Xander™ Director/Partner, East Pleasant

TRUST sat down with East Pleasant partner and resident auteur, Xander™, to discuss industrial democracy, extreme shooting conditions, and his decidedly ineffectual work/life balance.

As a director, who or what would you call your greatest influences?

I was extremely fortunate to work at an agency before starting my directing carrier. It allowed me to see a wide range of talent in such a short amount of time. I loved the way Erich Joiner had such a relaxed and patient way about him in callbacks, how Gus Van Sant handled the agency on creative calls, and how Brett Morgen brought beauty to reality. I picked up on so many things from so many people.

Beyond that, I simply love learning from other people. From art directors and stylists to editors and even clients – there is a lot you can learn just by letting people talk. That’s where my true influences lie.

What trends do you see in the industry that you’re most excited about?

Digital baby. Simply, the access to the best equipment is beyond accessible at this point. I love that. I can buy the same camera that is used to make major films – that’s industrial democracy. What I find exciting about this situation is that it has come down to the people that are operating. To get down to the heart of why I love this – It’s not really about access, it’s actually about talent.

“Simply, the access to the best equipment is beyond accessible at this point. I love that. I can buy the same camera that is used to make major films – that’s industrial democracy.”

Do you have a work/life balance philosophy?

I can’t seem to draw that line very well. I am partners with good friends, and I have a son and a baby on the way with my Executive Producer. If you have any suggestions…

What project(s) are you most proud of?

It’s funny, the projects I am most proud of rarely make it onto my reel. No one would know that challenges that were overcome or the blood that was shed to make that project. Here are a few:

ESPN 268 live commercials in 14 days. Just the logistics were mind-blowing.

Royal Caribbean Shoot, edit and ship to air a spot every day for a 6 day cruise. Picture that. Shot, edited, and on a cable channel in under 24 hours, from the middle of a fucking ocean.

Yahoo! Mail with Nicole Richie It just came out exactly as I had seen it in my minds eye.

Ultimat Vodka Try shooting from a window washing rig into a building on the 60th floor. Just try it. There was a great sense of accomplishment when we saw the edit on that one.

How would you say your work has evolved over the years?

I try and do every job better than the last, building great crews and my own skills along the way. It may sound egotistical, but I am just, better.

You’re always very dapperly dressed. Who are some of your style icons?

David Beckham, James Murphy, Johnny Depp, Terry Brogan, Colin Gaul, Alex Wilcox, Scott Chinn, Rob Allen.

What three things can you not live without?

iPhone, espresso machine, sunglasses

Last, but certainly not least: Why the trademark symbol?

Ha. So people ask me about it, of course.