Jonny Gentry

GEICO’s “Unexpected”

Jonny Gentry


1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?

A series of cooking themed webisodes featuring famed chefs Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman, wherein Dracula could not prepare any recipes with garlic, Frankenstein wouldn’t cook with an open flame and Wolfman refused to wear a hair net.

2) How did you get into directing?

I’ve worked as a writer as well as worn a few different hats within the world of production. Those collective experiences burgeoned the desire to direct and so I dove in, head first, and made some specs.

3) What is your most recent project?

I’m working on some branded content for an ophthalmology company, and am in pre-production on a short, I’ve Come to Block Your Sun. I’m also working to get a feature film, set in the world of competitive Race Walking, off the ground.

4) What is the best part of being a director?

Getting to work both intuitively and conceptually while collaborating with passionate and creative people, all in an effort to bring into existence something visceral, exciting and impactful that didn’t exist before. Then transferring all that collected creative energy to an audience is the icing on the cake. Also the actual cake at craft service. When you’re the director you can claim that last piece!

5) What is the worst part of being a director?

I tend to approach things from a positive perspective. What I find can be frustrating is having a great idea that then can’t be executed due to a lack of time or budget. Often though, from that frustration, a new and better idea springs forth, turning the negative into a positive. That being said, I’m still trying to find the positive perspective on the condition of the porta potties about 45 minutes after lunch…

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?

I certainly want to do more commercials and branded content. That is a strong focus for me. Being a narrative junkie, I am also interested in feature films and series narratives. Regardless of the medium, I love making people laugh. I strongly believe that laughter isn’t just the best medicine, it’s the only medicine. (10 out of 10 doctors disagree). Making that visceral connection through story is such a powerful tool. And while I’m definitely at home in comedy, I’m interested in venturing out and exploring other corners of the world from time to time.

7) 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 with you?

I haven’t had the good fortune of a mentor yet. However, I try to learn something from everyone I work with and every experience along the way.

8) Who is your favorite director and why?

I love Mel Brooks. Part of his genius, of course, is his writing. But his ability to craft and deliver comedic moments on screen is without parallel. I also love Francis Ford Coppola for bringing a new mood and tone to American cinema and pioneering the path for some of my other favorite directors; Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. David Fincher is a master storyteller across many mediums. In the world of commercials, I love Wayne McClammy’s work.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?

Having a brother with developmental disabilities, Rain Main resonates very strongly with me. Seinfeld is my all-time favorite comedy show. Right now, I think Veep is hilarious. The rhythm and timing is masterful. It’s music. Of recent, I dig the Spectrum “Monsters” commercials and GEICO’s “Hump Day” always makes me laugh.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)

I was born and raised in New York City and starting working at the age of five. I was a showbiz kid, appearing on and off Broadway, singing numerous commercial jingles, soundtracks, and back-up on albums for a variety of recording artists. I currently live in Los Angeles, where I’ve worked as a comedy writer, a photographer, location scout as well as producer. I’ve recently become enthralled with bio-hacking and can proudly claim that due to an osteogenic loading hack, I now have more than twice the bone density than that of an average octogenarian.


Contact Jonny Gentry via email
Who Is Jonny