Memories

Cole Webley

How did you get into directing?
I’m not sure what triggered my interest in film but by middle school I knew that’s what I was going to do. I studied film at college and worked mostly as a DP. I had always planned on directing, and coming up through the camera department helped me develop a visual intuition that informs my work today. I shot a lot of spec work and built a reel I was proud of and then started shopping it around. I’ve been the beneficiary of lots of great advice and guidance from my filmmaking peers. I was fortunate enough to sign with Uber Content. I have amazing EPs and reps who believe in me as a filmmaker and have invested time and care into helping me shape my career. In the end, any success I’ve had can be attributed to our hard work, perseverance, and some good fortune.

What is your most recent project?
I directed a job for American Express featuring the band, The National. The spot features the band discussing the genesis of their creation, their new sound, and the influences that shape them as creative musicians. This is in conjunction with a new “white” charge card Amex is rolling out that is targeted towards young adults assumedly stepping out on their own for the first time and shaping their identity. It’s being edited now.

What is the best part of being a director?
I think the best part of directing is the fact that I can make a living doing what I love. I realize that is cliche, but honestly it’s true. I love film, I love telling stories and I love working with people. To have an artistic vision and to have such talented people to collaborate with to achieve that goal is invigorating. Nothing moves me more than film. It’s such a powerful medium.

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?

My mentors have always been my parents. They have encouraged me from day one to go after my dream of being a director and have equipped me with the knowledge and skills to do so. They taught me that hard work is the central ingredient to any success. They taught me how to handle failure and how to handle success. Everything I have, including a wonderful family is because of them.

Who is your favorite director and why?
With so many amazing directors to choose from I’ll list my two favorites of today, Rupert Sanders and Dougal Wilson. I feel a strong affinity towards their sensibilities as visual storytellers. They are consistently at the top of their game. Dougal’s innovative methods have influenced a new generation of commercial and music video directors, while Rupert’s visual style continues to blow my mind over and over again. I’m always eager to see their new work.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial?
My favorite film is probably Magnolia or The Thin Red Line. Both of those films changed the way I watch and approach cinema. I have been a student of early cinema but in terms of modern cinema only a few filmmakers seem to understand the moving image as well as P.T. Anderson and Terrence Malick. Those films are considerably different pictures but both their simplicity and complexity continue to inspire me as a filmmaker.

Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in a rural town in Washington, the third of six boys. I had a paper route, raised a pig for the county fair, and mowed lawns. It was a great childhood. Being a filmmaker was not in my cards. Luckily, my family loved to watch films and very early on I discovered these men and women behind the camera. It was then that I knew I was going to be a director.