Tinder’s “Our Story”
1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
Most of my commercial work has been as a cinematographer, so outside of a few music videos I consider this spec commercial for Tinder to be my first time directing.
2) How did you get into directing?
I co-own Pan Up Productions with two other people and a few years ago we moved from Austin to New York. Getting noticed in a city like this can be a challenge, so we each committed to writing and directing one commercial on spec. Mine was the Tinder commercial playing here, and it was my first time helming a project from script to screen.
3) What is your most recent project?
I’m working on a documentary project about the Vietnamese side of a close friend’s family. We shot in Vietnam for about a month earlier this year, and are working together to see where the project leads us.
4) What is the best part of being a director?
There’s something so special about imagining something that doesn’t exist yet and working with your friends to make it real. You know that eventually people will get to see it, but in the moment it’s just you and your team playing make believe.
5) What is the worst part of being a director?
The sometimes endless cycle of imagining projects and creating treatments that don’t get made.
6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
I’m just focused on trying to tell compelling stories, whether that’s in a commercial, narrative, or documentary project. I don’t plan on specializing in a particular genre – I just don’t think I have it in me to do one kind of thing forever.
7) 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?
My dad, though not specifically a work mentor, is the greatest guy I know. He’s taught me to stay calm and just take the world as it comes.
8) Who is your favorite director and why?
My favorite director is John Cassavetes–I love the way his films are less about plot and more about the changing weather of the characters’ emotions and how they affect one another.
9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
I absolutely love the Cassavetes film Faces. The way the characters’ moods shift over the course of these long meandering scenes is incredible to watch.
10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in Texas and lived there until a few years ago when, at 29, I decided to give New York City a shot. While in Texas I started Pan Up Productions, which is now based here, with two friends and collaborators, Taylor Washington and Robert Ravenscroft. I’ve also spent years as a gaffer and cinematographer, which has given me the opportunity to observe directors and take note of what to do – and not do – on a lot of projects. I love shooting as well as directing, and on this project I was able to do both.
Contact Emmett Ker-Perkinson via email
Pan Up Productions