How did you get into directing?
I was always distracted by the art of making films. It wasn’t until I graduated with a pre-med degree, spent time as a youth pastor, an actor and student at Princeton graduate school that I finally took the distraction seriously. I soon “learned the ropes” so to speak after garnering the attention of another director who wanted to mentor me. It turned out that I had a knack for the craft and went on to start my own company, Red Van Pictures, where I produce and direct music videos. A couple years later I won the VMA for Video Of The Year at the MTV Video Awards. Winning the award lead to many new relationships, including my current relationship with Wild Plum where I now direct commercials. My distraction has finally become my career and I truly feel that when I am on set, I am home.
What is your most recent project?
I recently finished my first broadcast commercial for Lincoln that aired during the Grammys, which also had a successful viral presence. I am currently in production shooting the Ford music videos for American Idol. The videos are a uniquely exciting opportunity. It is an honor to get to work so closely with the Idols and Ford on one of most successful shows in television history.
What is the best part of being a director?
I believe that aside from the wonderful opportunities to travel, create and meet new people, the job itself truly utilizes all the skill sets that come most naturally to me, namely capitalizing on my abilities in artistry, communication, and teamwork. I love to be inspired and to use that inspiration to cast a vision. The ultimate satisfaction comes in seeing that vision become a reality.
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 have had a number of mentors along the way. While each left me with a uniquely indelible impression, it really is the amalgam of them that has made me the director I am today. From the directors that have inspired me, to the spiritual leaders that have fueled me, and to the number of producers and managers who have helped shape me, each has been a crucial addition to my journey.
Who is your favorite director and why?
I were to pick the one director that has had the most influence on me and inspired me the most, it would have to be P.T. Anderson. His approach to dramatic issues is both witty and insightful. He tackles familial issues in a way that captivates me both emotionally and cathartically. His images are flawless and the coordination of all filmic elements from sound, to design, to cast and crew is artful and masterful.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial?
My favorite movie is P.T. Anderson’s Magnolia. The film keenly tackles, issues of religion, the law, the delusion of family, the birth and death of man’s dreams, narcissism, depravity, righteousness, forgiveness and hope. Picking a favorite commercial is a difficult task, as I have seen so many in my 35 years. I have always had a penchant for the comedic, from Wendy’s commercials of old to the new campaigns from Skittles and Axe.
Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in a small town. While I’ve always loved my small town roots, there was always something itching inside of me to get out and see the world. Through college and beyond I had stints in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, New York, and Princeton. I’ve worked as a biochemist, a pastor, an Actor, and now a director. I feel blessed by the experiences I’ve been afforded and look forward to many more.