Images Med Spa's "So What?"

Tyler Davis

Tessa Films

What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
"So What?” - Images Med Spa - September, 2020

How did you get into directing?
I’ve been filming and directing videos and shorts with my friends and colleagues since college, but during the pandemic I was a part of a from home sketch comedy show on the streaming service TOPIC. I wrote, self produced and directed weekly sketches that eventually got me on the radar of Tessa Films and CBS.

What is your most recent project?​
I’m currently serving as associate director of the ViacomCBS 2022 Sketch Comedy Showcase: A yearly outreach and diversity initiative that gives up and coming talent from across the country a platform to be seen by the industry. It’s dope, check it out!

What is the best part of being a director?
The energy of everyone on set! It takes so much planning and hours to get something produced, and walking on set feels like the payoff of all that work. I’m the most awake on the day, even if I’m tired from the aforementioned planning and man hours. When I’m excited on the day then I can’t wait to show the finished product to the team that helped bring it all together.

What is the worst part of being a director?
I always want to do a “fun take,” but sometimes there isn’t time for a “fun take”. Shoutout to the awesome AD’s out there that keep me on track!

What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre--comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?​
I’m currently focusing in on commercial and comedy directing. I’m a part of the ViacomCBS Viewfinder program for emerging directors and have been assigned to shadow on Comedy Central. The dream is to one day direct a network sketch comedy show. I’m also developing a Black superhero show that I’d love to see through to the screen.

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?
Mick Napier of the Annoyance Theater in Chicago has been a huge influence. He’s directed some of the best shows and the sharpest minds in comedy, and just knows the art form so well. Plus he gives direction in sound effects and onomatopoeias, which makes total sense to my brain.

Tim Mason has also been huge in my career. He brought me in as a production consultant on the show Work In Progress and introduced me to TESSA. He’s a Second City alum and commercial director himself, and we just speak a similar language.

Who is your favorite director and why?
I really enjoy the works of Edgar Wright. His approach to film feels very much akin to panels of a comic strip. It’s quick, impactful and has a distinct sense of motion which really resonated with me growing up.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?

  • Movie: I haven’t watched Scott Pilgrim vs The World in a minute, but it was one of those movies that made me want to get into filmmaking.
  • Shows: Southside is amazing because it’s hilarious, absurd, and black.
  • Branded Content: I love the Fender Signature Series (I play guitar). Cory Wong & H.E.R.’s performances both blew me away and I envy the team that got to work with them.

Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio recreating Star Wars special effects on my dads camcorder. I went to The Ohio State University, where I co founded an improv and sketch team that’s still around today. I moved to Chicago in 2012, and over the next 7 years I interned/worked/performed in comedy theaters across the city. I left my job in promotions at The Museum of Science & Industry in 2016 to join The Second City National Touring Company and in 2017 was offered a spot on their mainstage where I co-wrote and starred in 2 revues. During that time I started working as a production consultant on the Showtime series Work In Progress. After I left Second City I moved to LA to be a part of the CBS showcase in 2020, and now I serve on the creative team!

How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?
The pandemic jump started my career. I’ve always tried to be as scrappy and resourceful as possible when creating my work, and lockdown really put that to the test. It gave me a glimpse into what I was capable of, and response to what I put out during that time has truly changed where I see my life going. I hope to carry that same resourcefulness into the “After Times” and continue to tell bigger and better stories!

Contact

TESSA Films: Contact Founder/EP, Lisa Masseur, via email
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Grossman & Jack Talent: Contact Donna Simon Dunn via email 
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El Centro Management: Contact Jordan Tilzer via email
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