Michael Medoway

Lexus’ “The Art of the Dunk”

Michael Medoway

The Lodge

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?

I had been doing a bunch of video competitions in between producing jobs, but landed my first professional work in 2016. It was a cosmetics commercial for Japan. One of the producers I work with took a leap of faith and hired me to do the shoot.

2) How did you get into directing?

Like a lot of kids in the ‘90s I got into filmmaking with a miniDV camera and one of those bubbly iMacs. First it was skate videos, then some really bad short films–but I got the bug early.

3) What is your most recent project?

A short content piece for Chameleon Cold-Brew about their sustainability efforts in Guatemala. We traveled to coffee farms in Huehuetenango shooting interviews and portraits of coffee farmers to create a travelogue film. I’m also in post on a short doc about a neon sign maker in Japan.

4) What is the best part of being a director?

The opportunities to travel. Last year I shot fishermen in the Bering Sea, a boxer in Mexico, a neon sign maker in Japan and coffee farmers in Peru. Because most of my work is documentary, being able to work intimately with people from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe has been a never ending education and a blessing.

5) What is the worst part of being a director?

Learning how to be patient. Having an idea and trying to bring it to life can sometimes feel like a never-ending process.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?

Right now I’m focused on doing commercials and branded content. Most of the work I do is verité / documentary style, but recently I’ve been pushing more abstract visuals into my documentary work. While I’m enjoying doing short form content I’d like to explore longer forms in TV/Film over the next few years.

7) 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 with you?

I’ve had a few at different stages in my life. Growing up my father taught me that a strong story always trumps flashy visuals. In film school I had some great professors, but Raymond Rea really pushed me to do good work and gave me the confidence to pursue filmmaking. Gary Thieltges, who I worked under at Doggicam (remote head/high speed-dolly rental shop), instilled in me that “good enough” was never good enough. Jeff Murray, the EP at Downtown Reel, always stressed the importance of being nice to people no matter how much stress a job puts on you.

8) Who is your favorite director and why?

This is really tough, but here are a few filmmakers I look up to: Alfonso Cuarón, Wong Kar-wai, Errol Morris, Stanley Kubrick, Spike Lee, Akira Kurosawa, Spike Jonze, Hiroshi Teshigahara and Mark Romanek. Werner Herzog was an inspirational figure to me. His passion is contagious.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?

Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Woman in the Dunes, Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves, and Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men are some of my favorite narrative features. For TV, my favorite series is probably The Wire but I also loved True Detective (1st and 3rd seasons), Black Mirror, and Breaking Bad.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)

I grew up in Los Angeles and went to film school in San Francisco. Through high school and college I had a side gig as a copy writer for feature film advertising. After school I moved to Japan for a change of pace and ended up living there for 6 years. At first I was an English teacher but I ended up working in Japanese commercial production and a script translator. After the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in 2011, I thought it was an opportune time to head back to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking. I started working as a coordinator at a service company, Downtown Reel and then started producing Japanese commercials which I did until 2018.


Contact Joshua Eady, Executive Producer/Partner, The Lodge, regarding Micahel Medoway via email
The Lodge