Artisan Series

Mark and Amanda

How did you get into directing?
Mark grew up in his Dad’s camera shop and Amanda has been filming avant-garde films since age 7. Both midwestern born and bred, we met at Optimus and became fast friends and filmmaking partners.

We honed our craft making spec spots and branded content together in our free time because we like to laugh. We gradually earned more opportunities to win work and direct spots for the company. In a little over a year, we’ve created a well-rounded reel that we’re proud of.

What is your most recent project?
We just finished work on commercial projects for Shedd Aquarium, Illinois Lottery, and Brookfield Zoo and also recently completed a short documentary for Specimen Products that was featured as a Vimeo Staff Pick.

What is the best part of being a director?
It’s amazing to see a project all the way from script to edit. There’s something enchanting about sitting in an edit room and seeing it all come together.

What is the worst part of being a director?
Being the night owls that we are, 5:00am call times are not ideal.

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.?
We are currently represented by Optimus, a commercial production and post house located in Chicago, so our focus is primarily on commercial work and branded content. Aside from that, we totally love working on music videos, short form documentaries, and narrative pieces. We’re excited by anything creative and constructive that caters to our short attention spans.

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 mentor each other and are also super lucky to work at such a wonderful company full of talented editors, designers, effects artists and producers. It’s an amazing environment to work in, and we are always learning and incorporating new styles and techniques with each project. Plus, all of our best friends in the world work here.

Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
Mark grew up in Indiana, and developed an interest in photography at an early age working in his dad’s camera shop. Amanda was raised in Illinois amidst cornfields, and often filmed videos in her basement, dreaming of Sundance and/or local news fame. We met at Optimus in 2010, are best friends, and have been directing campaigns both big and small ever since.