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Drew Pollins | SHOOT New Directors Showcase Event
Drew Pollins

“Is it Over?” PSA

Drew Pollins


What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
“Bring Gaming to Life” for AMD Processors in 2019. We shot it as if the camera were exploring a scene that was frozen in time. We used some tried and true camera trickery and then elevated it with 3D modeled props floating in mid-air.

That same year I also was hired to direct the feature film, Ice Cream in the Cupboard. It premiered at Rhode Island International Film Festival, where it won a Best Feature and Audience Choice award. It’s now available to stream on Amazon Prime.

How did you get into directing?
Making skateboard videos with my friends as a kid. I began to develop my directing style and voice while studying film at the University of British Columbia, then as a directing fellow at AFI Conservatory, where I had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best producers, cinematographers, editors, writers, and production designers I’ve ever met. I learned to direct large-scale teams and productions, and my grad thesis won the College Emmy Award for Best Comedy.

What is your most recent project?
I just wrapped an American Express commercial with one of my favorite production companies, The Heist. I wrote and directed the spot, featuring a fictional family of miniature horse haulers who rise up to the new challenge of hauling standard-sized horses. Getting laughs from the client, agency, and producers all throughout the process made every day of working on it feel like play.

What is the best part of being a director?
Weaving together the talent of agencies, production companies, artists, and film crews is a magical process. We are all creatives in separate disciplines, but when we join together, we become filmmakers. Just like Megatron. I love that.

What is the worst part of being a director?
Not being able to bring my dog to set and leaving my phone charger in the hotel room.

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.?
I write and direct comedies of all shapes and sizes. Advertising is my focus and I have a special affection for high concepts with heart.

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?

  • Peter Markham – Even the master must remain a student.
  • Lynne Stopkewich – Cultivate a circle of storytellers for professional feedback.
  • Rachel Talalay – Smashing glass ceilings is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Andy Wolk – How to locate a story’s jugular vein.
  • Tatia Pilieva – Create authentically. Give generously.

Who is your favorite director and why?
There’s a load of directors I find inspiring, but Spike Jonze always comes to mind first when I’m asked for a favorite. If you check out his behind the scenes content you’ll see the joy that he brings to his work. And every time I see that I think to myself, “Damn, that’s how it’s done.” He’s having fun. And it flows through his team, through the film, and into the hearts of the audience. Anyone, in any industry, can get inspired by that.

*Honorable mentions: Lynne Ramsey, PTA, Barry Jenkins, Fellini, Iñárritu, Ninian Doff.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?

  • Movie: Punch Drunk Love
  • TV: Arrested Development
  • Commercials: “World’s Biggest Asswhole” (Gordon+Speck, Furlined) and “Veg Power: Eat Them To Defeat Them” (Ninian Doff, Pulse)

Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in Pleasanton, California. Sounds nice, but it was mostly cookie-cutter housing and business campus parking lots. The parking lots came in handy when I was learning to drive. The week that I received my driver’s license, I started my first job delivering flowers. I couldn’t find the address for one of the bouquets, so I gave the flowers to my mom. The florist took the bouquet out of my pay. I netted minus $25.00 that week.

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?
In times of tragedy, comedy is even more necessary.


Unaffiliated: Contact Drew Pollins via email