How did you get into directing?
Directing came to me like a firm slap in the face. I was 14 at the time, sitting in Dr. Sima’s high school acting class. He assigned us to report on anyone in the entertainment industry. Naturally, I chose Steven Spielberg. Three biographies later and boat loads of adolescent optimism, I purchased his little known video game, “Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Chair” (shockingly, Amazon still lists it brand new for $15). And after assembling a crude, rather ridiculous video game movie, I was hooked. I immediately went home and told my Mom that I had abandoned all previous career pursuits—including marine biology and professional basketball.
What is your most recent project?
In addition to a few commercial projects, we’re working on a rather unique documentary for acclaimed and self-proclaimed advertising luminary, Cornelius Trunchpole. Advertising Age’s Man of the Year in 1942, Trunchpole is rumored to have invented the voiceover and the billboard—among other groundbreaking innovations. For the project, we’re gathering interviews from around the country with some of the industry’s most elite on how they were influenced by the man.
What is the best part of being a director?
Perhaps the best part about being director is the unmitigated access to the craft service table. It’s kind of like having unlimited Fast Passes at Disney Land. Otherwise, I love the variety and collaboration of it. You’re constantly exploring different worlds and occupations—from wardrobe and makeup to animal training and sound design, not to mention the variety of stories and characters you get to know. If only for a moment, I love having access to these different cultures and ideas.
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?
Frankly, my biggest mentor in the field is probably my former roommate, Ben Ketai. Ben and I worked on a number of projects at Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures for a couple of years, and he was fortunate enough to take his tutelage from Sam, himself. But to me, Ben brought a level of accessibility and friendship I likely wouldn’t have had with a more public figure. He’s since gone on to a successful feature directing career, but he continues to be a strong advocate and supporter. Regardless of the medium, his advice stays consistent: story first.