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Michael Stahlberg | SHOOT New Directors Showcase Event
Michael Stahlberg


Michael Stahlberg

How did you get into directing?
I’ve always been fascinated by capturing reality, originally in photographs, later with a film camera. Now when I work from a script or storyboard, I am searching to reproduce this glimpse of authenticity every time I train the camera on anything, I am going for this moment that is most real and intense to support the story. If the final film does not feel authentic, it’s garbage.

What is your most recent project?
I am working with the Australian indie rock band Satellite Sky on creating online content and music videos. Our most recent project, a video for the Song “I’ve got this Feeling,” is currently in postproduction, while filming a series of spots for Inter Art, a non profit dedicated to preserving the dying art of print making.

What is the best part of being a director?
Designing the pieces, putting them all together and then, witnessing how it all gets a life of its own. A film is a very complex puzzle, and every single piece presents its own challenge. Sometimes it is very hard, but then there are times when everybody pulls at the same time, and everybody involved becomes a part of this thing that is bigger than oneself. Those moments are truly magical.

What is the worst part of being a director?
On every shoot, there are moments that are out of your control, and naturally, as a professional, you want to limit those moments down by preparation. At the same time, artistic breakthroughs are very likely to happen in these very moments. As the director you carry all of the responsibility for the quality of the final product and these moments can be nail biting experiences, or pure magic, or both. In the end, the thing to do is, to trust your experience and intuition, and hope that the client does the same.

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 got started in the business by making coffee and picking up phones, working myself through the ranks at Tony Kaye’s company first in London and then West Hollywood. At that time in my life working with somebody who is so uncompromisingly creative, has been a life altering experience, professionally and creatively. Nowadays I find teachers and mentors all around me.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
There is so much great work out there. An all time favorite of mine is Wrangler’s “Ride”, and more recently The Guardian’s “Three Little Pigs.”
As far as music videos go: ‘Regret’ by New Order is a timeless classic for me, but there are so many brilliant ones that have been made since.
Shorts: Nuit Blanche by Arev Manoukian is just wonderful.