The Mindblower
Mitch Lewis, Greg Washburn, Nik Kazoura

The Kloons

1) How did you get into directing?
The three of us have been making each other laugh since we were 18, but after college we found ourselves continually coming up with ideas for scenes and sketches. We were tired of waiting for something cool to happen to us, and had the right amount of courage and naiveté to buy a camera and think that we could make it happen.

After many failures and some great successes we are proud to say that we’re now directing addicts of the first degree. Because we learned on the fly as a three-man team, we’ve discovered how to wear many hats to usher projects from infancy to completion. On any given day we each can take on the roles needed to keep our team kicking ass, we are all writers, DPs, directors, and editors.

2) What is your most recent project?
You may or may not have heard of Tesla Motors and SpaceX. We have heard of those as well. Currently we are wrapping up post-production on a new sketch called ‘Cross Fi†’ for our YouTube channel, a parody in which we compare the cultural prowess of CrossFit and Religion.

Mitch is also currently working as the YouTube channel manager for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Yes, he uploaded that one clip that you saw on Facebook.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
The best part about being a director is working with an idea that makes us laugh and turning it into a reality. Directing has also allowed us to collaborate with our many, extremely talented friends on a variety of projects. The three of us work very well together as we’ve been friends for so long. It’s like working on a puzzle together, encouraging the actors we are working with, and putting the right pieces together to see our vision into fruition.

Also, yelling “Action!”

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
We wouldn’t be spending our time directing if we didn’t enjoy it, so it’s hard to pick a “worst,” we’ve also never believed in absolutes...ever...until now! The worst part of being a director is that we can’t work on multiple projects at the same time because we have so many offers and we have to turn down lots of pieces.

The other worst part of being a director is walking away from a shoot knowing that you had to settle with a take that doesn’t quite meet the vision you had in mind because of time or resource limitations.

5) 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.?
As a three-man team exploring the edge of infinity, we always have our eye(s) on multiple prizes, including branded content, TV series and feature films. Our YouTube Channel puts us in a unique position to instantly distribute our work to people around the globe. As we continue to build our presence online and have an audience that directly follows our work, no matter what avenue we go down next, we bring tremendous value that is growing every day. Our focus is to share playful and mindful ideas through video to inspire a positive shift in the way people live. Which form that takes shape in is secondary.

6) 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?
We were lucky enough to work with the insanely talented Andy Fickman and DJ Viola through our experience on Internet Icon. They have both provided huge insights and have been major supporters of our work and goals ever since. The most valuable advice they’ve imparted on us is to embrace every opportunity that comes our way, because we never know where each one may lead.

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
Nik: My favorite contemporary director is Jonathan Krisel (SNL, Tim and Eric, Portlandia, Kroll Show).

He uses his surreal and absurd perspective to not only direct, but write and edit his shows as well.

Greg: I love the Coen Brothers for the dark comedy that they infuse into their simple dramas. They treat everyday people as heroes in epically simple sagas, making the inherent tragedy of life that much more palpable.

Mitch: I am 100% biased, but because we have worked mostly in the digital space, I feel particularly drawn to the work of many of our peers. I feel that the work of Good Neighbor (director Dave McCary), BriTANick and The Brothers Riedell is exceptional.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Nik: My favorite movie is Forrest Gump. It’s one of the few films that has made me laugh and cry. Every Old Spice ad in the past few years has been amazing. They’ve even developed a large YouTube following with nearly half a million subscribers.

Mitch: It’s between Waking Life and I Heart Huckabees, both have resonated with my own wondering about what is really going on here.

Greg: My favorite movie is Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life. It is a beautiful blend of serious comedy told lovingly and irreverently. From animations to musical numbers to space-and-time travel, this movie has it all! (Spoiler: at the end they reveal the true meaning of life.)

9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
We are all California natives who met on the first day in the dorms at UC Irvine. While building this thing called The Kloons, we’ve taken many odd jobs to stay afloat, and it’s safe to say that without Craigslist we may not even be alive today.