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Utsab Giri | SHOOT New Directors Showcase Event
Utsab Giri

Tesla’s “SpaceX” (spec commercial)

Utsab Giri


What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
My first professionally directed work was a short documentary-style video for a cemetery in early 2019.

How did you get into directing?
I started shooting music videos for friends and felt like it was the best thing in the world. Nothing else I did after that made me happier.

What is your most recent project?​
I just finished a spec commercial for the Apple Watch, and am currently working a spec for Adobe After Effects.

What is the best part of being a director?
The best part of directing is having vision; seeing something in my mind and bringing it into existence; creating something out of nothing.

What is the worst part of being a director?
The worst part of being a director is the waiting. I’m a highly energetic person and I like to keep going, keep working. I feel immensely happy when I’m creating things (generating ideas, writing treatments, storyboarding, shooting, editing, etc).

It’s gonna sound strange but, anytime I’m not creating something, I feel kinda empty inside. So, waiting for things to happen is definitely not something I enjoy.

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 am currently focusing on commercials. I plan to specialize in visual effects.

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?
My greatest mentor is Jamie Gustis, DGA, whom I met while working on set. His work ethic has been an inspiration to me over the years.

Who is your favorite director and why?
My favorite director is Andrei Tarkovsky because of his visual interpretations of time and its relationship with humanity.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
My favorite movie is Midnight Runners directed by Jason Kim. My favorite television program is House M.D. created by David Shore. And my favorite commercial is Adobe's ”Fantastic Voyage” directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet for 72andSunny.

Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. And I moved to New York City at the age of 18.

At first I went to college for audio because I was absolutely fascinated by sounds. I did audio for several years, until I got a chance to direct music videos for some friends. I then worked on set as a production assistant and camera assistant for a few years, which ultimately inspired me to pursue a career in directing.

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?
Before the pandemic, I was working full time at Panavision New York, and shooting passion projects on the side, which kept me very busy. Once everything shut down, I used the time to shoot all kinds of videos (including a talk show) in my apartment. It allowed me the freedom to explore and develop my craft in ways that I never could’ve imagined. While people around the country were desperate to be free, I found freedom in creativity.

And isn’t that, to a large extent, what we do? We’re constantly faced with obstacles, from pre-production, through production and into postproduction. But we roll with the punches, we work with the challenges, and do our best work despite the limitations.


Unaffiliated: Contact Utsab Giri via email