My name is Parker Foster, I’m a creative from Texas now living in LA. I run a production company called Visual SZN. We are a collective of artists that mainly work on music video and high-end commercial work
When did you pick up a camera for the first time? And at what time did you realize that this was what you were going to do for the rest of your life?
When I was 16 my parents bought me a Canon T2i for my birthday, I was obsessed. I was super into Tumblr and skateboarding and basically fell in love with photography. I came across Vimeo and Flickr in late 2011 and just created skate videos every weekend with my friends. As I got older (17 and 18) I started doing music videos. I was obsessed with Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa videos. I thought they were amazing and I wanted to create the same type of quality. I started working with local artists from my high school and got my first “big” gig while I was a junior in high school. I got to shoot a music video for $350 after I did that I quit my restaurant job and pursued music videos part-time while in school. The fire was pretty much ignited after that.
Your first business endeavor was Parker Foster Visuals. What caused you to put that down and start Visual Szn? Did you get everything out of PFV that you could?
PFV was basically my “professional” start into video production. It lasted from high school to the beginning of my freshman year of college. I didn’t really have goals for it, it was just a brand name for my video and photo work. I was 17 and making money doing what I love. I thought I had made it haha. Going to college though I wanted to start a brand/collective that had a name and not just my name on it. I wanted to have something that could be expanded into something bigger and not be just an 18-year-old who made videos
Shortly after building and branding Visual Szn, you decided to sign with a management team. At first, you were skeptical about the signing and the contracts that come with it. A year later, are you happy to have made that deal?
The MGMT idea came out of nowhere. I never wanted a manager nor did I think I’d need one. I was handling EVERYTHING. The emails, the calls, the production, the editing. I wasn’t aware that someone could handle most of that for me and I could just focus on creating. The manager of a Chicago artist reached out to me and loved my work ethic and basically said he could get me work and help build my brand. The big motive to sign was that he said I could be in LA in the next few months and at the time that’s all I wanted, to be in LA creating full time. I signed for 2 years and things were awesome, worked with some great people and he put me in a lot of great situations. About 6-8 months ago he got busy with his other clients and I got kind of left to fend for myself. I’m a very work heavy person and I care about my brand more than anything else and the lack of communication started to make my company look bad. So I got out of the contract and now it’s just me. It was a great ride and great opportunities came from it. I still have mad respect for the guy, he really helped me get my feet wet.
A little over a year now, you’ve been living out in LA. There’s a big perception out there that LA is fake. Is that true?
Coming from Chicago which is very much like New York, cut and dry. I enjoyed the relaxed vibes of the west coast for a little but, after being here for almost 2 years I’m really over the way people in the entertainment world hold themselves. Everyone is just hella sensitive and passive-aggressive. You can’t speak your mind without people thinking you’re an asshole. A lot of fake love and fake genuine people. That being said I have met a lot of amazing creatives here. Every city has its flaws, you just have to figure out how to make the best of it.
When you look back at it, seeing the renaissance we are currently having in Chicago, in terms of creative outlets, do you ever miss Chicago?
Man, I miss Chicago every time I go back. I remember when I saw the skyline out of the window for the first time coming back after being in LA I got so overwhelmed I started tearing up, I have so much nostalgia in that city. Skating down Michigan Ave, grabbing Harolds after class, walking through grant park at sunrise. That city is magic. It’s funny how I couldn’t wait to get out and get to LA and now I wouldn’t mind living in Chicago again (LA just has more opportunity at the moment).
Last year you wrote a blog post, ‘2016, Thank You For Everything’. With just a few weeks left in 2017, how big of a year was this one for you?
The year was amazing, probably one of the most intense ones yet. Started out the year shooting my first feature, getting all of my gear stolen in March and shooting a short film that won at 3 festivals to end out the year and plenty of content made in-between that, It’s been wild. I’m always grateful for each year but this one was one of the best. Nothing will ever top moving to Chicago in 2015 though lol, that was a dream.
As time goes on, do you ever feel the need to go back and finish your film degree?
No, I’ll never go back. A degree is just a certificate that says I got all my credits. I’m way more invested in showing people my body of work, that means a lot more to me at least.
If you could thank one person for guiding you, or being there for you the most over the years, who would that person be?
My mom. She’s my role model. I wouldn’t be anywhere without her (my dad also – he’s where I get all my jokes lol). My mom seriously has given me timeless advice for my personal and business life and I could never repay her. She paid for my college so I wouldn’t have student loans and paid for my living expenses when I left school so I could just focus on building VSZN. She’s a superwoman. It would be a dream if I could be half of who she is when I get older. I love her more than she knows