White Collar Water Crisis

Jeff Chan

How did you get into directing?
It’s always a relief to me that I’ve found what I want to do with my life. It started when I took a film class at my high school and we had this phenomenal teacher who loved film and loved teaching it. Our class created our own little short film studio. We shot films on 16mm cameras, had big ideas and invented low budget methods of overcoming challenges. The process hasn’t changed much since, except the budgets and the ideas have gotten slightly bigger. Since that first class, all my decisions, conscious or sub-conscious, have led me on a path towards directing.

What is your most recent project?
I recently released a viral short called Find Makarov. It’s based on a popular video game franchise and serves as kind of an international calling card. Staying true to the game, the film takes place entirely in 1st person. Along with creating a custom face mounted camera system to capture the visuals we developed a narrative language that would weave together a story despite the limited coverage options. I think we did a good job translating the gaming experience and I’m very happy with the feedback we’ve been getting. It was released on YouTube around a month ago and has just under 4 million views.

What is the best part of being a director?
It’s such an incredible feeling to generate an idea, emotion or visual in your mind and have the ability to transfer that into the material world. There is a certain draw towards the passion and excitement that a good idea breeds and the people that work around you can feel that. And although I love all parts of the process there is nothing like being on set. It’s the one place where I feel completely fulfilled and extended. There’s nothing else quite like it.

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?

Phil Byrne, my high school film teacher, was an important mentor. I wasn’t a star student; in fact I was a bit of a nuisance. Constantly asking questions, occasionally breaking cameras and in one instance, using Phil’s cell phone to call France to secure soundtrack rights to my documentary. Phil’s patience and passion for teaching the medium allowed students to find their voices without the fear of failure. His teaching taught us a balance between craft, tradition, and philosophy along with a healthy share of films that now serve as an important foundation to my creative influences.