What were you doing before joining the program?
Before the program, I was working at a cold call center as a tech support rep for FujiFilm. I had been wanting to make a narrative movie since I was a kid, but never had the push. I’m awful when it comes to self-discipline and I needed schooling to put me in my place. Needed a film school Bootcamp!
What first drew you to apply for the MPS Directing Program?
I couldn’t do another 4 years of school. I was attracted to the 1-year concept; throwing myself into a battle royal of opportunities at a much faster pace. It felt like it’d be more challenging, too! I dug that.
Name one specific thing you learned in the MPS Directing Program that has helped you to navigate the film industry?
It was like expecting a restaurant will only have a veggie burger, but then the menu offers a buffet of vegetarian options. It’s not ONLY about directing. The program opened me up to ALL of the opportunities in the film industry; editing, producing, DPing, ACing, gaffing, gripping, costume design, makeup, etc. There’s even an array of opportunities outside of the film industry. Just Network. Network. Network.
Did the MPS Directing Program meet your expectations?
Honestly, it surpassed my expectations. The program was extremely helpful and supportive professors and administration. I came out of there with a ton of talented friends, too!
When you graduated from the MPS Directing Program did you feel ready to enter the industry with the film you made here as your calling card?
Anxiety keeps you from being ready for anything. You just gotta do it. It’s a big jump to be in school for a year; then get into the big leagues. But the big leagues isn’t what you expect. Just because you made a movie; doesn’t mean you’re gonna be Martin Scorsese or Mark Duplass. You gotta pay your dues. I get that it sounds corny, but your film is a great calling card for jobs; whether you want to assistant edit, be a 1st or 2nd AC, a PA, an assistant to a producer. Your boss will see your passion and drive through your movie. You work your way up, but don’t give up on making movies if that’s what you wanna do!
Did your film festival? If so, tell us about some of your festival experiences?
Transparent was in 9 or 10 film festivals from 2013-2015; ranging from NY to Florida to the Netherlands. I didn’t have the funds to really travel outside of the tristate area. But I met a ton of talented filmmakers and supportive festival programmers (really great group of folks to know).
Did your film have a life outside of festivals (bought by a distributor, screened privately etc…)?
I didn’t do much with Transparent after the two years with festivals. I designed and distributed a few DVDs for family and friends.
Tell us what you’ve been up to since you graduated?
Since I graduated, the past five years have been a crazy rollercoaster. I somehow ended up working for an environmental consulting company that implemented eco-friendly productions. That job was rad, but really tough. I did freelance video production; producing, directing, and editing music videos, commercials, and reels. Now, I’m working in producing and editing creative content for a TV station; Fox29 in Philly (NOT RELATED TO FOX NEWS!) I took a break from writing and directing to focus on career and music, but I’m currently pre-production for a short that I’ll be directing over the summer.
Have you worked with any of your classmates?
Hell yeah! The peeps I met at SVA were so dope! We went through the trenches together and all came out alive. So, we’ve worked on each other’s sets (music videos, shorts, commercials). We took on various jobs and spent days upon days together (sometimes TOO MANY). I produced Eric Pennycoff’s 'M is for Mariachi', Ed Hellman’s music video 'Retire for the Evening' (which was a promotional video for the movie), Ed Hellman’s movie 'Dime Crimes', edited a music video shot by Jaime Medrano Jr., and edited a music video that Victoria Aguila directed. Steven Tong has helped me out DP-ing on a few shoots I directed. I think there’s more stuff, but I can’t really remember.
Where do you see your career in 5 years?
This is a toughie. 5 years ago, I was in this program and would have NEVER imagined I’d be where I am today. But hopefully, I’m working, living in the woods with my partner, and still putting out movies.