Current Student Cole Smith Creates Music Video Short With Musician Lauren Jenkins

March 27, 2019

Headshot of Cole SmithRunning out of Road is a narrative music short directed, shot, edited, co-written and co-produced by current student Cole Smith and co-written and co-produced by musician Lauren Jenkins.


According to Jenkins label, Big Machine, “In the short, Jenkins strives to untangle the threads of her relationship with a photographer against the backdrop of the American West. Shot on location in Miami, New Mexico and Cheyenne, Wyoming, the film melds narrative drama with constantly evolving imagery, as the young woman’s memories fuel her fight to free herself and move forward. Underscored by three original songs written and performed by Jenkins, Running is an evocative, accomplished piece of musical filmmaking that puts Jenkins on the map as an emerging artist with an uncompromising eye for storytelling across mediums.”


Running out of Road premiered with Amazon Music March 15 in conjunction with the release of Jenkins’ debut album NO SAINT. It initially screened at a Sundance showcase for Lauren's music, and will screen in competition at the Roswell Film Festival next month. Jenkins and Smith have also shot three other music videos and six live performance videos together, including Maker’s Mark and You, and No Saint, where Smith served as director, cinematographer, editor, co-writer and co-producer.


The collaboration came about in the likeliest of unlikely ways. Cole and Jenkins are childhood friends. In an interview with Billboard, Jenkins said, “I called a friend of mine that I used to ride a school bus with, middle school, Cole Smith. He's a filmmaker. I was like, 'Hey, I have this idea for this video. This is the story I want to tell. Will you break into this place with me?' He said yes.”


They ended up shooting the music video Give Up the Ghost. The video, shot nearly two years ago, was a proof of concept for Lauren's label, Big Machine Label Group. “We shot Ghost with basically no budget in two days as a sort of template for what we would do if they gave us the opportunity to shoot more music videos. They loved it and sent us out to New Mexico with a proper budget and crew,” Smith said.


Cole Smith is originally from Charlotte, NC. He graduated as an English Major from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, and then spent five years as an Air Force nuclear missile officer in California and Wyoming. While in the Air Force Smith wrote and directed six short films. He was also published twice in an academic journal and a textbook on the work of Alfred Hitchcock. After leaving the Air Force, Smith worked as a freelance cinematographer and director for clients like Big Machine Label Group, Country Music Television, ClifBar, Hoka One One. Smith was the colorist for a recently released Delta Rae music video Do You Ever Dream. He is currently a second-year MFA student in the Film Directing program where he also focuses on developing as a cinematographer.