1) How did you get into directing?
We first became interested in directing when we saw the Citizen Kane (1941) of our generation, Batman (1989). Growing up, we wanted to be Batman. However, once we realized that our love for the character stemmed from Tim Burton’s gothic vision, we gave up our bat capes and decided to pursue filmmaking.
2) What is your most recent project?
We are currently in postproduction on a new short film entitled Universal Gentrification. The piece is a mock public service announcement that imagines a dystopian future in which alien hipsters have taken over the Earth.
3) What is the best part of being a director?
The best part about being a director occurs when a crew member laughs at one of your bad jokes.
Apparently we weren’t as funny when we were production assistants, who knew? Just kidding, we were always funny and extremely modest.
4) What is the worst part of being a director?
The toughest part about being a writer/director is trying to communicate the importance of entertaining content over traditional advertising techniques. Consumers don’t want to be sold, they want to be entertained.
5) 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.?
Our career is focused on branded content. We enjoy making people laugh while using subliminal mind control techniques to push products onto the masses. But in all seriousness, our brand voice is naturally inclined towards comedy with a healthy dose of surrealism. We enjoy entertaining audiences with a character, an image, or a narrative that they never knew they were missing in their lives.
6) 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?
We have always been rich with support by a fabulous array of teachers, peers, and family members. We were fortunate enough to be the sons of two optimistic baby boomers who have always encouraged us to follow our dreams, be true to ourselves, and all that other feel-good stuff that is common parenting these days. We love you Mom and Dad!
7) Who is your favorite director and why?
As cliché as it may sound, our favorite director is probably Stanley Kubrick. While Kubrick may have only directed a handful of films, his persistent vision, aesthetic innovations, and narrative mastery allowed him to set the standard for every genre in cinema from science-fiction (2001: A Space Odyssey ) to horror (The Shinning ).
8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Aside from Batman, one of our favorite films is The Graduate (1967). Beyond The Graduate’s prolific direction, writing, and soundtrack (which consists of pure gold from Simon and Garfunkel), it’s a film that seemingly asks different existential questions and provides different answers with each repeat viewing.
In terms of branded content, we have always looked up to our fellow Bay Area directors Terri Timely (2006 SHOOT NDS alumni). Ian and Corey’s new “unskipple” YouTube ads for Geico are particularly ingenious and hilarious.
9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
We grew up in Oakland. California, doing odd jobs that included: catering, technology services, and retail until we graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California. After college, we decided to make the big bucks and started working as unpaid production assistants. However, by continually working on sets we learned the logistical side of filmmaking, built a network, and met a lot of new friends, which eventually prepared us to create our own films.