Jeff Bitsack

Jimmy’s Garage

Jeff Bitsack

How did you get into directing?
Back when I was working on ESPN at W&K NY, David Shane (our director on SportsCenter) planted the seed. I wound up directing a few things while still on the agency side, including some Emmy-nominated web films for Domino’s Pizza that I shot through Humble. I kept in touch with Eric Berkowitz, Humble’s EP, and eventually decided to make the jump to full-time directing in July ‘09.

What is your most recent project?
I just finished up two campaigns. One was for a new dating website called Zoosk, and the other was for Gillette with Derek Jeter, John Cena and a bunch of the NASCAR drivers. Right now, I’m working on a couple of spots for the UFL, a new football league. I can’t reveal much about the project at this point but let’s just say large, nasty welts will be involved.

What is the best part of being a director?
The figuring stuff out and seeing it come together really, really well. The team. The teamwork. The continual learning. The not having to go into an office every day. The independence. The freedom. I’m really having fun. Seriously, I love it. Especially the beret and those baggy pants that you tuck into your tall boots….very cool.

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 guess you could say my mentor has been all of the best people that I’ve worked with over the years. In one way or another they’ve challenged and inspired me to be better, to work harder and to keep pushing. Thanks to them I’ve seen and know what it takes to make something great. Hang on…I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Can I get a tissue?

Who is your favorite director and why?
For commercial directors I’ll tell you the guys I have a lot of respect for and whose work I find inspiring. Which isn’t to say there’s not lots of inspiring work from others as well. In no particular order: Spike Jonze, Frank Budgen, Bryan Buckley, Noam Murro, Tom Kuntz, Phil Morrison and Jim Jenkins. My vote for freshness goes to Spike and Tom. For film directors I’m gonna go with Wes Anderson and Tarantino.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial?
Impossible question. Favorites include GoodFellas, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Pulp Fiction, The Godfather I II, Chinatown, Slumdog Mllionaire, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Boogie Nights, Cool Hand Luke, No Country for Old Men, Fargo, Snatch, Annie Hall, The Big Lebowski, The Wizard of Oz, North by Northwest, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Graduate, Lawrence of Arabia…. Spots include Sony’s “Double Life,” Nike’s “Move” and “Morning After,” Honda’s “Grrrr,” and I’m out of words.

Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up on the agency side, mostly at Wieden + Kennedy. My last job was as an ECD at JWT NY. I’ve worked on a ton of TV and won a bunch of awards for clients including ESPN, Fox Sports, Mercedes Benz, Stride Gum, Swedish Fish, Jet Blue, and Dominos Pizza. On a personal note, I’ll mention that I’m addicted to fishing and just happen to be deathly allergic to fish. People seem to like that one.