David Knight - 18th Feb 2014

A marvellous video for J Cole's She Knows by Sam Pilling about a teenager in Los Angeles who blows off school to have some fun with his buddy, but gets much more than he's bargained for. 

Sam put non-professional actor Armani Cooper, playing Kyle, with actors Harold Perrineau and Rochelle Aytes as his parents, to create something very believable. And J Cole makes a telling cameo too...

Sam Pilling:

"I wanted to explore the everyday lies and secrets that can exist in families, particularly between parents and their children. However, I liked the idea of playing with people's expectations by turning the initial deceit on it's head and revealing a far greater secret from an unlikely character.

"I really wanted the video to feel authentic so we reached out to a friend of mine (shout out to Copelan Hackwith) who put us in touch with some of his skater mates. Both Armani & Taqwa blew us away from the start.

"Cole and his management got behind the idea and wanted to make the video as filmic as possible, suggesting we cast real actors. I was excited at the possibility of working with Harold. He was really into the story and needless to say it was an absolute pleasure and an honour to work with him.

After casting our lead boy it was important for me that we didn't just get 'named actors' in the video but that Kyle's parents actually looked like they could be his parents.  The combination of Harold & Rochelle seemed like the perfect match.

"We shot the video over a few long days in and around South Central. The whole crew worked really hard to make it happen - massive thanks to Sarah Park who produced the hell out of it ("standaaaaaaard" ) and for Pat Scola and his camera crew who nailed the photography '100 peh-cent'. 

"It was invaluable to have a few days working intimately with just Armani, Taqwa, and a small camera crew. It gave the two boys a chance to really bond and for them to feel comfortable with us too. 

"Having spent the best part of two months in LA it was time to go home so we did the post back in the UK. Because of the nature of the shoot, we had A LOT of footage but as ever Ellie at Speade did a great job of moulding it all together beautifully. 

"James Tillett did a really lovely job on the grade and brought the whole project to life. Sound design was always going to be an important part of the video as I wanted to get the balance between song, sound & dialogue just right. Shout out to Zak Razvi who put us in contact with Luis & Henning at Soundtree - as with the whole process, it was an honour to be working with such talented people."

PRO Credits


DirectorSam Pilling
ProducerSarah Park
Production CompanyPulse Films
Executive ProducerLaura Tunstall
Director of PhotographyPat Scola
EditorEllie Johnson
Editing companySpeade
ColouristJames Tillett
Grading companyMPC
Sound designLuis Almau
Sound designHenning Knoepfel
Casting directorIvy Isenberg
Production SupervisorEvan Urman
Production SupervisorKourtney Gleason
1st ADKenneth Taylor
1st ADEvrard Salomon
2nd ADMark Saleem Beasley
1st ACJake Bianco
Production designerMandy Cheng
Costume designerMichelle Thompson
GafferKoby Poulton
Hair & Make-upNeicy Smalls
Sound RecordingMartin Kittappa
CommissionerChaka Pilgrim
Other credits2nd AC: Elver Hernandez, Kathryn Begle Set Dec/Prop Master: Andrew Drayton, Jason Trinidad Art PAs: Bryan Fulk, Jason Look Key Costume Asst: Jordan Scheinberg Costume Asst: Riley Billingsley Best Boy Electric: Stephen Chang Key Grip: Eddie Apodoca, Ranjeet Rajan Best Boy Grip: Avihai Yaffe, Alex Tamayo Asst Prod Coordinator/Key PA: David Cho PAs: Will Anderson, Ben Epand, Matt Faigh, Aram Martirosyan, Danita Clark, Sandy Danto, Therese Whitten, Mario Ocean Anaya CAST: Kyle: Armani Cooper Dad: Harold Perrineau Mom: Rochelle Aytes Friend: Taqwa Thomas Cop: Mike Tellez Lover: J.Cole

David Knight - 18th Feb 2014

Related Content


Chaka Khan 'Hello Happiness' by Sam Pilling

Sam Pilling's superb, cinematic video for Chaka Khan's Hello Happiness harks back to the time when this legendary soul diva was first hitting the charts with funk outfit Rufus, in the early …

David Knight - 15th Jan 2019


Wretch 32's Anniversary by Sam Pilling

Sam Pilling delivers an emotional split-screen tale of heartbreak for Wretch 32's Anniversary, with some thoughtful synchronous moments to propel the narrative. "Taking the reflective nature of …

Jimmy Brown - 28th Feb 2011


Alex Clare 'Treading Water' by Sam Pilling

Alex Clare gets progressively immersed in water - representing 'the emotions of a break-up' - in Sam Pilling's dramatic promo for new single Treading Water. "This was an extremely ambitious idea …

Jimmy Brown - 21st June 2011


Riz MC’s Get On It by Sam Pilling

Riz MC (aka actor Riz Ahmed) introduces his debut album MICroscope - to be released in early 2011 - with this atmospheric thriller for Get On It directed by Sam Pilling which develops the album's …

David Knight - 27th Oct 2010

Latest News