Sphero’s “BB-8” campaign (compilation)

Michael Wald

Unaffiliated

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it? 
It was probably one of the first big projects I directed for Sphero back in the summer of 2015 and into 2016, promoting the SPRK+ ball—a fun little robot that introduces kids to coding.

2) How did you get into directing? 
While I was growing up, seeing a good commercial for whatever reason, was just as fun as going to the movies sometimes. Looking back now, I think I was recognizing early on just how much creativity could be packed into a tiny piece of content, and thinking that was the coolest thing ever. Seeing fruit wage an epic war against a blender, or soaking in the wack-genius of Skittle ads... I just ate that stuff up. I even remember sitting in class before Channel One would come on, and I memorized a Pepsi jingle about getting a free cd... just because I thought it was the catchiest song in a commercial I had ever heard. Anyways, as I started to learn more about how commercials were made, the more I found myself gravitating towards the Director’s role- the person responsible for bringing all those ideas into the world.

3) What is your most recent project? 
My most recent project has to do with a web-slinger in New York, but that’s all I can say.

4) What is the best part of being a director?
I have to say it’s seeing that story or idea that was in your head, literally come to life in front of you and become something tangible... something real. And sometimes it changes too. Yeah, the core foundation is still there and it’s very important to keep that intact. But a lot of times on set, little pieces of magic will happen that are completely unplanned yet extremely valuable, and you have to be open to recognizing/embracing those moments. Most of the time, they end up making the final product even better. So witnessing all of that happen... it’s pretty great.

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’d say it’s commercials right now, with also an emphasis on branded social content. My work tends to be witty with an artful/playful side to it. Movement and emotion gets me the most excited. The genre seems to come into play after that, whether it’s comedy, action, or science fiction.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 
I’m originally from Oberlin, a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. After high school I attended Oberlin College, which was literally just down the street, and quickly realized I needed to see more of the world. So, it was off to experience some city life at NYU for a spring, filming and cutting with 16mm film. Then I went a bit farther, down and across to the beaches of Perth, Australia. After returning to the states, I hit up the west coast to enroll in a grad film program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Somehow, 9 years flew by out there, before I found myself moving to Denver to make videos for a tiny little tech start-up named Sphero. So... I’m on my 4th time zone now, and am open to a 5th.