them. What’s beautiful about today’s society of children is they are growing up in a world that is more open and liberal than ever before. The movements that are happening are because children understand that this world can be something more beautiful. That’s the beauty of social media; even though it may drive some people to want to conform or be something other than that which they are, it’s also allowing them to see a lot more of the world. They can hopefully use that mirror-reflection to feel unity within everyone and I think that’s why these movements are happening. If you have children, allow yourself to be really happy and trust that you are a good parent. Your child just gets to look at this mirror-reflection of happiness and contentment, and then that’s what shapes them. They get to grow up in a space that is like a tree that is allowed to grow its roots. If you try to grow a giant tree in a box, it’s going to grow up in a form and not be what it could possibly become. Give it the space to grow and allow yourself to grow into what you want to grow into by not labeling yourself. Each generation that comes is stepping into a world that is more open than ever before. I have a lot of faith in the younger generation that’s coming because they have a lot of beautiful notions.
SF: How did you discover your love of mindful meditation and living in the now?
JW: It came from wanting to feel good. I always operated from my mind-body in thoughts and in speaking to other people – listening to what other people were saying and knowing whether or not their words resonated. Living within a state of meditation is knowing that you aren’t your thoughts. So, what we’re thinking right now is not what we’re going to be thinking thirty seconds from now or what we were thinking 30 seconds ago. Realize that we are unattached to those thoughts. It can start with just saying words like “thankful” or “gratitude” or “love” and allowing that to be your intention. If you feel overwhelmed, it’s ok to just sit and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing, feel your stomach fully extend when you breathe in and fully retract when you breathe out. Then you separate yourself from your thoughts and you get back to that centering place. Now you know what that space feels like. Give yourself enough practice to live within that space and then if you start to feel anything other than that, go back to it; it’s always there.
SF: You are pretty holistic in your lifestyle. What led you to become a vegan and how do you maintain a balance in the health area of your life with your constant world-travels and busy work schedule?
JW: I realized that I love this planet, I love the animals, and I love this body that I am in. Then I realized that it’s this beautiful vessel that I get to live in within this existence so I want to treat it with respect and treat everything else with respect. I don’t like killing and I (don’t) want to kill. (Eating vegan) is easy and especially with today’s society, it’s becoming a much bigger market. It’s also better for the environment as a whole. Know why you’re eating what you’re eating. If we are putting stuff into our body that isn’t meant to sustain us, we’re not going to feel sustained and we’re not going to feel good. We’re not going to operate the way we’re supposed to operate. Unfortunately, people have been consuming things that are not meant for them for so long and that’s become their base-level of what they think life should feel like. Try going plant-based for a week or do a cleanse and then you’ll have a new metric of what feels good.
SF: Quitting sugar, that feels amazing. That’s so hard for people to do.
JW: Eating sugar is a short-term means of feeling good because your taste buds feel really good and you feel really good within that moment. Ultimately, it’s not sustaining you and it’s going to lead to another feeling of emptiness. Do things and eat things that are going to allow you to feel good for a longer period of time. (Life) doesn’t have to be these short-term glimpses of happiness – it can be one long infinite moment of happiness.
SF: You’re releasing your new book soon, titled Forever in the Infinite Now, which not only has a beautiful visual storytelling element, but you’ve also created audio to accompany the ‘experience.’ Can you share a bit about the concept of this book and why you chose to create this multi-sensory experience with it?
JW: It’s ultimately from the way I was removing “programs” and getting into a state of meditation. I would write down what I was thinking or what was passing through me. That was the start of the book. I am not my mind. I am not my ego. I am not this program. The process of writing is a beautiful way of using your physical body. I would then listen to meditation music or certain frequencies…and that’s how I was able to create the book. For people to read it while listening to music that’s meant for meditation or relaxation, it will hopefully allow them to just get to that place of homeostasis. The first few pages of the book focus on your breathing. That might be a thing that people have never done before. Maybe they have never focused on their breathing, maybe they’ve never meditated. To get to a state of meditation before you even start reading the book means you’re digesting it at the base of who you actually are and hopefully it allows you to resonate with it. I am excited for people to read the book. It’s going to be exciting.
SF: Where or what did you study/research to create your book?
JW: A lot of it is life experience, what feels good and what worked. We have infinite information at our fingertips or literally flowing though us if we open ourselves up to it. Our DNA is that of everything that’s ever existed within the universe and you can tap into that. That isn’t an impossible notion. Science was always my favorite subject in school but science can limit you in that you don’t believe in something bigger. For each (reader) it’s not preaching, it’s presenting a mirror. If you enjoy what you’re looking at and it feels true, then ultimately, that’s your truth. We all hold within us that feeling of truth and it’s just whether we want to believe it or not.
SF: So, it’s kind of a collective of life and personal experience; a self-study.
JW: Yes, it’s studying your Zen and studying science. I’ve always been fascinated with as much information as possible but then you reach the point of things that we don’t know. It’s the not-knowing that scares a lot of people. There are things I can’t understand, but I get to witness (them) and I get to express (myself).
Social media: @taylorcutfilms