Want to know one of the judges for our video brief with Ingenious by Pollinate in collaboration with Mastercard? It’s a good thing we’re close buddies with Independent Filmmaker and now judge of the Open Video Brief over on Zooppa, Michael Medoway! 

As a Zooppa veteran (All the way back to 2017!), the Zooppa Team have worked with Mike before on many different projects and have been honored to see him grow into the decorated filmmaker he is today. Now we are so excited to see him on the panel for this brief and we want you to get to know him better too. 

Without further ado, we’d like to formally introduce you to Michael Medoway!

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Introduce yourself! 
I’m a commercial director that got my start in the advertising world through writing. In college I worked as a freelance copywriter for feature film advertising, like writing the tag-lines for movie posters. After film school, I moved to Japan where I worked as an English teacher and ended up living there for 6 years. I worked a few odd jobs coming back to the U.S. before landing a job at a commercial production company as a coordinator and eventually working my way up to producing. While there, I began directing a few small projects in between producing jobs. After a while I began to get more busy directing than I was producing so I took a leap of faith and went freelance.

How did you get involved with Zooppa?
My first project with Zooppa was shooting a couple of branded content pieces for Lexus. I would credit them for helping launch my career. At the time I had a few things on my reel, but the Lexus spots helped me get some more attention.

What do you find is the hardest part about creating short documentary pieces?
The struggle with any kind of documentary work is figuring out how to distill a person’s story into a set amount of time. With feature work you have more breathing room, but with short docs you really have to focus on the most crucial elements of the story. Without the luxury of time you often have to chop out major chunks of a person’s narrative which can be somewhat of a tortuous process.

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Favorite documentary content at the moment? 
A recent Nike campaign “Stronger Than One” has some great use of mixed media and sound design. 

Why is Ingenious (by Pollinate in Collaboration with Mastercard) important to you?
This is a tumultuous time for everybody on the planet and each individual will have their own unique stories of struggle. Documentaries are incredibly powerful tools in helping us understand the current moment we face, while also serving as a time capsule for future generations. It’s important we tell the stories of small businesses to amplify their stories and encourage people to remember they can get goods and services from places that aren’t multinational corporations.

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What are some of the criteria you will be looking at while selecting your favorite submissions?
Storytelling technique would be the thing I look for in the submissions. How the subject’s narrative is expressed visually and how the edit/sound design helps support the narrative.

What are some tips you would give to up and coming (and even experienced!) filmmakers who want to participate in this brief?
Never linger on disappointments or successes. When you finish a project, start working on the next. There is no finish line. 

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Have you started working on your submission to Ingenious by Pollinate in collaboration with Mastercard yet? What are you waiting for? Check out the brief on the Zooppa platform today! Who knows…? You just might become the next Michael Medoway!

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Looking for some tips on interviewing subjects for documentaries? We’ve got you covered. Check out our last interview with filmmaker Laurie Garnon-Williams who gave us some killer tips on how to interview subjects!