This is a new weekly series where we feature our incredibly talented Adolescent members and their work! Sign up here to join the Adolescent Membership and be part of the @ family!
This week’s Adolescent Member Crush is Dean Russell, a filmmaker and content creator based in LA. A graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Dean makes commercials and shorts that are nothing short of cinematic. Read below for a sneak peak into Dean’s love for commercial directing and film history!
Adolescent Content: You started out producing sketch comedy shows. Is comedy still a facet of your work?
Dean Russell: It’s funny (no pun intended) because I’m really not a comedian at all, and making comedy sketches was just something I gravitated toward. I think it's maybe when you're a kid, everything seems funny.
Adolescent: Can you tell me a little about your experience at LACHSA (Los Angeles County High School For The Arts)?
Dean: I was lucky enough to have [been one of 15 students accepted into the] LACHSA Cinematic Arts department against a pool of 200 kids. Ever since, my knowledge [about] the craft and technicalities of filmmaking has grown tremendously. Just like film school, your main purpose as a student at LACHSA is to make as much as you can while you are there and learn from your upperclassmen about the craft behind their art.
Adolescent: You’ve said before that your passion lies in commercial directing, which I find really interesting. What excites you about that type of directing?
Dean: I was lucky to have had the opportunity through my department to direct a commercial for a company called TwirlyGirl. [On] the day I finished the commercial, for some reason it clicked that my filmmaking and advertising abilities mixed just makes the hard work of making video art fun. I can’t really explain it actually, it’s just a feeling. Whenever I watch a really good commercial I just swell and think to myself, “That’s what I want to do.” My favorite commercial has to be the Canal+ Bear because it’s very similar to my feelings about commercial directing.
Adolescent: How does your knowledge of film history feed into your work as a commercial director?
Dean: Well, as Picasso said, “good artists copy great, artists steal.” I take this concept into commercials very much, because what we are really trying to do is make people buy something. So what are we selling them? A cinematic image of what their lives can be with the product! I feel like ads lately have missed the mark on this concept. With the constant growth of my film library and viewings, my goal as a commercial director is to bring the cinematic feelings of film into the salesmanship of advertising.
Adolescent: What’s next for you?
Dean: I have high hopes and my optimism is running strong. I see myself directing commercials for social media campaigns and [working] my way up to television campaigns. I truly love the art of commercials, so I will take any opportunity to join that world.
Sarah Mae Dizon