Bianca Giaever

This American Life Videos 4 U: I Love You

Bianca Giaever

1) How did you get into directing?
I began in public radio, and during my last year of college I transitioned to turning my radio pieces into film. My filmmaking is still very rooted in my radio stories, and I always begin my process by making a radio story. Then I turn it into a film.

2) What is your most recent project?
A video series for This American Life called “Videos 4 U,” where we find someone who needs help saying something and make a video to help them say it. So basically we’re making video letters.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
I like the finished product, and honestly that’s enough to keep me going, but I find directing extremely stressful.

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
Spending large amounts of money for something that may not be that great. Not always having a clear vision. Stuff that you thought would work not working. The gap between what’s in your head and what happens in reality. Time constraints. Telling people what to do.

5) 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.?
My focus is on making stuff that is connected to public radio. Or just making public radio. If I can make stuff that has a “life is a strange and wonderful adventure” feeling as well as a slower, deeper, more resonant quality… then I would be happy.

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 with you?
I have so many mentors! Mainly they give me confidence, because they believe in me and are cheering for me. And that is a wonderful gift.

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
My inspiration for films comes more from radio producers than film directors. Just to name a few: Jay Allison, John Ronson, Nancy Updike, Ira Glass, Starlee Kine, Scott Carrier…

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Again—I consume much more radio than movies. I really like the Jay Allison story in the This American Life episode of “Classifieds.” And the infamous Starlee Kine story about Break Ups.

9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in Seattle. I went to a small liberal arts school in Vermont-Middlebury College. That was a wonderful time. I created my own major there called “Narrative Studies.” I did radio throughout college, and started making my radio pieces into short online videos during my last year of college.


Ari Kuschnir
Executive Producer