Iams’ “Susan & Karma” (web short)
1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
In Spring of 2015 the kind people at Cercone Brown hired me to direct an integrated campaign for Rockport shoes. Across broadcast, digital, and print we profiled a series of “daily adventurers”—real people who embodied the spirit of the brand in their everyday lives.
2) How did you get into directing?
I came to directing through writing. Having been a feature screenwriter, a freelance copywriter, and a treatment writer for other commercial directors, it was a natural next step. My writing background allows me to approach directing from a storytelling perspective.
3) What is your most recent project?
Recently I directed a pair of short films for Iams pet food – including “Susan & Karma” which is featured in the NDS this year. Conceived by Tribal Worldwide, the campaign tells emotional stories about real people who have special bonds with their pups. As a lifelong dog owner I felt like I was among my people.
4) What is the best part of being a director?
Telling stories. As a writer I did this with words. Once I started directing I understood the power of telling stories visually. Visual stories are complicated to execute, and the limitations of the medium force you to whittle your ideas over and over. That process leads to a story that’s more refined and powerful because of all the shaping that has been required.
5) What is the worst part of being a director?
6) 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.?
I’m focused on telling resonant stories for brands. Much of my work thus far has been documentary-driven. I love working with real people, but I am also excited to bring that type of authenticity to more narrative and visual storytelling projects.
10) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I started out working in features. First for a talent agency, then in development at Miramax Films, and eventually as assistant to a feature film director with a deal at DreamWorks.
I wrote my first screenplay while working for him, and signed with CAA shortly after. I set up a couple scripts around town, most notably at Focus Features. To fill in the gaps between screenwriting jobs I wrote commercial treatments for many different production companies and directors. After a couple years “directing on paper” I decided to do it for real and maxed out the credit card on a spec spot. It led to representation and my first paid directing gig.
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