Raising Dion, “Issue 208: Who You Are” (episodic TV excerpt)
What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
Queen Sugar in 2019
How did you get into directing?
After working on production crews for many years, I felt like I needed to get back to being creative, so I started writing and earned a spot in the 2014 AFI Directing Workshop for Women and Ryan Murphy’s Television HALF Mentorship Program. Eventually, I directed a couple of short films, including my short film Are We Good Parents? which Ava DuVernay saw at the AT&T Film Awards, and that’s when I was brought on to direct an episode for Queen Sugar.
What is your most recent project?
The Witcher, Season 3
What is the best part of being a director?
Being able to reshape the stories being told and how they’re being told.
What is the worst part of being a director?
Schedule, consistency and the brutal time crunches you’re continually on when trying to create.
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.?
It’s less about the genre or medium for me and more about what themes we’re challenging visually and emotionally. Whether it’s commercials, television, or movies, my focus is trying to get closer to me telling my own story or lending my perspective to a story that hasn’t been told in the way I see it.
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?
Macros Seiga – He always gives me confidence in myself when we chat.
David Fincher – Taught me the power of “No”.
Robert Rodriguez – Taught me how to edit and encouraged me to start meditating – which I still do to this day and which helps me calm my mind (this last one has been pretty life changing).
And something they’ve all constantly told me is to always be learning, to always be a student. Even directors who are experienced say they learn something new all the time.
Who is your favorite director and why?
Denis Villeneuve for his emotional visual style.
David Fincher for his precision.
Christopher Nolan for his ambition.
Chloé Zhao for her patience.
Spike Jonze for his out of the box creativity.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Right now, I love watching Euphoria and Watchmen.
Spike Jonze did two commercials I love to watch over and over–the Apple HomePod commercial and his Ikea “Lamp.” I love breaking down the HomePod piece. “Lamp” shows how you can make an amazing, poignant, memorable story out of a simple idea.
Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in Texas doing ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ and musical theater. I went to college to study musical theater, but left early and started working in the industry as a production assistant between Dallas and Austin on the sets of Prison Break, Walking Tall and Friday Night Lights. Eventually, I made my way to L.A. and continued working as a PA on sets like The Dark Knight, Insidious: Chapter 2 and Battleship.
How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?
I had the privilege of viewing it as a break. It taught me to value peace more and I learned a lot about myself. I finally got a chance to check out shows and movies that I missed, and rewatch ones that I loved, which made me feel more inspired.
Liz Silver, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.believemedia.com