Morning Z-Team, I wanted to introduce you to Philip Giordano! He’s a well-traveled writer/director who is a New York native that is currently living in Singapore. He recently received his first Zooppa win at 1st place for his piece, “RedMart Has the Answer!“. Help me congratulate him! Read on to learn more:
Tell us about yourself.
I’m an Italian-American filmmaker from Staten Island, New York currently
living in Singapore. I will be completing my MFA in film directing from New
York University Tisch Asia in May and I hope to work in commercials after
Who is your favorite director and what is one of your all time favorite movies?
Paul Thomas Anderson is my favorite director and my favorite film of all
time is his magnum opus Magnolia.
Describe your film-making background. What got you started?
I was studying Adolescent Education and a class I was taking challenged us
to learn new technologies to implement in the classroom. Create a website,
make a film, use garageband, etc.
I was in a group that had to make a movie. We all wrote the script together
and took turns directing, and when it was my turn something just clicked.
It was weird, everyone in the group saw it too. It wasn’t that I was good,
it was that it made me happier than anything I had done before. And I’m a
pretty upbeat guy.
After the semester ended I went home to Staten Island and told my best
friend the story. Coincidentally he had a similar experience and we spent
the entire summer making a 17 minute thriller. It was a perfect
collaboration because he liked to operate the camera and edit and I liked
to talk to the actors and write.
Share with us your creative process. What have you found inspiring?
My creative process as a director is all about visual references. I give
references to my cinematographer, production designer, make-up artist,
everyone. I give the composer time code of a similar song so they know
exactly what I’m going for at each point. I try to use words as little as
possible. When I work with my actors I almost only use action verbs (try to
impress your mother), objectives (make your mother smile), or a task
(unpack the groceries).
I think it’s easy for a director to talk a lot and be a dictator. I love to
show people exactly what I want and then have them say “what if we dollied
this way instead, we’ll stay on his face and get the emotion you want.” I
thrive on collaboration it’s what inspires me. I couldn’t work any other
I also care a lot about the colors in the frame. In the foreground, but
also in the background out of focus. I spend a lot of time on set working
with the production designer to fill the frame, but also that it’s
motivated and helping tell the story. I had a great production designer on
RedMart, Honey Singh, who’s a director herself, so she really understood
what I was going for.
Which was your favorite contest to participate in? Why?
I’ve only participated in the RedMart competition and I’m currently
preparing a submission for the Alberto VO5 campaign.
I love the RedMart brief and the service itself. There are so few delivery
services here in Singapore. It’s shocking. Being an Italian-American kid
from Staten Island where there’s a pizzeria on every corner that delivers,
it was a big change.
I really like RedMart. I like the service, but I really like the people. I
read on the forum that they are open to people filming in their warehouse
and I was blown away. I immediately spoke to Ian and he put me in touch.
Everyone there is so warm and nice. They really care about their products
and their service.
How did you come up with the idea for (your winning contest) and what was the process in producing the video?
To me, RedMart was like a beating heart. They really care about their
It moves fast here and people work late, so I wanted to show that if you
use this service, you can slow down a little and have those small moments.
The best ones. I guess I was thinking a lot about my mother when I wrote
this ad. It was a combination of being informative and emotional.
My process for creating the TVC was to approach it as just that: a
television commercial that would air in Singapore.
We shot in my HDB apartment, so every day my cinematographer Malay Prakash
would come over, we’d chat, eat a little, and then using Artemis
viewfinder, we’d find our shots based off my visual references.
The next step for me was to assemble a lighting team that had worked on
local TVC’s and television. I hired my gaffer Rong, who I knew from a
subway shoot last year (he’s awesome!). At the time we were also working
together on a Singaporean television show. He brought on a grip he gelled
After that, I rented the Red Epic with Zeiss Compact Prime lenses from
Camwerkz (who are fantastic!).
For Post I edited spot #1 on final cut pro 7. My girlfriend, Karen Abarca,
who’s an extremely talented editor cut spot #2 and did the color correction
and motion graphics for the 2 spots that I submitted.
It was really tight because we shot on July 10th, locked picture July 14th,
and had my friend Tina Kenny compose the music in less than a day. We
submitted at about 4:00 am Singapore time.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
In the next year I want to have 3 high quality commercial spots that I can
give to ad agencies (to keep on file) or hopefully get hired by a
production house as a director.
I plan on creating these spots by participating in Zooppa competitions. I
love Zooppa. I think they really know what they’re doing and they’ve
created a space where excellent work can thrive. If I build a career in
commercials it will be because of Zooppa.
You can also visit Malay Prakash’s cinematography reel (he helped shoot Philip’s RedMart commercial).
If you have any questions/comments for Phil, He’d be happy to correspond with you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in becoming a featured Zooppa member, too? You’ll get exposure to the entire community as well as companies and agencies. Check out the contests you can enter and impress us with your savvy filmmaking abilities and you may get an email from us asking to feature you as Member of the Week!