Tom is the Chief Creative Officer responsible for the look, feel, and quality on all CreativeChaos vmg projects. His latest project is directing the feature documentary CASTING BY, about Casting Directors, the indispensable yet unsung heroes of film making, currently airing on HBO as part of their Summer Documentary Series. Click here for air dates!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a director? The New Hollywood films of the 1970's.
3. What made you want to make the documentary film Casting By? The distance between the significance of the creative contributions of casting directors and the lack of recognition and regard they receive for those achievements. I knew that gap had to be rectified after my first interview with Marion Dougherty.
4. Casting By includes a host of Hollywood heavyweights such as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Glenn Close, Jeff Bridges, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Lane, Bette Midler and John Travolta. How did you decide who you wanted to include in this documentary? The people we reached out to had to have a direct connection to any one of the casting directors we talked to. Most of them went on camera to pay tribute to Marion Dougherty, others to Lynn Stalmaster but many came to talk about the casting directors they work with today or about the importance of casting in general. We discovered it was a topic most had rarely been asked to talk about before but that was supremely important to their lives and work.
5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the documentary? I want the audiences to take away what I have taken away from making this film - That the casting director is of major creative importance in the shaping of a motion picture. I want the audience to never again take the 'casting by' credit for granted.
6. What was the best part about making Casting By? What challenges did you face during the filming process? No doubt, the best part was being able to sit with and talk to people who were all masters in their fields - whether casting directors, actors, directors or producers. Every interview was a masterclass.
7. Why did you go with HBO as the platform to air your documentary? What does their channel offer than another one might not? HBO is one of the premiere platforms for documentaries in the United States.
8. What does it mean to you to have your documentary on HBO? It means my film will get an great amount of exposure, as much as can really be expected for an independent documentary in the United States. And with that exposure will come greater recognition for casting directors.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? When I was 12, a teacher told me that I understood at a young age what most people never learn in their entire lives - The value of finding life's meaning in the work that you do. Having her tell me that had a major impact on my life. I never forgot it and never will.
10. What have you learned about yourself from being a director? I've learned that I love affecting change and changing attitudes through storytelling.
Tom produced the feature film PONIES released theatrically in 2012. He directed the feature documentary GUEST OF CINDY SHERMAN, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews. The film opened theatrically in March 2009 and was selected as recommended watching by the New York Times when it made its premiere on the Sundance Channel in May 2009. He is currently directing two documentaries for the company now in production.