My Favorite Millennial Writer/Designer/Filmmaker Grant Spanier.


Obviously I like Grant Spanier since he had me on his wonderful podcast, 10,000 Hours. Moreover, I like his enthusiasm, that get ‘er done attitude and his fresh, collaborative nature. See below for his dope music video for “Weightless” by the DJ known as Vaski (Grant directed with his pal Jake Woodbridge). It shows his wonderful whimsy, while his design…

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Morgan Spurlock Explains Why He Uses His Superpowers For Good.


My special guest is the great documentarian Morgan Spurlock, who agreed to be on the show after I stalked him in a parking lot. His films influence the way we eat (“Super-Size Me”), look at marketing (“The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”) and helped me appreciate One Direction (“This Is Us”). His CNN show “Inside Man” is a favorite of mine,…

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Does Laughter Heal? Comedian Turned Filmmaker Craig “The Lovemaster” Shoemaker.


I’ve known Craig Shoemaker for over 30 years. First as the popular touring comedian known globally as “The Lovemaster”, and more recently as the producer of National Lampoon’s “Totally Baked: A Potumentary”. Craig’s new mission is to spread the healing powers of laughter with a new documentary, “Laughter Heals”. It started when his best friend, screenwriter Michael Goldberg, got brain…

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Collaboration Is Everything With Kerry Graham, Vice Chairman/CEO Bohan Advertising.


What a treat to talk with industry titan Kerry Graham at Bohan Advertising in Nashville. Kerry has shaped the agency’s collaborative culture by literally ripping down walls and forcing integration so that all departments work together in blissful harmony. His advice to those starting out? More than just having a resumé, tell your story of your interests and passions. Be…

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Four Filmmaking Phenomena With Cinematographer Julian Whatley.


Cinematographer Julian Whatley proudly proclaims he’s never had a bad day at work. He loves filmmaking and attacks every gig with 100% of his heart and soul. Coming up through the ranks of the camera department, learning from masters like Bob Richardson, John Toll and Harris Savides, he carries on the discipline and artistry he was taught. But stresses adaptability.…

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Senior Art Director Laura Gels Is All About The Details.


What’s comforting about filming with Laura Gels, Senior Art Director at Northlich, is having her gives me a second pair of eyes, scrutinizing the details in order to make the work great. She lives with each project for a year, so she wants it right. Respect. We’ve collaborated on three spots, and she’s a director’s dream to work with. I…

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What The Creative Director Does With Group Creative Director Kerry Broderick.


Group Creative Director Kerry Broderick shares with us the joy she gets by teaming up a great art director with a talented copywriter. She leads the creative team at the Northlich Agency, who birthed my beloved Scooter The Neutered Cat for GiveThemTen.org and the caring folks of the wonderful Joanie Bernard Foundation. This is the second interview of three with…

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From “Two And A Half Men” to “Scooter The Neutered Cat” with Sr. Copywriter Terry Dillon.


The immensely creative folks at the Northlich ad agency birthed one of the most fun, silly and effective campaigns I’ve been blessed to shoot. Yes, Scooter The Neutered Cat and GiveThemTen.org – from the caring folks of the wonderful Joanie Bernard Foundation. Over the next three episodes you’ll meet the creatives that spawned these spirited spots. Senior Copywriter Terry Dillon,…

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Mos Def, Marvin Gaye and Amerigo Gazaway Bring The Funk To Apple.


Hip Hop impresario Amerigo Gazaway is one of my favorite music producers. He reworks samples and records so that his songs transcend both original recordings. Furthermore, an Amerigo Gazaway albums tell a story, like LP’s did back in the vinyl days. Moreover, it’s his love for his source material and his authenticity that resinates with listeners. Bombarded with cease-and-desist letters…

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Comedian Turned Documentary Filmmaker Jennifer Rawlings.


I’ve known Jennifer Rawlings since our days playing the comedy clubs around Los Angeles in the 80’s. She always captivated the crowd with her funny perspective, so I’m not surprised she’s become an accomplished filmmaker. It’s her unusual journey that surprises me. “Forgotten Voices: Woman in Bosnia” is her first film, and a must see. Made with a camcorder and…

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Email Me Your Questions & Feedback.


Thank you to all that participated in my “Confessions of a Commercial Filmmaker” this week. I literally just landed after a snowy week in Ohio, visiting cool ad agencies and Lightborne, the company behind Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Halftime extravaganza. This episode is my shout out to you, and a cry for help. Send me your feedback about this podcast…

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Chief Creative Officer Ryan Berman Claims Content Is King And Context Is Queen.


After I interviewed Ryan Berman, I found his blog post called “Comedy on a Commercial Production.” I agree with most everything he says, which probably explains why we’re friends and have shot together a bunch. Ryan is Founder and Chief Creative Officer of i.d.e.a., a great advertising agency in San Diego. We chat about creating a fun culture, staying one…

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What The Gaffer Does With Pat Grosswendt.


Veteran Gaffer Pat Grosswendt has taught me so much about lighting during the dozens of commercials we’ve made together. (Click his name for credits from “Cabin Boy” to “Gosford Park” to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) Have a listen and you’ll learn the history, the mindset and key technical aspects of being the one on set that shapes the light.…

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How To Define Your Creative Space With Spot Director Kevin Donovan.


I met Director Kevin Donovan at a Christmas party and we hit it off. A former agency creative, Kevin learned so much on set, working with great directors like Mark Story and the incomparable Joe Pytka. He’s learned to create a space for himself to deliver the best work, and we discuss balancing serving the agency agenda, while remaining creatively…

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Filmmaker Deon Taylor Directs Danny Glover In “Supremacy”.


I got a sneak peek at Deon Taylor‘s new film “Supremacy” starring Danny Glover, Joe Anderson, and Dawn Olivieri (“House of Lies”). It’s about a white supremacist just out of the clink. He shoots a cop, goes on the lamb, and invades Danny Glover’s house. Drama and self-examination ensue. Really well-made film, regardless of just a one million dollar budget.…

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Secrets Of Mark Nickelsburg’s Short Film “Harry Grows Up”.


Mark Nickelsburg made a great short film, “Harry Grows Up” and we chat about how he did it. Effects, puppets, working with a toddler, you name it. Originally part of last week’s interview, the tapes were lost for weeks. Until now. Buy your tickets now for my live web presentation February 10th at 6pm West Coast, “Confessions of a Commercial…

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From Editing Commercials To Directing Them With Mark Nickelsburg.


Mark Nickelsburg shall forever live in my heart for dubbing “Respect The Process with Jordan Brady” as the “Rosetta Stone of Filmmaking.” Got to love that. More importantly, Mark has successfully transitioned from the editor’s chair to the director’s monitor. What are benefits and surprises on set, after years of editorial wisdom? I think it’s very interesting path, and thanks…

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My Three Secrets To Better Directing.


In the last of my mini-podcast trilogy, I share three top-secret tips that I believe will make you a better filmmaker. Certainly a smarter, more effective director of commercials. If you’re in any leadership position, I imagine that these tips apply to your gig too. So, let me know. I’m back next week with in-depth interviews with interesting people. Remember,…

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Top 5 Ways To Not Screw Up Your Spec Commercial.


A spec commercial, real or fake, is one you do for free to prove you can make a spot. The big trick is to make your spec spot look not like a spec spot. If it looks spec, it will suck, defeating the very purpose of doing it. Now, every director entering the commercial world needs a spec spot. I’ve…

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It’s 2015, Now Pick A Date To Start Your Passion Project.


Happy New Year, now let’s make some plans to make some fun stuff. A short film? Feature? Finish that script? A new spec commercial for the reel? Whatever personal project you want to do, first you must set a date and write that date down in your calendar. There are many great filmmaking podcasts and blogs that you probably know.…

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Infinite Wisdom on the Art of Storytelling with Guru Larry Jordan.


Larry Jordan is the one person that has always been there for me, to answer every production question. His 35 years plus of experience are readily found whenever you google a question about directing, editing, shooting, lighting, audio, you name it. And his courses cover the gamut of production, post and theory. Please check them out if you’re serious about…

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“I Am Santa Claus” Documentary Director Tommy Avallone.


Who’s lap is your kid sitting on? “I Am Santa Claus” is a wonderful documentary that answers that very question. From an queenly bear Santa, to WWE Champion wrestler Mick Foley, Santa’s come from varied backgrounds. My chat with Director/Producer Tommy Avallone is like two old friends gabbing about filmmaking, despite having just met online. We discuss research, how to…

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Tim & Eric Give Birth To Editor, Writer, DJ, Comedian Doug Lussenhop.


Doug Lussenhop is an editor, writer, performer and hip hop sensation. He cut his teeth editing shorts, tv shows and feature films for Tim & Eric (aka Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim), Portlandia, and Funny or Die. Along with Tim & Eric, plus movie star John C. Reilly, Doug toured this summer with a live show, and it was an…

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The Human Side of Healthcare with Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman.


“Remote Area Medical” is a compassionate documentary about Americans in need of help. Watch the trailer and you can see how filmmakers Jeff and Farihah treat their subjects with such dignity and respect. During a three-day clinic held at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway, some of the country’s sickest individuals finally received free health care from an all-volunteer force of doctors,…

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How Ad Agency Creatives Team Up with Drew Wright & Nick Marine.


Moments after we wrapped on Friday, I grabbed Art Director Drew Wright and Copywriter Nick Marine for a mini-interview. Both are Associate Creative Directors at Doner Detroit. They’re a newly conjoined creative team, and it’s already crystal clear that it’s a great fit, given the way they crank out quality scripts that sell. I’m grateful for their oddball minds as…

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Commercial Editor Tessa Davis Cuts Fast & Furiously Funny.


I got to edit with Tessa Davis earlier this year at Cosmo Street, and she had all the best takes picked out & finessed into a perfect cut long before I could park the car. Editors have commented on the shortened turnaround time but she explains how she’s adapted.  And after the many versions of a spot, which one ends up on air? You…

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What A Production Designer Does With Evan Rohde.


The Production Designer runs the Art Department, and is responsible for fabricating the Director’s dream into a physical world to be filmed. Top Production Designer Evan Rohde does this magically, and it’s a privilege to work with him. We chat right after wrapping a long day. He explains his dual roles as both a creative collaborator and fiscally responsible department…

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What Does A Cost Consultant Really Do? Ron Hacohen Explains The Dark Side.


Part two of my enlightening conversation with production genius Ron Hacohen. Why is it harder to break into directing if your female or a minority? Ron explains he’s actually a “production consultant”. He strives to inform clients of the process, because of the increased efficiencies. We end the talk with his advice for people breaking into commercial directing. Today, Ron…

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How To Do A Winning Conference Call With APR’s Ron Hacohen.


Ron Hacohen taught me how to be a commercial director, back when he was my Executive Producer at HKM productions, and his Bravo Zulu. Besides being one of the funniest people I know, he’s extremely production savvy, having risen through the ranks of production to run his own shop. He’s a former President of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers’…

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The Fascinating Journey Of Director Jeannette Godoy.


How the multi-talented Jeannette Godoy came to spot directing is quite a fascinating tale. She’s worked on set as a choreographer, a wardrobe stylist, a production designer and even a dialect coach. Then she turned her talents to directing, and was shortlisted at Cannes and plucked for Shoot Magazine’s New Director Showcase for her very first spot. Jeannette brings a…

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Cut+Run’s Michelle Eskin Creates The Right Vibe For Maximum Creativity.


Michelle Eskin, Partner and Managing Director of Cut + Run has built a creative oasis in Santa Monica. We chat about the importance of setting the tone for doing great work. Despite how the editorial business has changed, she and her editors, effects artists and staff remain cheerful and positive. It’s a real treat to edit there. Young editors listen…

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Adam McKay Uses Rainbow Alpacas & Lollipops To Learn Us The Inequality Gap.


Truly one of the great comedy minds of our time, director Adam McKay has again used his powers for the betterment of mankind. He’s created a magical land inhabited by multi-colored Alpacas who love lollipops and rainbows, to teach us about the growing divide in wealth distribution. It’s called “Unbelievably Sweet Alpacas”. Just one of 20 short films for Morgan…

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Anchorman 2 Composer Andrew Feltenstein Plays It Straight.


Top shelf composers, songwriters, lyricists Andrew Feltenstein & John Nau own Beacon Street Studios in Venice, California. They’re the go-to guys for any musical genre, but certainly have made a name scoring for “Funny Or Die” titans Adam McKay and Will Ferrel. Credits include “Anchorman 2”, “The Spoils of Babylon” and more. Andrew and I chat about the process of…

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“Nathan For You” Co-Creator Michael Koman On Running The Show.


The “Dumb Starbucks” episode of Comedy Central’s “Nathan For You” is an instant classic. Michael Koman is what we call the “showrunner” for the series. Along with co-creator and star Nathan Fielder, Michael leads the writers to invent bits, executes them and then deals with the network. It’s a laborious task steeped in creativity. Mr. Koman’s comedy pedigree includes “Late…

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Theodore Melfi Directs Bill Murray In “St. Vincent”.


Writer/Director Theodore Melfi has been making commercials and indie films for a decade. So when he nabbed Bill Murray for the starring role of his script, he was more than ready to deliver. Listen to this great casting tale, his hanging with Jack Nicholson, and how his real life inspired his script that he hand-wrote in four weeks. I’ve known…

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Live From The Ad Age Small Agency Conference.


As a director, I’m hired by advertising agencies of all sizes. Some are huge, part of a global conglomerate, while others are nimble shoppes, but equally as creative. The big agencies are always in the trades, pitching and winning even bigger clients. But I wondered how these smaller agencies got their work. So I traveled to Austin, Texas to the…

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Green Screen Animals’ Mark Shockley Has Already Filmed Your Beast.


Hear why David Fincher, J.J. Abrahms and myself use Green Screen Animals. Simple: Mark Shockley and his animal-loving crew shoot all kinds of creatures on green screen, and then license the footage to you. Best of all, they treat the beasts like the divas that they are. Mark only works with trainers and handlers that share his compassion for all…

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Live On Tour, It’s SNL’s Digital Shorts Editor Adam Epstein.


For decades, the inspired and hilarious short films of Saturday Night Live have been the highlight of show. So what a treat to talk with Adam Epstein, the SNL film unit editor that pulls it all together, literally overnight. We chat about workflow, turnaround, teamwork and the amazing talent both in front of and behind the camera of your favorite…

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Big Laughs With Comedian Turned Fox Executive Producer Steve Hofstetter.


Comedian Steve Hofstetter produces a stand-up comedy show for FOX. The show is called “Laughs” and it airs Saturday nights. Steve is busy fulfilling his order for the series. Bravo, I say. I met Steve through director/producer Dane Hanson and marveled at how they’re pulling the show together. Here’s the extended promo for the show that Steve directed: Dane’s short…

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Hair & Make Up Artiste Judd Minter.


Judd Minter is one of my buddies off set. On set, he’s an attentive, detailed-oriented hair & make up artist at the top of his game. He has an acute awareness of not just the “looks” of the characters he creates, but also of the days’ schedule and comedic tone of the commercial we are shooting. Thusly, I consider Judd…

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Directing “A to Z” with Michael Patrick Jann.


Director Michael Patrick Jann brilliantly draws an analogy between directing and the art of ancient Chinese calligraphy. This is a must-listen episode. Michael knows comedy. Straight from film school to directing MTV’s “The State”, then onto “Reno 911” and countless commercials, he’s been directing the funny non-stop for 15 years. Today, Michael is an accomplished director of single camera tv…

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Comedian Kris Tinkle Made Another Comedy Album.


We stray from spot-making, but you’ll love my chat with Kris Tinkle. He’s hilarious and was determined to put out another comedy CD of all-new material. And I got to help, respecting the process of great recording and well-honed material. Click to get the album on iTunes: “Kris Tinkle: Maybe I Don’t Feel Like Smiling.” We met in NYC, become…

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