During our video production projects we work with a lot of incredibly talented creative partners. ASL’s Partner Spotlight series is designed to highlight some of our favorite collaborators, hear about their journey and discuss out how they came to work with us.
This spotlight is on the amazingly talented director, Trevor Williams. Trevor got his start at a public access channel in his home town and has built an impressive directing resume with stints at UCB, working with Nickelodeon, and of course, collaborating with ASL Productions.
Here is our interview with Trevor.
ASL: What is your name and in what capacity have you worked with ASL before?
Trevor Williams: Trevor Williams – Director
ASL: What inspired you to work in content creation?
TW: I was probably first inspired by watching the original Transformers: The Movie (with Orson Welles) and recreating its battles, while in my pajamas, using my own robot action figures and my dog.
ASL: Tell us about your career journey. How have you gotten to this point?
TW: I have been making silly videos since I found a public access studio near my childhood home that would air them. Later, after a brief stint as a live performer and commercial actor in NYC, I found myself making comedy videos with my friends in and around the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. The combination of those experiences, plus this osmosis I experienced of being on commercial sets eventually led me to become a director.
ASL: How/when did you start working with ASL and what was your most memorable project working with us?
TW: I was referred to ASL from my friend Ryan Ingrasin whom I did work with at Nickelodeon and Edelman. Adam (Lebenstein) and I have tossed around a few potential projects to work on, but when a comedic Freestyle Libre campaign came down the pipeline last fall, we finally found our fit. What was most memorable about the experience was being overwhelmed at first by the scale of the project (5 commercials on like 10 sets all to be shot in two days) then pleasantly surprised by how unbelievably smoothly and efficiently Producers Ben Grody, Scott Mackin and the entire ASL team was able to maneuver through this ambitious production plan with me. Those guys are ninjas.
ASL: What about this project made it your favorite?
TW: I loved the art direction (exquisite color blocking by Olivia Gelard under creative direction of Lindsey Brand) and the lights out comedic casting. Both things made me feel like that kid again playing with his transformers.
ASL: How has the pandemic changed the way you work?
TW: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. On one hand it has afforded me some “outside the box” opportunities, such as when a premium liquor company approached me in July about directing a campaign with a German voice talent, a bare bones NY crew, some dry ice and some liquor bottles. (It was Jagermeister via Quick Frame, if you’d prefer to name names.) On the other hand, there are very rarely ever any underutilized persons on any set and stripping these sets down only puts a larger stress and burden on each crew member. Directing remote shoots can also be very frustrating as I have discovered the challenges of trying to move a prop two inches to the left from 10,000 miles away. I guess that is the definition of micromanagement, lol. That said, it is a technological miracle that life and work can continue for us in this way despite the worst of global circumstances and I am quite thankful for it.
ASL: Have you worked with ASL during the pandemic?
TW: Yes, actually the aforementioned Freestyle Libre spot was done during the pandemic with COVID protocol completely observed and supervised by a compliance officer -Another very impressive aspect of ASL’s current operation- It never long after arriving on set for things to start feeling safe, oddly UNweird, fun, and productive. It took a lot of thought and consideration for ASL to set things up that way and I appreciated it.
ASL: What is your favorite thing about working in the video production/contents industry?
TW: I get three big rushes on any given project. The first is the moment I can start to see the project of the campaign in my head and feel confident that it is going to be good. The second is the first time I watch any given scene unfold on the camera’s monitor for the first time. And the final rush I get is the first time I see a cut in which the whole thing comes together in harmony in a way that makes the client happy. I wish I could say I get a rush from watching things collect hits online, but oddly that rush is never anything near the other three. That said, it is nice to know when people are watching and digging your work, especially the people that paid for it.