1) How did you get into directing?
I studied Film and TV Production at NYU’s Tisch School. There I started directing music videos, and worked at Smuggler for two summers. In 2008, I formed Uncorked Productions with producer and fellow Tisch alum Andrew Corkin.
Together we’ve had feature films premiere at Sundance, Cannes, and SXSW. After graduating in 2009, I worked as an editor on the agency side at Mother and now at Deutsch. In 2012, I directed my first short film, Father/Son, which premiered at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival. And most recently I wrote and directed my debut feature film, Big Significant Things, which premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival.
2) What is your most recent project?
I recently wrote and directed my debut feature film which starred Harry Lloyd (Game of Thrones) and premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival. It’s currently on the festival circuit.
3) What is the best part of being a director?
Being a director!
4) What is the worst part of being a director?
Being a director.
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 current focus is expanding my work as a commercial director while writing my next feature script and producing a feature in the fall. However the story is told, I gravitate towards satirical yet dramatic character-based narratives about and around human experiences.
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 learned from Billy Wilder that (to paraphrase) being a director will make you feel like the smallest man in the world. And I think that’s important to remember. The guy said a lot of things that are important to remember.
7) Who is your favorite director and why?
Hal Ashby for The Landlord, Bob Rafelson for Five Easy Pieces, Peter Bogdanovich for The Last Picture Show, Yasujiro Ozu for his comedies, Alexander Payne for sharing his love for and knowledge of cinema, and Billy Wilder for everything written & directed up until 1974.
8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
I wouldn’t call them my favorite commercials but Steve Ayson’s “Happy Mornings” spot for Folgers will always make me laugh and Jamie Rafn’s “The Man Who Walked Around the World” spot for Johnnie Walker is impressive on every level.
9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born and raised in Bethesda, MD, where at age 11 my father introduced me to Andrew Dice Clay. Throughout high school I worked at an ice cream parlor, summer camp, and grocery store. I sucked at ice hockey and had two dogs.