How did you get into directing?
Throughout my life, films have given me moments of inspiration, provided comfort in times of need, and fueled my desire to explore the human experience. When I was a child, I would spend hours recreating and adding scenes to my favorite movies using my toys. When I got older, I would read books on anthropology and psychology in the attempt to answer the basic question of why we do the things we do. Having a love of both photography and music, being a filmmaker was the natural step to bridge the imagination and wonder of my youth with the complex questions and experiences that I encountered as an adult. As a director, I have the opportunity to use that childlike curiosity and imagination to discover things about both myself, and the world around me. Hopefully what I share will inspire others the way films have inspired me.
What is your most recent project?
I am currently working on a project that I have written and will be directing that deals with both gun violence and the romanticized perception that we as Americans have with guns and their role in our society. Currently the project is in preproduction.
What is the best part of being a director?
The absolute best part for me is the opportunity to create and share ideas with both the people I work with, and the audience. To collaborate with others in the hopes of making people laugh or cry or simply to transport them to a reality that’s different from theirs. The chance to give people a glimpse into someone else’s world. We’re all a part of the same human condition in that we all laugh, cry, feel love, and feel afraid. As a director, I get to contribute to the greatest of all shared experiences, film. The idea that something I created will change the way someone thinks about something, or even just gives them something to ponder, exhilarates me.
What is the worst part of being a director?
The worst part would have to be the uncertainty. Having had the unfortunate experience of pouring my all into a project to have it end up on a shelf for no one to see was troubling. As a director, there will be those projects that, no matter how hard you fight and claw, will fall apart before your eyes. Funds get pulled, actors pull out at the last second, the mandatory script revisions that are given the night before the shoot, so on and so forth. But, that’s a part of the business and you just have to roll with the punches.
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.?
Coming from a background in long form drama and action I realized, after the experience of my latest project, that I find myself to be very intrigued by the commercial/branded content world. I find that entering that type of fast paced creative atmosphere will afford me the opportunity to diversify my genres and allow me to grow as a filmmaker. As far as my aspirations go, my ultimate goal is to enter into television series and features.
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?
Not having a professional mentor, I would have to give that award to my oldest brother David. When I was young he would take me to see all sorts of movies, planting the seed that is now coming to fruition. In terms of being my mentor, he taught me one of the most valuable lessons that I have ever learned: enjoying the process is more important than the results. He taught me that if you love the process of whatever you are doing and don’t just focus on the results, you’ll be far more likely to be both successful at what you are doing, as well as you’ll be happier and more fulfilled as most our lives is spent being in the process of something.
Who is your favorite director and why?
Though I don’t find myself having a favorite director, if I had to give that accolade to anyone, I would have to say Krzysztof Kieslowski. Through him I truly began to understand the level of detail and depth that can be placed into not only the film as a whole, but into each single frame and shot. To watch his works is to experience visual poetry.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Leaving Las Vegas. I find it to be the perfect storm of a beautiful script, brilliant acting, amazing direction, and an incredible soundtrack. More importantly though, is the way that all those components are blended together to engage us as an audience to such a hauntingly tragic story.
Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in Seattle. As a kid, I loved to play in the rain and mud and would often come home soaked to the bone. When I wasn’t outside living my adventures in the woods and climbing every tree I could find, I was either watching movies or using my toys to tell my own stories. When I got older, I worked a variety of jobs ranging from working on an assembly line, providing night security at a funeral home (yes, it was creepy), being a bartender/poor man’s psychiatrist, to butchering carcasses. Then…I went to film school.