Q: What led you to directing?
The only jobs I dreamed of as a kid were movie related. First was the Disney animator phase. After that came the visual effects artist at ILM phase. In college I studied painting, design and illustration, which then led to a desire to be a movie poster illustrator. But it was always easier to find work as a designer/art director than as an illustrator. That led to almost 25 years as an agency creative. Ultimately, directing was always what I wanted to pursue and after rising to Executive Creative Director, I realized it was time to take on a new challenge. It was a scary jump off the cliff but it’s been an amazing experience. I feel very privileged and fortunate to make a living doing what I love.
Q: How has your agency experience helped in your directing?
The most obvious thing is my experience working with a lot of directors and production companies. So I’ve literally been in the agency’s shoes. I understand the concerns, the expectations and challenges they’re up against. Also, my film school has been the agency production process. I don’t approach a project as an auteur filmmaker but as a brand storyteller. And that’s something that clients appreciate as well.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
First, in the kid’s section of a bookstore. It’s a wonderful way to sample great illustration. There’s so much hope and optimism in children's books as it should be. Second, on the streets of NYC. As a New Yorker, it's understandable to want to avoid the congested tourist areas but I love to hang out in those parts of the city and people watch. And lastly in the dark of a movie theater. I love when you can be transported elsewhere for two hours when those lights go down. It’s still one of my favorite things to do.
Q: What do you love about directing?
Collaborating with so many other talented artists across various disciplines. It always a new challenge. When everyone’s hands are on the rope and we’re all pulling in the same direction, magic happens. That can make all the difference during a production. And the craft services table.
Q: What are your favorite movies?
I guess in terms of the movies that have influenced me in some bigger way it would have to be:
Lady and the Tramp - It started my love of all things Disney.
Mary Poppins - It started my love of musicals.
Star Wars - It ignited my desire to be a filmmaker.
The Red Balloon - I love its magical purity.
The Black Stallion - It was the first movie I saw as a kid where I appreciated the cinematography.
Brazil - Terry Gilliam’s ability to blend humor, satire and visuals.
Patton - Epic scale and intimate character development.