"M" (excerpt from short film)

Josh Banks

Unaffiliated

What was your first professionally directed work and when was it? 
In 2018, I was hired to direct the animated pilot for Cape Kids, a children’s educational TV show about kid superheroes. I was lucky to work with some talented and experienced actors on that project including David Faustino (Married With Children, The Legend of Korra) Keith Powell (30 Rock) Carolina Ravassa (Overwatch) and Suzy Nakamura (Avenue 5). Since then, I have directed several corporate videos and PSAs for national brands, and M was my narrative directorial debut.

How did you get into directing? 
I have been a professional actor for 30+ years, and I’m fortunate to have worked on some amazing productions. By being on set (with professionals who were generous enough to answer my many questions,) I learned about lighting, sound, cinematography, editing and directing. Every film and TV set has been a new opportunity to learn how all the pieces of the industry fit together. I’ve always had a strong desire to tell stories, and directing naturally evolved from there.

What is your most recent project?
M is my most recent project (although I do have two feature films and a graphic novel in development). The film was an Official Selection of the Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, a Film Shortage Daily Short Pick, an Official Selection of Twelve Cabins--and an Official Selection of Omeleto where it was distributed online and has over 29k views. It was a wonderful opportunity to write, direct and edit a story in my own unique voice and style.

What is the best part of being a director? 
I love every aspect of filmmaking, and I’m a massive tech nerd so I especially enjoy diving into the rabbit hole of cinema tech, both past and present. There are always challenges, and finding creative ways to tell stories is like figuring out a puzzle. It’s a joy when everything suddenly fits together.

What is the worst part of being a director?
We are finite creatures, limited in our time here on earth. So many stories, so little time…

What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre--comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?​
I am currently focused on pursuing both narrative filmmaking and branded content/commercial directing. In the narrative space, I enjoy stories that take place in the fantasy, sci-fi and horror genres. Commercially, my specialty is non-comedic visual storytelling with a fantastical element. I have a particular fondness for high concept perfume commercials and fashion films.

Who is your favorite director and why?
I have many favorites: David Fincher for his style and pacing, Steven Spielberg’s grand storytelling, Tim Burton’s appreciation of the weird, Ridley Scott’s command of suspense, Denis Villeneuve’s composition...I’m cheating by answering too many (and too few) instead of one favorite, and I’m okay with this.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
My favorite piece of branded content is a fashion film called Dior Le Château du Tarot directed by Matteo Garrone. His ability to capture art as fantasy is superb.

Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born in Rhode Island, and I moved to New York City when I turned 18. New York is still my home base, but my career has taken me to Los Angeles and many places in between. As an actor, I’ve been on TV shows like Bloodline, Mr. Robot and Hostages to name a few, and I made my off-Broadway debut in Woody Harrelson’s play “Bullet For Adolf” at New World Stages. I also appeared in the video game Madden 2020. As a lifelong gamer, that was an especially cool experience.

How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset? 
During the pandemic, I began writing the projects that I’ve been talking to my wife about for years. It gave me the time to finish several - as well as land my first paid screenwriting job on a feature film. The pandemic also enabled me to take stock of my career and solidified my decision to shift my focus more toward directing. As an actor, you’re at the whim of others in how your career progresses, but as a director, you are the one who gets to provide opportunities and shape the narrative. I’m excited and grateful to be able to step into the director’s chair more in the future, and I appreciate SHOOTonline recognizing my work.

Contact

Unaffiliated: Contact Josh Banks via email
Website