How did you get into directing?
I was gearing up to put my first short film (Sugar) together and while looking for a director, my producer simply asked me, “why don’t you just direct it?” That was the first moment I realized I could direct, essentially just assuming the role of director. After reading “On Directing Film” by David Mamet, it became even more apparent to me that I loved it and would continue to do it.
What is your most recent project?
My most recent project is a short called Bus Stop which I directed and starred in, shot by a fantastic cinematographer, Morgan Susser. It is currently being edited, I’m also working on a viral project for Motorola, and a feature film to be shot in Chicago.
What is the best part of being a director?
Control. Working with great, experienced cinematographers and producers and directing wonderful actors.
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 most with you?
My good friend Nate Brown was a mentor to me throughout my early stages as a director, and now I’d say its Tony Hale who I live close to in Los Angeles. Mostly I’d say the lesson that sticks with me most, is love what you do, do what you love, find your gifts and go hard and fast in those, and also; delegate well and serve the people you are working with.
Who is your favorite director and why?
It’s between two; Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese. Woody because he lets the performance play out, he lets the camera sit there beautifully while some engaging scene between two people plays out mostly comedically, yet never going for the joke. Marty engages you with the camera, using some extremely simple yet technically complicated move, while his actors are having it out on screen. The emotion (whether comedic or dramatic) displayed in the films of each director is probably what I’m most drawn to.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial?
I’m sure every director has answered this starting off; ‘thats a tough one’ because it is. I love Manhattan and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Favorite commercial is probably Spike Jonze’s IKEA spot featuring the lamp, I also love his Gap commercial, and I dig most Bud Light spots.
Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up 15 minutes outside of Chicago in a town called Winnetka, most of my interest in entertainment came from my mom being a drama teacher, so I would always watch films, go to plays, and just hear about the in’s and out’s of performing and the arts. I studied comedy, writing and acting at The Second City Chicago, Improv Olympic, and Piven theater. Most of my directing experience came from being on sets, and actually doing it. I worked at Starbucks for a while, then I waited tables for a bit but got fired from all of those jobs.