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Ben Tedesco | SHOOT New Directors Showcase Event
Ben Tedesco


Ben Tedesco

1) How did you get into directing?
I became fascinated by film at a very early age. I loved going to the movies, I loved renting movies, but as a kid I never got the chance to experiment with a camera and make my own. I had the thought in my head that so many people in my family are doctors and that I had to go that route in life as well.

I got into directing after taking a silent film course in college. It was originally for an easy A, but there was no turning back after that. Once I was going through the filmmaking process myself, I realized that I truly loved every aspect. The excitement I got from bringing a story to life from start to finish made me realize directing was the only place for me.

2) What is your most recent project?
After finishing the Farrier piece that is being recognized at the New Directors Showcase, I dove back into writing. I have some great long-form pieces that I’ve been working on in my spare time. My next project will likely be a prologue or a short teaser to one of those. I’d love to get more into the story, but I think I’d rather wait until it’s closer to finished before giving away too much. I will say that I’m excited to finally take my first steps into the sci-fi genre.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
The best part of being a director…Creation. Imagination. Storytelling. Emotion. Collaboration. These are just some of the words that immediately come to mind. It’s difficult to encapsulate the whole thing into one short answer. The process just feels like me doing what’s right and natural. Directing is frustrating and fulfilling at the same time. It’s amazing and scary. One moment I feel like I might cry and the next I’m climbing the walls with excitement. I don’t know if I could really narrow down the best part.

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
Every shoot has its problems. Frustration hits and eventually it will break you down, but picking yourself back up, solving the problem or working around it is extremely gratifying. The most challenging parts of a project often turn into the best parts of a film.

5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, VFX, etc.?
I just signed with Superlounge for US commercial representation. Jordan, Dave, and the Superlounge team are hard at work getting my name out there to the ad world. It’s all very exciting. I found my way into filmmaking through commercials, working my way up from a PA to a production manager, so it’s fitting that this is where my directing career will officially begin. I’m very lucky to be involved with talented filmmakers who are also great people.

Beyond that I am always looking for the best ways to bring my stories to life, whether it’s via the Web, TV or the big screen. I want to always be pushing my limits and telling stories that are important to me.

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 most with you?
I really look up to my Dad. He works hard and always has. He’s respected and admired by the people he works with. The guy started running marathons at the age of 40 just because he wanted to. Now he does somewhere between 5-10 races a year. At 53, that’s pretty impressive in my book.

He really set a precedent for my siblings and me, but at the same time never demanded we try to be him. We grew up with him telling us, “Do what makes you happy.” He found what made him happy and did everything he could to get there. He’s a great doctor, a great guy, and an outstanding Father to look up to.

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
My favorite director? Really? Next you’re going to ask me my favorite movie…Oh wait that is the next question. There is no way I could narrow it down to just 1 or even 2. What I will say is I love a director that has his or her own unique voice and uses it to tell really interesting stories that force me to think and feel.

Working in commercial production, I had the pleasure and sometimes displeasure of encountering some very notable directors. The best were always those who had humility and compassion for the people helping them bring their ideas to life. Brilliance can be amazing to witness, but respect comes from a simple thank you or smile of appreciation.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Blazing Saddles and Caddyshack are two movies that my Dad, brothers and I practically know by heart. We quote them all the time. I think Alien is one of the most perfect sci-fi films ever made. Tim Burton’s “Batman” was the start of my infatuation with cinema. Casablanca is the height of filmmaking in my mind. Jurassic Park got me so excited as a kid that I wrote a letter to Spielberg telling him how much I liked it. My life is full of movies and experiences that go along with them. I appreciate the people I share them with and what they mean to me personally.

9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
Midwest by birth with an East Coast family, but raised in the West. I’m one of five kids and I wouldn’t change that for anything. It’s been a long road to where I am now, but the journey has been undeniably grand and is just beginning.