Jonze is one of the most unique creative voices to come out of the US film industry since the turn of the millennium. This article is about his other stuff.
Jeremy Cassar

17 Nov 2016 - 11:59 AM  UPDATED 17 Nov 2016 - 3:34 PM

Spike Jonze, the pocket rocket of creative thrust we know for his already classic feature films that include Being John Malkovich and Where the Wild Things Are. But outside the world of Kaufman collaborations or Maurice Sendak adaptations, Jonze has been and still is contributing to youth culture in a variety of ways.

To celebrate the re-airing of his meta masterpiece —Adaptation—here’s a bit about the various other avenues strolled down by Mr. Spike Jonze.

Magazine Man

In the early 90s, Jonze and two of his pals created the alternative magazine dirt, a lively publication with the tagline ‘fuel for young men’.

After Jonze was wowed by the female-targeted mag Sassy, he wondered why there wasn’t a blunt and honest magazine that focused on the day-to-day minutiae of young men. Dirt was his answer, and it struck a chord with young men who needed to flex their cultural muscles.

Owner of a skateboard company

You might already know that Jonze has directed a range of skateboarding works, including the seminal Video Days (1991), but did you know he was also co-owner of Girl Skateboard Company?

Mostly remaining in the background as a champion of female skating, Jonze surfaced at one point to release a series of signature decks for girls, each containing an iconic image from one of his screen-works.

Maker of fifty-seven music videos

Jonze spent the 90s on music videos that only went from strength to strength. He was a go-to director for Weezer, Dinasour Jr. and most notably, The Beastie Boys, where his 70’s throwback clip for ‘Sabotage’ grew into an instant classic.

Spike now has carte blanche on artists he can work with, but perhaps his most iconic collaboration was with Fatboy Slim and that cinema verité street dance for the ages.

Basis for a character in Lost in Translation

Giovanni Ribisi, that mannered actor who’s offered up several brilliant performances but is primarily known as Phoebe’s brother from friends, played Scarlett Johansson’s boyfriend, a pretentious creative-slashy with too much money and credibility.

It’s no secret that Ribisi’s character is based on Spike Jonze, who at one time was writer/director Sophia Coppola’s beau.

Featured in the Detour-Moleskine travelling show

The idea for this touring exhibition was to display used Moleskine notebooks from the pens of notable scribblers, in order to give the general public an insight into the creative process.

YouTube offers footage of the notebook in all its simplicity, and the fact that it’s largely empty confuses the heck out of me. Or perhaps I just don’t want to understand it because the show enforces the use of Moleskine journals—a series of fillable books that Picasso and Chadwick did NOT use.

In any case, Jonze was involved.

Co-president of VICELAND

In 2006, Jonze joined nu-media magnate Shane Smith as Creative Director of Vice Media Inc., where he’s overseen millennial-targeted content with characteristic aplomb.

A decade later, this year the 47-year-old is heading up Vice Media’s dedicated television channel VICELAND, where he co-pilots all content, aiming to retain brand identity while introducing viewers to new creative voices.

As Shane Smith reveals in the above video, he and Jonze planned to use Viceland to “f*** s*** up”, a line that suggests we won’t be getting your typical serving of television news or entertainment on SBS VICELAND.

Jonze’s low-fi artificial intelligence software romance classic Her airs Saturday at 8:30pm on SBS VICELAND. 

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