AXE Spec Commercial

Romina Schwedler

1) How did you get into directing?
I’ve been an actress for several years. One day, a story kind of barged into my mind so I started to develop it. The writing process and eventual screenwriting classes began to awaken more ideas that I just couldn’t wait to bring to life.

I realized that I wanted to ensure my vision would survive from first draft to final cut, so this lead me into wanting to direct and edit my own work.

I started by observing directors and their crews anytime I was on set and in no time found myself wondering how I would want to direct a certain actor or plan a certain shot.

So I started assisting in film shoots within my circle of friends in the field and continued studying and learning until last year I felt ready to direct my first project, the Axe Spec Commercial selected at this showcase.

2) What is your most recent project?
I just finished shooting a new spec commercial for a phone company which I’m now in the process of editing.

I’m also getting ready to shoot the three final scenes of a dramatic short called The Silent Treatment which I wrote and started shooting last year but had to put on hold until weather allowed for summer wardrobe without risking anyone’s health.

I’m particularly excited about this one since it’s the first dramatic work I’m directing.

After that comes a PSA that I just finished writing and then a music video for a song I composed.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
Giving birth to a world that would never have existed otherwise. Going from an elusive idea that only lives inside your mind into a tangible piece of work that can potentially affect others and change them in some way.

In a more personal level, after having worked in several fields within the arts, from ballet to singing and songwriting, and from painting to acting and screenwriting, the fact that I finally get to merge all of these disciplines and perspectives into the amazing and complex art form that’s directing is extremely fulfilling to me.

I also can’t help but mention how much I love the experience of working with creative people.

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
The worst part of being a director is the enormous responsibility of knowing that if anything is less than perfect it is ultimately my fault.

I very often struggle to keep perfectionism from getting in the way of the main goal which is actually getting the work done.

Another thing I have a hard time with is sometimes having to tone down my ideas due to budget constrictions.

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.?
I really enjoy doing commercials. They keep popping into my head and I’d really love to get them shot and preferably not in spec form!

However, my deepest motivation is drama. I have an ever-growing list of projects in development and want to be able to complete them all.

My biggest dream and goal right now is to get my recently finished 105 page screenplay into production ASAP.

Although I’m highly tempted, I don’t think I’ll be directing this one. I’d like to direct a few more shorts and commercials before I move on to a full length feature.

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 most with you?
My Father: He’s an award winning photographer and he has taught me a lot about composition. I have learned countless lessons from him but I guess the main one is that there comes a moment when you should just get out and do it!

My Mother: She’s an award winning writer, director, singer and actress who continues to inspire me day after day. She’s living proof that one person can do it all and do it well. The biggest lesson I learned from her is to trust my instincts and not be afraid to play.

My BF: He has taught me a great deal about cinematography, editing, lighting and directing and still continues to do so. I consider him my unofficial film school!

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
Tough question! By naming one I’d inevitably be excluding others and there are so many directors whose work I’ve admired for years: Charles Chaplin, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese.

However, if I had to pick one today I would say Christopher Nolan. He’s amazing at bringing his mind bending stories to life and that’s the genre I tend to gravitate towards the most.

It’s pretty much my wildest dream to have him direct my screenplay.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Another extremely difficult question to answer. I’d say 2001: A Space Odyssey, for many reasons but mainly because of the poetry and eloquence of its imagery.

Sci-fi is not the genre that most appeals to me but Space Odyssey goes way beyond being a sci-fi movie.

Other favorites are Shawshank Redemption, Memento, Inception, The Matrix, the Argentinean film Nueve Reinas, Rope, Midnight in Paris and Blade Runner.

9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born in Argentina and came to NY by myself at the age of fifteen invited by the School of American Ballet. My ballet career was interrupted due to a foot injury so I started taking acting lessons and working as an actress which eventually led me into directing.