1) How did you get into directing?
After interning at @radical.media in Santa Monica throughout high school, I went on to study film at USC. During this time, I began interning and producing projects for director Ace Norton and ultimately used these experiences, and what I learned from Ace, to jumpstart my own career as a director. I reached out to artists and managers and ultimately got the chance to direct my first video for a group called NERVO, which allowed me to establish myself in the genre of EDM (electronic dance music). Although, I guess if you want to go way back, I really started directing in middle-school, when I would spend my free time making movies in the backyard with my friends, who would act in my films in exchange for my dad’s famous carne asada tacos that he would cook up for us once we had wrapped.
2) What is your most recent project?
I am editing a video that I directed for Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and am also in the process of developing a script for a feature-length film that parodies EDM culture. I am excited about this project and have some awesome support from the artists that I’ve worked with in music videos.
3) What is the best part of being a director?
The best part about being a director is that you get to collaborate with others so often. I have the pleasure of getting to work with so many of my close friends and constantly be surrounded by inspiring individuals.
4) What is the worst part of being a director?
I sometimes envy the schedules of the crew positions that get to be on different sets all of the time. As a director, there is often more time spent off of set pitching on jobs etc. but I wish I could always be on set.
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.?
Currently, I mainly direct music videos and hope to eventually move into film, branded content, commercials, and television. I really enjoy narrative storytelling.
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?
I would say my dad is my mentor. He always has my back and has taught me so many lessons. He is a retired Fire Captain and would always bring me to film sets when I was a kid if he was ever hired on as a fire marshall. Professionally, I have also learned a lot from Jen Heath, Dave Meyers, and Ace Norton. They have all given me great career advice and have provided me with some really cool opportunities in the past.
7) Who is your favorite director and why?
A tough one but I have to go with Spike Jonze in this case. His films are brilliant and his earlier work is what inspired me to get into music videos. I remember buying his box set of music videos and watching it over and over when I was in high school.
8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Such a beautifully executed idea. For commercials, I would say anything by Jonathan Glazer, especially his old Guinness ads.
9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born and raised in Santa Monica, CA and come from a huge extended family. My dad has twelve brothers and sisters so I have a ton of cousins. I played sports all throughout my childhood and received an athletic scholarship for baseball to attend Crossroads School.