Pete Chatmon, Director/Podcaster/Author: It was all very methodical. It was I want to create but then how do I get there?
Film Courage: If you had gotten into TV directing right out of Sundance, do you think you’d still be directing today?
Pete: No, I don’t. I think if I got into television directing right out of Sundance, I would have made too many mistakes to build a career. I think that the first thing being TV and Film, they’re two different mediums clearly, but making a film whether you subscribe to the auteur theory or not, it’s the director’s medium. Television is the writer’s medium. If you don’t understand that, you’re not going to fare well. I think that over the 17 years that we’ve identified between Sundance and my first job, I did a lot of branded content, I did some commercial work where I learned that the product, it’s the products medium, it’s the agencies medium and the brands medium. Learning that was something that I could take to television and understand I’m going to have ideas here, I’m going to have pitches or interpretations of a scene or a script that may not align with what the showrunner wants and that’s fine. I won’t go into my shell and say WellI’m not offering any more ideas because you don’t like them. I know that there are things that I’m not aware of because I’m seeing Episode 208 and that this is going to end in Season 5 in a particular way and that great idea I have doesn’t complement what you’re doing. So understanding that reality and how to finesse the relationship dynamics that come with that…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
BUY THE BOOK – TRANSITIONS: A Director’s Journey and Motivational Handbook by Pete Chatmon
With a deft ability to balance both half-hour single camera comedies and one-hour dramas, Pete Chatmon has directed over 50 episodes of television including HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant, Insecure, Silicon Valley, and Love Life, Netflix’s You, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Black-ish, Starz’ Blindspotting, FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and the Apple TV+ series Mythic Quest. He is in development on The Education of Matt Barnes with Showtime, for which he will direct the pilot and serve as executive producer and is currently co-executive producer and producing director on Reasonable Doubt, the first project to be produced via Hulu’s Onyx Collective. His debut feature as writer/director, Premium, starred Dorian Missick, Zoe Saldana, and Hill Harper, and premiered on Showtime after a limited theatrical run. Chatmon also wrote, produced, and directed 761st, a documentary on the first Black tank battalion in WWII, narrated by Andre Braugher. Through TheDirector, his Digital Studio, he has directed, shot, and edited content for advertising agencies and Fortune 500 brands. Chatmon’s career began in 2001 with the Sundance selection of his NYU thesis film, 3D, starring Kerry Washington. His most recent short film, BlackCard, premiered on HBO, and his narrative podcast, Wednesday Morning, engaged voters around the 2020 election. His podcast, Let’s Shoot! with Pete Chatmon is available on YouTube, iTunes, and all podcast platforms. In January 2022 his book, Transitions: A Director’s Journey + Motivational Handbook was released by Michael Wiese Productions.
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