This week’s featured Zoopper comes to us from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Andy Kelemen started as an editor with PBS before moving to a post production house, where he conducted all aspects of filmmaking. As a director primarily focusing on commercials, he recently placed 1st in our campaigns with Slurpee and Zest. (see his Zooppa portfolio here)
1. What first interested you in film?
I fell in love with film late in high school from continually seeing movies, and then realizing I could pursue it as a career. I became very interested in commercials after interning with an advertising company during college. They put me on numerous commercial sets, and seeing how each day you could be crafting an entirely new story really appealed to me. I think commercials are an incredibly collaborative process, which also drew me in as well.
2. What drew you to the Zooppa community?
I was creating spec spots to build a strong commercial reel after college, and a friend, Danny Johnson (who I collaborated on with the Slurpee contest) recommended the site as a way to create spots for my reel while possibly earning income from them. After seeing the close contact you have with brands and briefs through crowdsourcing I was hooked.
3. What do you like most about crowdsourced film contests?
Crowdsourced film contests like Zooppa put me directly in contact with a brand, giving me an actual brief and guidelines, and offers an opportunity that otherwise might not be possible. I’m able to continue to grow my reel in a setting conducive to being with an actual agency; working with briefs, working with clients, and earning an income from directing commercials.
4. What do you like to do when you’re not creating video masterpieces?
When not creating videos I’m a fairly normal guy. Actually that’s a lie, I’m a pretty eccentric person. But I love working on my house, traveling everywhere, and hanging out with my wife and corgi. I’m also a big roller coaster enthusiast and I refinish antiques to share some of my nerdier traits.
5. Where is home for you?
Home for me is the fantastic Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I tried living in LA very briefly and wasn’t happy there, so moved back to where I went to school. I’m originally from Buffalo NY, however. Pittsburgh is an incredibly diverse city with great cultural opportunities, made up of many distinct neighborhoods that all offer something unique. Technically there are 90 of them.
6. Where do/did you go to school? How has your education influenced your filmmaking?
I went to the University of Pittsburgh graduating in 2007. The school was more theory than technical, so it forced you to seek out good production opportunities on your own, which in itself is great real world experience. I mainly focused on editing in school, which is what first got me into the film industry.
7. What/where do you find inspiration for your films? Share a bit about your creative process.
My creative process is tied to real world examples. For the most part that’s where the idea starts, with a lifelike situation I could see happening. A lot of my spots outside of Zooppa also feature documenting a situation then finding a story and creating a spot from that. I get inspired by watching other ads, especially ones from other countries. Creativity fuels more creativity.
8. Which was your favorite Zooppa contest to participate in? Why?
My favorite spot to create for Zooppa was the Firehouse Cooks brief for AllRecipes.com, where I documented a fire company just outside of Pittsburgh cooking for their large water rescue session. Filming included ride alongs, using equipment, and it led to me enrolling in their volunteer firefighter course.
9. What are you currently working on (job, films)?
I just finished up an ad for company that led to me attending SXSW in Austin, which was fantastic. I have a few other freelance jobs for various brands that are wrapping up, and of course I’m keeping an eye on upcoming contests.
10. What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
The ultimate goal is to be signed by a directors agency for representation, which is based on past work and your reel. For commercial directing you need to find that specific niche – are you the food guy, the car guy? I’m working on becoming the documentary commercial guy. That’s not to say you can’t do other work, but I think focusing in on a specific area helps to showcase your best quality.
11. Link us to any work/a portfolio that you would like mentioned.
Feel free to check out www.andykelemen.com for my reel and current work.
And of course on Facebook at www.facebook.com/worksofandykelemen