How did you get into directing?
I started directing through my career as a fashion and portrait photographer. I was always interested in the moving aspect of story telling and for me the migration into directing was a very natural progression. I spent years volunteering for any position I could in order to get on the sets of films, music videos, TV shows, basically anything that could teach me how things worked. I also made a karate film when I was 12 on a Super 8 we had and a cassette recorder. Looking back it was a pretty big production and in my mind we had made a masterpiece.
What is your most recent project?
Most recently I finished a brand video for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation—Northern Nevada and am currently in the final stages of a tourism campaign for South Lake Tahoe. I am also in the early production of a music project.
What is the best part of being a director?
For me the best part of directing is being able to take the images and stories in my head and piece them together into something tangible. Sometimes it’s a whole story and other times it’s just one image that I want to develop into something more. Either way it’s the only thing (aside from my daughter) that keeps me awake at night.
What is the worst part of being a director?
I hate seeing a project that has the potential to be something meaningful get watered down by too many ideas, too many people and too many levels of management.
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.?
Right now I am focusing on commercials and branded content. I have one idea for a short film but it is still being developed. I like the idea of being limited to telling a story in a pre-determined amount of time. I also enjoy the challenge of holding people’s attentions long enough so they don’t a) turn the channel b) click on the next video.
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 wouldn’t say I have a mentor so much as artists, directors and photographers whose work I enjoy and get inspiration from. Without sounding to cliche, I think too much influence can cause confusion so I try to absorb my surroundings as much as I can but get my inspiration from within.
Who is your favorite director and why?
I have always been a huge fan of Chris Cunningham. His ability to move seamlessly between elegant, dark and humorous has always impressed me. From Rubber Johnny to Gucci he has always managed an edge, whether it’s a subtle hint or a smack to the face with a baseball bat, it’s always there and always consistent.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Living in London for 10 years I developed a love of the British sense of humor in advertising. Tango had a series of ads in the late ‘90s that were totally off the wall and utterly absurd but at the same time incredibly funny. The most recent work I have seen that makes me go back and view online are K-Mart “Shipped My Pants,” Volkswagen “Smiles” and I think Subaru are doing nice spots in general right now.
Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in Northern Nevada and initially studied graphic design and art. After college I spent 15 years working in London and NYC before returning to Northern Nevada. For over 4 years I worked as a photo assistant, grip, PA and general coffee-getter before I got my start professionally as a photographer.