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Erik Anderson | SHOOT New Directors Showcase Event
Erik Anderson

Chevy’s “Heirloom”

Erik Anderson

How did you get into directing?
I got into directing through writing…a lot of writing. Teleplays, short stories and particularly screenplays. I’ve also been blessed with what I’d like to believe is a vivid imagination. Ultimately, merging the two gifts has led to some pretty fruitful spots. All I want to do is produce more of them in the future.

What is your most recent project?
The most recent project that I’ve just completed was a spot I’d directed for UNICEF out in Uganda. A beautiful country with just as beautiful a people. The piece itself revolved around some corruption within a women’s organization. Spots like this are moving on a socially political scale. Loved every moment.

What is the best part of being a director?
The best part of being a director is the work itself. More often than not, I’m approached to direct spots whose subject matter I enjoy. It’s even better when I get to work with those who also share that passion. It doesn’t feel like work. And that’s heaven.

What is the worst part of being a director?
I went to the Stantley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA last month. Apparently, Stanley had a producer who’d left him to go direct. Stanley wished him well and let him know that directing can be a “lonely profession.” I’ve given those two words a great deal of thought. Stanley was right. It can be lonely. And that’s why one must toil to fill that void.

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 career focus is commercials and branded content, though as of recently I did EP a spec television pilot. I simply like to work…all the time. There are times when a project gets pushed or times are slow. I fill those gaps by working with other filmmakers. Keeps me sharp. In the loop.

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 wish I had a film mentor. All I had was the personification of “work ethic” in my father. Being in construction, he was always swinging the proverbial hammer. I knew early on that I didn’t want to follow in his footsteps, but was smart enough to know that whatever career I did follow, that it was that type of work ethic that I would need to carry in order to succeed.

Who is your favorite director and why?
I’ve never had a favorite director. I respect a rather large portion, but never a favorite. Here’s why. Julian Schnabel did an amazing job with Diving Bell And The Butterfly. Ridley Scott wove an extradordinary tale in Bladerunner. I love stories with heart. I’m sorry if I can’t pin a favorite. Too tough a question with too many great filmmakers out there roaming the hills, SHOOT, too tough. My apologies.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial?
TOP FIVE MOVIES—Bladerunner, Diving Bell And The Butterfly, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Usual Suspects, 8 1/2.
TOP FIVE COMMERCIALS—Any e*Trade talking baby spot, Chivas Regal-“Here’s to Twinkle,” Tecate Light-“Parents,” Nike-”Take It To The Next Level,” Chevrolet-”Chevy Runs Deep” (Impala spot).

Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
Grew in the San Fernando Valley to two middle class parents who never told me I couldn’t do anything. Unless, I wanted to be an attorney. My father opposed such transgressions. I played a ton of sports throughout my youth. My focus on filmmaking came years later after attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Once there, I really put it into another gear. Kind of had to. Competition is fierce. I haven’t looked back since. Don’t intend to.