British Movie

Rhys Thomas

How did you get into directing?
Rather circuitously. I’ve always known I wanted to work in film and I think, perhaps secretly, I’ve always harbored an ambition to direct. It just took about eight years in the theater, a dalliance in truly terrible video art and finally a six-year progression through the ranks of film production at SNL to get there. Every step has been about learning and I couldn’t have landed in a better place to educate myself than SNL-–the unique conditions of producing work on a three day turnaround week after week is continually challenging and teaches you a lot about decision making. The show goes on no matter what–once you’ve said you can do something, you’d better know you can do it. It’s always an adventure.

What is your most recent project?
A fake HBO First Look behind the scenes of Game of Thrones focusing on the contribution of it’s 13-year-old creative consultant, Adam Friedberg (played by Andy Samberg), who’s job it is to make sure that there’s enough boobs in the show. “He can look at a scene and immediately know what it’s missing.”

What is the best part of being a director?
I feel like everyone says this and I tried my very best to find an alternative response but the truth is: collaboration. No one makes a film on their own. It’s a team effort and I consider it my duty to create an environment in which everyone around me can flourish and deliver their best work. There’s no greater sense of satisfaction than when everyone steps up their game and succeeds.

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?
It’s going to sound cliché but SNL has been my mentor. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the most incredibly talented people in my time here. My boot camp was under Jim Signorelli–there’s not much I know about the process of film making that I didn’t learn from him. Our cast continually teach me that there’s so much more a talented performer can bring to a piece than you can ever anticipate. The writers and Lorne are always showing us that you can never run out of good ideas.