How did you get into directing?
In high school, I’d see any midnight screening of any movie, sitting in line for hours to get a seat. Feeling the excitement of other obsessed fans was always really inspiring and I had a crazy desire to create that emotional response in others, similar to how a chef wants hungry friends to enjoy his or her labored cooking. It wasn’t until I read Robert Rodriguez’s REBEL WITHOUT A CREW that I realized I too could do this, as his message was that creativity can overcome any budget restriction. So, off I went, spinning chaotic backyard filmmaking into a love of cinematic craftsmanship.
What is your most recent project?
My most recent project is extremely special. It’s a short film called The Forge which is inspired by, in honor of and in response to producer Eric Lim’s sister committing suicide. It’s a film we wish she saw when she was in a dark place. She left us her wedding money and we decided to transmute the tragedy into this project. To bring creation from destruction and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
What is the best part of being a director?
The best part of being a director is the unpredictable life situations and connections filmmaking brings. Every project has different needs, leading to new travels, friendships and challenges that often create priceless life growth.
What is the worst part of being a director?
Creation in any form, be it child birth or any shade of art, is an uphill battle until it’s done. Then it’s rewarding. Mostly.
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.?
My focus is to do GOOD WORK WITH GOOD PEOPLE. I seem to do well with (and have a natural love for) emphasizing emotion and action. In the end, it’s about the selfless giving to the audience.
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?
In a less intimate mentoring capacity, I edited movie trailers when I was 23 and was lucky enough to work directly with long respected heroes of the film industry and their studio executive overlords. That was insanely educational. More personally, I have had a few mentors in a few trades: Metal sculpture, movie marketing and directing itself. I’ve had the extreme luck to be given guidance from a director hero who, before I knew him personally, was my #1 inspiration from afar via books, interviews and DVD commentaries.
Who is your favorite director and why?
Anyone who mixes style and substance in equal parts to do these things:
1. Make the feels.
2. Show us something we have never seen before.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
I can’t list my favorite movies, but I CAN talk about one that is incredibly inspiring (and very good). 127 Hours, by Danny Boyle. Somehow, a man stuck under a rock is an energetic, moving, innovative experience packed with crazy creativity. It shows that it’s not entirely what you do, it’s how you do it. Same goes for commercial or music video work. Innovation and technical flashiness is great, especially selfishly to an artist, but all that really matters is creating a new emotion in the viewer. From a marketing perspective, said new emotion makes a deep connection which the product gets to be responsible for and associated with. That product is now intertwined with the viewer’s life memories. IKEA LAMP!
Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in the San Francisco bay area, doing a plethora of weird jobs (kids shoe salesman / iron foundry work / “scantily-clad-dignified-women-centric-film-for-classy-people” special fx) while shooting backyard movies.
Eventually, one backyard movie (that included breaking onto private property and throwing a refrigerator out a 2nd story window) got an MTV Movie Award nomination, which led to “for realsies” creative stuff all up in here, to the effect of cutting movie trailers (Transformers, Grindhouse, Smokin Aces and more), developing a TV show at Warner Brothers and jumping off the financial security cliff into the waters of freelance directing aspirations. I recently burned a hole in my floor filming hell-lava in my apartment, so not much has changed. As above, so below.