How did you get into directing?
By butchering a scene from Hamlet and then filming it on VHS for horror of my 7th grade English teacher. Despite her dismay, that shaky video ignited a love of directing actors that carried me through college. I’ve come a long way since then. The acting bug gave way to shooting and I ditched VHS for HD. I worked my way through the camera department assisting for talented DPs like Jack Lam to very savvy one-man band videographers. Whether it is a tv pilot, a big budget commercial, or an branded web series, you learn quickly that talented people are driven by a deep fascination of their craft. For me, it has always been that space between emotionally charged visuals and strong performances. Still possessing that youthful audacity fostered in the 7th grade I begged a crew to join me in Montana to make my Wind energy spec.
What is your most recent project?
I recently spent a weekend exploding wet and dry paint over the bodies of 20 dancers for Rags and Ribbon’s new music video. It was a blast. Commercials have always been my true calling but there’s nothing like stretching your imagination. Aside from the visual feast over the weekend, I recently wrapped up a TV campaign for Boston Medical, a PSA for YMCA, and a fun online spot for Capcom’s recent title Eye of Dante.
What is the best part of being a director?
The massive pressure. There’s nothing like high stakes to unify a body of smart people towards a common goal. I really lose myself in getting the best I can from people under these circumstances.
What is the worst part of being a director?
Waiting… that’s my thing though, my team is actually very fast because we’ve all moved up together, but that doesn’t mean I’m not chomping at the bit to get a frame up and block the talent. Call it a compulsion, but I like to get the actors in quickly and fail before anyone has had a chance to finish their first coffee. The sooner you bust the scene apart the faster you can align that pre-viz with reality, make adjustments, and set the path for the day.’
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 focused on commercials. Big visuals and strong performances is what I love.
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?
“Know your audience,” is the most important three words I have learned from my high school drama teacher. He was one of those rare artists that that could write a TV episode, stage two plays, edit a docudrama, and paint a 40×40 backdrop. He taught me to paint, write, compose a shot, hit my marks, and even sing. He also taught me that one musical was all the world ever needed to hear from me. Regardless of the medium, I learned that understanding the desires of audience is as important as knowing what you want from them.
Who is your favorite director and why?
This is where I geek out. I’ve got hundred of tags for youtube and vimeo links to spots categorized by all directors, genres, styles and techniques that feed my passion. This week, I have been fascinated by Christopher Hewitt and his inspiring Lincoln Journey spot. However, my all time favorite director has been Bruno Aveillan. I am continuously mesmerized by his blending of cultures and moods to create these kind of familiar yet intangible worlds.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial?
My favorite movie, Monster’s Ball.
Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in misty Washington State on the Puget Sound.