Tiffany Frances

What I Wish You Said

Tiffany Frances


1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
I won a pitch last year to direct a branded short film for National Geographic as part of the “10 Days of Genius” Film Festival. It was a really personal project in which my family was involved and I cast my mom, so it was a crazy experience to see it get a million views on Facebook.

2) How did you get into directing? 
I started learning filmmaking at UCSD, where I studied film in a very theoretical way. I watched a ton of avant-garde and experimental film during the time, and I also worked under the guidance of a few amazing professors (including Jean-Pierre Gorin), who were incredibly influential to me and the way I think about film. After that I attended the graduate program at Art Center College of Design, where it was the opposite: it was a very practical program and I was on set all the time. I’m pretty grateful for the clash in my studies. Since then, I’ve been investing in my reel and continually networking.

3) What is your most recent project? 
This showcase’s project, a short film “What I Wish You Said”, is my most recent, as I just completed it. I’ve been in pre-production for another short film for awhile, and I’m also trying to embark on a documentary about female surfers.

4) What is the best part of being a director? 
I really enjoy the entire process from pre-production to release. It’s a truly special job to be able to collaborate with so many different types of people and create together. Being a director also means I can use the medium of film to the fullest. I have many different interests, from composing music, photography, writing, art, activism, etc. in which film really lets me engage all my ways of expression. That’s probably one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

5) What is the worst part of being a director? 
I overanalyze and overthink everything. I’m an idealist and a perfectionist, so I am really self-critical of my work. It’s excruciating. Something else that I try very hard to take as a happy challenge, is making real compromises due to budget and time constraints.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 
My current career focus is working in the commercial and branded content world. I do love narrative, which is definitely part of my long-term plan. I would say my genre is more dramatic, but I also love being playful, whimsical, and theatrical.

7) 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? 
I’ve been coached by many, but as of now I’m actually in the market for a mentor. I would really value artistic and professional guidance from someone I look up to.

8) Who is your favorite director and why? 
Sidney Lumet is a mastermind in the classic cinema realm. Contemporarily, I’ve always admired Lynne Ramsay for having a unique sensibility that’s thoughtful and each of her pieces is visually arresting from the inside out. I’m also really into cinema from South Korea, the standouts there are Lee Chang-dong and Kim Ki-duk – they both have an incredible knack for storytelling, dealing with sensitive subjects, while bridging art and entertainment seamlessly. For music videos, Floria Sigismondi creates the stylistic choices that I really resonate with. Commercially, I’m in awe of Bruno Aveillan for his sophisticated eye.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 
I’m currently obsessed with Call Me By Your Name – the pure storytelling, incredible acting, perfect soundtrack, all within the beautiful sun-drenched Italian countryside is nearly indescribable. My all-time favorite movie is When Harry Met Sally. My favorite television shows are Insecure, The Night Of, Felicity. I love Alma Har’el’s JellyWolf short film for Chanel / i-D – feminist fashion film featuring Lisa Bonet with trippy visuals – need I say more?

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 
I am a Taiwanese-American raised in California, from San Jose to the suburbs of Los Angeles. I attended school in LA, and have since moved to NYC, though recently have been floating between the 2 cities. I grew up studying photography, theater, and music. I’ve had so many jobs, it’s pretty funny in hindsight: barista, record store clerk at Amoeba (one of my favorites), graphic designer, intern, casting director, producer, post-producer, editor. I do believe my experiences in other positions in film have helped me wear a lot of hats in production and communicate effectively with clients. My focus has always been to direct professionally, and it’s finally manifesting. It’s been a wild ride, and I look forward to more of it.


Tiffany Frances

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