2014

Ari Merkin

1) How did you get into directing?
I’ve been a CW, AD, ACD, ECD, CCO and agency founder. Over the years, I’ve worked with some of the very best directors in our business. Guys like Tony Kaye, Spike Jonze, Noam Murro, Tom Kuntz, Rupert Sanders, Gerard de Thame. My first spot was one of the last shot by Henry Sandbank. These guys were my film school. They taught me the value of having your own point of view, and I’d never want to let an education like that go to waste.

Logan Hall

1) How did you get into directing?
Growing up, my parents used to take my sister and me to the movies all the time. I fell in love with films and started shooting videos with friends in high school. We made music videos and weird short films.

J + J (Jess Zou and Jing Shao)

1) How did you get into directing?
We’re into a lot of things. Literature, philosophy, movies, music and photography all had their impact on us. Directing is our expression of these interests and influences. It’s terrific.

2) What is your most recent project?
We are shooting a web viral for Chinese telecom Huawei. The story takes place in a North American city but we’ll be shooting in Guangzhou, China. It ain’t easy.

Montana Mann

1) How did you get into directing?
Directing has always been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl. I have a passion for photography, storytelling and music - what other career is there where you can merge all these components together so powerfully?

2) What is your most recent project?
I just finished wrapping a presentation pilot and a branded content video for a new apparel company.

Charles Nordeen

1) How did you get into directing?
My stepfather was a filmmaker, so I always grew up with cameras around and would even occasionally get to be on set. He would teach me how to shoot and we would edit with multiple VHS tape decks. Growing up with it in my natural setting I always had a desire to be behind the camera, but ended up on a path more focused in the performing arts, directing theatrical productions and acting. When I got the opportunity to direct a music video, I immediately felt at home and knew that was where I was supposed to be.

Em Cooper

1) How did you get into directing?
I fell completely in love with the film as a medium and tried to soak up everything I could about shooting and editing on film before the whole industry converted to digital. I am a big believer in ‘the medium is the message’ and I became fascinated by film language - and thinking about what sort of feeling could be evoked by film and what sort of things could be said in animation.

Brandon LaGanke

1) How did you get into directing?
I didn’t go to film school. When I moved to New York after college from Cleveland, Ohio, I started in the edit room cutting other people’s features, commercials, and short-form projects. Many times, I would tell myself, I can do better. I learned by constantly making stuff. I would come home from work, (and still do) and start producing my own short films, music videos or spec commercials.

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