The North Face's "Cross Country Adventure" (branded content excerpt)

Adam Donald

Honor Society

1) How did you get into directing? 
I had an interest in cinema from childhood and started out professionally as a cinematographer and an editor. After interning at a production company while at SVA, I immediately started working on small shoots where I was making stylistic choices on set as well as in the edit without directors on board.
Seeing all of my ideas come to fruition at the end of each job made me realize that I was essentially directing these pieces, really enjoying it, and from then on made directing my focus.

2) What is your most recent project? 
Right now I’m in the middle of directing several Virtual Reality spots for a Samsung campaign. I’m creating VR short films that center around celebrity chefs and musicians. Each spot is unique and will be displayed on several different platforms. This is all part of a big push Samsung is doing to create captivating VR content.

3) What is the best part of being a director? 
The best part of being a director is being at the helm of a strong crew and all working together towards a common goal. Directing also involves a lot of problem solving and I love the challenges that I’m confronted with, it keeps me sharp and focused. I’m constantly discovering something new about the world as a Director, and no project is ever the exact same. I also really enjoy having a specific vision and executing that idea and having it come out exactly or better than I could have anticipated. That’s such a rewarding feeling.

4) What is the worst part of being a director? 
18 hour shoot days

5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 
I want to be on the forefront of new technology while implementing that into creating visually stunning and captivating stories. Embracing new ways to tell stories including VR and 360 platforms or any new medium that might not even exist yet. I’m currently focusing on narrative work that’s based in a realistic and not too distant future. Whether it’s through films, experiences or commercials, I’m interested in creating high end glossy aesthetics, embracing elements of tech and crisp and clean imagery.

6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
I don’t really have a mentor. But I’m constantly surrounding myself with extremely talented people who help me grow as an artist. We constantly push each other to be better and push boundaries.

7) Who is your favorite director and why? 
This constantly changes but I would have to say I admire the work ethic and multiple talents of Steven Soderbergh. He directs, shoots and edits, and he’s one of the most efficient directors out there, and still pushes boundaries. I strive to operate the way he does. Stylistically and when it comes to story and mood/tone one my favorite directors is Paul Thomas Anderson.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 
A few of my favorite films are “2001 Space Odyssey,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and “Boogie Nights.” My favorite television shows are wide ranging, from “Black Mirror” and “House of Cards” to “Seinfeld,” “EastBound and Down” and “Baskets.” For commercials I really like the VW “Force” spot directed by Lance Acord, also the Stella Artois commercial that was directed by Wes Anderson.

9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in Texas, my Mom is a photographer and my Dad is a writer. I always loved film, and was exposed to a ton of art as a kid. Starting in photography I eventually picked up a handycam and would shoot skate videos with my friends. But I never really took it seriously until I was in college. I decided that photography wasn’t enough for me and I applied for my MFA at School of Visual Arts. After that I got a job at Atlantic Records as their in house “predator.” (shooter/editor) and also freelanced for several ad agencies. Eventually I built my reel to be strong enough to land some bigger directing jobs. I co-founded a production company called Mad Pictures and most recently signed with Honor Society.