Alex Ramsey

Alex Ramsey

Alex Ramsey


What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
My first professionally directed work was a project for Filmsupply in August of 2022. Filmsupply funded my short documentary called The Face of Fear. The film is an investigation of what it takes to cultivate courage, in ways both subtle and extraordinary, and the potential that awaits on the other side of our greatest insecurities.

How did you get into directing?
During my middle school years, my friends and I had an unusual and somewhat dangerous hobby – crafting longboard videos that captured our adrenaline-fueled downhill escapades, often over 50 MPH. One pivotal moment I remember is when we decided to infuse a narrative into one of our videos, prompted by a competition hosted by a longboard company.

The experience of crafting a story through the lens of a camera was nothing short of mesmerizing. It ignited a creative spark within me that had me completely hooked. As I transitioned into high school, I started directing short experimental films. These films ranged from a one minute vignette that aimed to communicate the subject’s personality without any dialogue or voiceover, to a five-minute scripted film about a painter who goes blind. This newfound passion led me to pursue formal education in directing, culminating in my enrollment at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, where I delved even deeper into the intricacies of storytelling through film.

What is your most recent project?
Limbo is my latest directorial endeavor in collaboration with the non-profit organizations, Border Angels and Define American. Limbo is a short documentary about an undocumented person’s life in New York City. Its primary purpose is to shine a compassionate light on the complex issue of immigration through storytelling. Through Limbo, my goal is not only to raise awareness but also to humanize the immigrant experience.

What is the best part of being a director?
The most exhilarating aspect of being a director is the ability to share my perspective with an audience. Having the privilege to craft visuals and sequences that convey my thoughts and emotions towards a subject is an incredibly cathartic and adrenaline-inducing experience. There is no better feeling than the rush of emotion when the vision I created in pre-production finally screens for an audience in the form of a finished video. The moment when my perspective meets that of the viewer, is a testament to the power of storytelling through film.

What is the worst part of being a director?
One of the most challenging aspects of being a director is the time it takes to transform a concept into a tangible, screen-worthy video. The journey from that initial spark of an idea to fully realizing it on screen is a process that requires patience and persistence. Even in the fast-paced commercial world, instant gratification remains somewhat elusive. Waiting for various elements to align in development can be frustrating at times. But, it’s during these moments of anticipation and waiting, that the true artistry of filmmaking unfolds, and the end result is all the more rewarding for the investment of time and energy.

What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
My current focus is commercials and feature films. On the commercial side, I aim to specialize in the fashion and auto space and to imbue my work with a rhythmic narrative sensibility. In feature films, my goal is to create riveting psychological thrillers and the occasional documentary film (on any subject that piques my interest).

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’ve had the privilege of being mentored by two incredible creatives in my journey as a director, each imparting invaluable lessons that have left a profound impact on my approach to filmmaking.

Peter Sollett, the director of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Raising Victor Vargas, instilled in me the belief that improvisation can yield breathtaking and unforeseen outcomes. His guidance emphasized the importance of embracing spontaneity and being open to the creative magic that unfolds in the moment.

On the other hand, Katz at Cosmo Street Editorial taught me the immense value of meticulous planning before embarking on a production or an edit. His wisdom underscored the significance of infusing intention into every facet of my work and the consistency of excellence planning ahead leads us to.

These contrasting perspectives have not only broadened my horizons as a director but have also enabled me to strike a harmonious balance between the serendipitous and the intentional in my filmmaking, ultimately enriching the quality of my work.

Who is your favorite director and why?
David Fincher is my favorite director working in feature films. For me, the defining trait of Fincher’s cinematic prowess is his remarkable consistency in quality. What sets Fincher apart is his meticulously crafted approach to scene construction, infused with a profound artistic sensibility. When I delve into his films, I’m consistently awestruck by the rhythmic cadence he instills in every frame. There’s an unmistakable pulse to his editing, perfectly complemented by his deliberate choices in camera work – whether it’s the controlled precision of his movements or the deliberate absence of them.

Daniel Wolfe stands out as my favorite director working in commercials, and his sheer mastery of the craft is abundantly evident in his work. His videos possess a rare blend of meticulous planning and breathtaking spontaneity, akin to the captivating chaos of a Jackson Pollock painting. What sets him apart in my mind is his consistent ability to surprise and captivate me, effortlessly weaving compelling narratives often without relying on a single word of voiceover or dialogue. In every project he undertakes, Daniel marries art and commerce beautifully.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
My favorite movie is Parasite by Bong Joon-ho. My favorite TV show is The Bear by Christopher Storer. My favorite commercials are David Fincher’s “Leave Nothing. Fate” spot for Nike in 2008 or Daniel Wolfe’s “Hello Light” DC for Volkswagen. What ties these disparate works together is the distinct mark of their respective directors, each demonstrating an uncompromising commitment to their unique artistic visions while executing them with a precise yet economical craftsmanship.

Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in Seattle, WA by Lake Washington. My formative years were a blend of adventure and creativity, as I dedicated much of my free time to skiing, longboarding, playing the drums and filmmaking. I also studied tirelessly and graduated top of my class in high school. While I was a student I insisted on creative freelance work over traditional jobs. I ended up taking headshots, recording comedy specials, etc. Upon completing film school at USC, I ventured into the professional world of production, initially diving head first into editing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my background as a drummer proved to be a natural complement to my work in post, allowing me feel the pace of an edit. These early years cutting my teeth in edit rooms across NYC served as an important period of growth, enabling me to not only sharpen my technical skills but also cultivate an extremely personal vision as a director.

Have you had occasion to bring your storytelling/directorial talent to bear in the Metaverse, tapping into the potential of AR, VR, AI, NFTs and/or experiential fare? If so, tell us about that work and what lessons you have taken away from the experience?
I believe that we’ve barely begun to tap into the full potential of AI and other new tech. Currently, I’m developing a project where I’m leveraging AI as a cost-effective alternative for some intricate visual effects in a music video. The excitement for me lies in the uncharted territory of creative possibilities that emerge as these technologies evolve. I’m looking forward to continuing to explore and execute new kinds of directorial visions as commercials and films inevitably move into augmented reality and the Metaverse in one form or another.