The Salesman

Jeff Jenkins

How did you get into directing?
When I was very young, video cameras were as big as my entire body.  As I grew bigger, they became smaller and at some point we became suited for each other.  Because I had younger brothers, naturally I told them where to stand and what to do.  Use of “extreme closeup” in my early work was perhaps gratuitous in hindsight.
After that, my high school had a pretty high-tech video program and I learned how to shoot, edit (linear baby!) and direct live to tape sporting events complete with announcers, playback and killer opening music.

What is your most recent project?
There was a joke that I wanted to bring to the screen for a long time, so I adapted it into a spec PSA of sorts for Ad Council.  I cannot reproduce said joke here due to its profane nature.

What is the best part of being a director?
I’m like a kid in a candy store when I’m directing.  Being a director to me is about unitizing all of the departments to create the best thing possible.  So being involved in every aspect is the best part.  I’m a huge tech nerd, so I view all the gear as expensive toys.  I also love the entire art department.  It’s like an adult playground.

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.?
I enjoy visual storytelling the best.  Especially when anything magical or imaginative is involved.  I’d love to shoot more visual effects spots.  And comedies.  Magical comedies basically.

Who is your favorite director and why?
Probably Wes Anderson…for all the reasons that makes him Wes Anderson.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
My favorite movie of all time is Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. My favorite commercial is probably a Cheese Nips ad that Rocky Morton directed.  It involves a guy sitting on the bag and it exploding orange powder everywhere.  The actor’s performance is brilliant.

Tell us about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up about 40 minutes outside of Detroit.  I moved to Los Angeles in 2005 after writing and directing comedic educational videos for a couple years.  I started working in editing and worked at Cosmo Street Editorial, Superfad and in house at Chiat\Day.