1) How did you get into directing?
I grew up making films, but where I was from a person worked for the government or became a lawyer. DC isn’t known for creativity. I was fortunate to meet a film director and it clicked – I realized all of my natural talents were well suited for being a director and once I realized it was possible, I just fell in love. I went all in. I transferred from regular college to film school. I spent the next several years working for people in film and commercials, absorbing everything I could and spending any money I earned financing my own projects until I was good enough to be noticed for my work.
2) What is your most recent project?
My most recent completed project is commercial for Ford.
3) What is the best part of being a director?
The two loves of my life are my wife and storytelling. It’s in my DNA. I direct because I have to. It’s what I was put on this earth to do, so to be able to do what you love is the greatest joy in life there is.
4) What is the worst part of being a director?
If you are fortunate enough to actually be a working director, nothing is bad. The worst day as a director is still better than the best day in a cubicle to me.
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.?
I’m branded as a comedy director for commercials. Not many people know I actually just really enjoy telling stories and moving people emotionally. I’ve had dramatic films play in festivals nationwide. I enjoy working in any medium that gives me the opportunity to entertain and captivate an audience.
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’m very fortunate to have a couple of great mentors. There’s no one particular thing that resonates. It’s an encyclopedia of great insight that was collected throughout their 20+ years of experience. The one thing they all say is to always be shooting something, and that’s what I’ve always done. I believe directors direct, not just talk about it.
7) Who is your favorite director and why?
There are many directors whose work and careers I greatly admire. Craig Gillespie, Peter & Bobby Farrelly, Mark Neveldine and Harold Einstein are at the top of the list. Their talent, work, and work ethic are inspiring and humbling. They’re very special to me and whatever I make of my career, I’ll always owe it all to them.
8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
There are many pieces that mean a lot to me for different reasons. I wouldn’t be in this showcase if “Dumb & Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary” hadn’t been made. Those films easily had the most profound impact on me. They revolutionized comedy.
9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up just outside in Virginia. My family’s roots are blue collar. I’ve always loved telling stories and performing. I acted in school and I really loved it. I actually won an award for it. I was fortunate to have parents that let me express myself. For past jobs, I’ve done everything from mopping and cleaning toilets at fast food restaurants to working in the family business. After film school I moved to LA with no connections. I still remember the moment I was hired for my first internship at a production company. I’ve\ worked as a temp, receptionist, set PA, office PA, development assistant, writers’ assistant, producer’s assistant, all to get a job as a director’s assistant. I’ve carried thousands of cups of coffee.