The Voice stars Ian Flanigan and Blake Shelton release new music video Grow Up with acclaimed director Vincent Peone

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

Up-and-coming country singer-songwriter, Ian Flanigan has teamed up with a country favorite, Blake Shelton, on his debut single, “Grow Up”. Shelton joined Flanigan for the single’s world premiere on NBC’s hit show, The Voice. With a pairing that historic, it's only fitting the song has an equally epic music video.

The concept of the official “Grow Up” music video is the brainchild of director Vincent Peone, of next-gen production company ArtClass. Peone is most known as one of the founding fathers of CollegeHumor Original Video and one of the creators of Vogue’s 73 Questions series. The inspiration of the story behind the music video comes from Flanigan’s vision of “feeling young no matter what age you are” (Flanigan). 

We spoke to Vincent about the inspiration behind Grow Up and how he's constantly evolving in an ever-changing industry.

PH: Can you share your production background and what led you to this industry? 

Vincent Peone: I had PA’d and made early-days-of-the-internet comedy with my sketch group while I was studying film at SVA in NYC, but my real first job was as one of the founding members of CollegeHumor Originals. Over several years we made thousands of videos - amassing viewership in the hundreds of millions - which I like to think of as my directing boot camp. Not only was I learning the ins and outs of filmmaking, but I picked up some serious smile wrinkles along the way. I still consider it the best job I’ve ever had. 

PH: Who are some of your inspirations? Did you always envision a career in production? 

Vincent Peone: I’m one of those lucky people that always knew what I wanted to do. I grew up on Coen brothers movies while everyone else was watching Nick at Nite (which I also watched for the record). The idea of directing as a serious career didn’t come until I started making commercials. I’ll never forget my first mentor in college, Gerry Wenner, asking me if I would be interested in pitching on some spots with him. I told him “I’d be delighted to direct something you shoot, Gerry” to which he said “No, I’d be delighted to shoot something you direct.” My experience in this business is that enthusiasm and passion don’t go unnoticed.

PH: What are some of the challenges (and benefits!) of directing a wide variety of projects that include music videos, commercials, and more?

Vincent Peone: I think one of the biggest challenges a working director faces is being pigeonholed into a gimmick or becoming known for one thing. This makes it hard to create new stories. I’m really fortunate in that comedy comes in many shapes and forms, and offers variety, which I see as being essential to growing. 

PH: Let's talk about your work on the "Grow Up" music video. How did you get involved? 

Vincent Peone: Ian reached out and asked me to concept something for this incredible tune he wrote, which felt like a gift. The song is so visual, dynamic, and honest that I knew we had to compliment that with a playful and earnest story. 

PH: Where did the inspiration of the story in the music video come from?

Vincent Peone: My grandfather went by “Cowboy John,” and I don’t think it is an understatement to call him a local legend at our hometown karaoke bars. When he got sick, I know he wanted nothing more than to break out and show up at one of his many haunts. This is the slightly exaggerated version of that.

PH: Is it true you and Ian actually grew up in the same town? How did you infuse some of that into the project? 

Vincent Peone: Ian and I did in fact both grow up in Saugerties, NY, and have been dear friends ever since. We agreed early on we wanted the story to have some touches that felt like our beloved hometown. It was serendipitous to learn that Eric Roberts had also spent some time in the area as he and his wife had a house in Rhinebeck. So in a weird way, it was kind of like a homecoming. 

PH: You're also one of the founding fathers of CollegeHumor Original Video and one of the creators of Vogue’s 73 Questions series. How do ideas and projects like these take-off (in your opinion)?

Vincent Peone: You get a great group of brilliantly talented creative people in a room together and don’t forget the camera.  

PH: What does pre-production on some of these big ideas look like? Let's take the 73 Questions series with Vogue. How did that come about? Why 73?

Vincent Peone: Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of a lot of prep days when it comes to a show like 73. Fortunately, the premise of nonchalantly dropping in on a celebrity in their home serves the improv construct. My favorite work relies more on instinct. No matter how much time you have to prep, good instincts in the moment will always make for a more memorable piece. 

PH: How are you constantly challenging yourself and evolving in the industry? 

Vincent Peone: When I started my company ArtClass, I knew having a base of operations to run my projects out of was going to help streamline my process. What I didn’t expect was how much I’d learn and grow from being around all of the other directors on our roster. I’m constantly in awe of their many talents and grateful to have them around as a sounding board. I like to think we are all helping one another evolve in the industry.

PH: What's a characteristic that every director should embody? 

Vincent Peone: In my experience the more you curate an environment that’s conducive to supporting your performers, the more fearless the performance. So, I would say “nurturing.”

PH: Do you have any other upcoming projects you're excited to share? (If you can!) 

Vincent Peone: I’ve actually been working on a feature-length script that loosely follows a “Cowboy John” type character and my childhood growing up in a karaoke household. Until that gets funded, I’ll be running around shooting with my company ArtClass. 

About Vincent Peone

Vincent “Vince” Peone is an Emmy Award-winning commercial director, as well as a six time Webby, Telly, Clio, and ProMax winner.A founding member of CollegeHumor Originals, Vincent pioneered early internet comedy while he wrote, directed, produced, and shot countless vignettes with combined viewership in the tens of billions. He went on to direct episodes of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything, which began as a CollegeHumor series.To compliment a colorful career of breaking the internet, Vincent works closely with movie studios to create custom content for releases such as Terminator: Dark Fate, Spiderman: Far From Home, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, Equalizer 2, The Post, and many more. Remember when Zoolander crashed the runway? This guy!A true creator of the modern age, Vincent was integral in the piloting of 2Chainz’s Most Expensivest Shit, Vogue’s 73 Questions, and Ryan Reynolds’ original Snapchat series, Ryan Doesn’t Know. In 2018 Vincent co founded bicoastal production company ArtClass Content because he legitimately enjoys flying.

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