In the first installment of our Bullhorn series, we meet director Mark Cwiakala – who comes to the Chicago-based production team with a passion for storytelling, documentary-style video and a lot less “confusion” than when he started out.
Here’s what Mark had to say about his 25-year journey as a professional creator:
What got you into directing? I got into directing out of a sense of confusion. When I was working as a creative director, it perplexed me that I would hand off storyboards to another person who would then direct the spot I had been working on for weeks – sometimes for months. Not that they couldn’t do it, but why wouldn’t I do it?
How did you connect with Bottle Rocket Media?I met founder, Dan Fisher, about eight years ago while working on a pitch for a series called No Chef’s Allowed. I was introduced by a mutual producer friend who thought Dan would be perfect for the project. We clicked! He was a great addition to our team and an overall joy to be around. Years later, when I was looking to branch out and focus more on directing, I figured enough time went by that he’d forgotten how annoying I was. So, I dropped him a line.
What draws you to documentary-style video? I love a good story. That’s it. Listening to real people tell you something interesting, shocking, thoughtful, weird, obscene, sad, or exciting, is performance art.
How does the medium lend itself to brand videos? I’ve always felt the best way to communicate is to show someone something authentic that they can relate to. No one likes to be told what to do or what to buy, but if you can expose an audience to something that hits home – especially something they have never seen before – it will be contagious. Getting people to relate is the best way to make an impact.
What will you bring to the portfolio in 2019? I hope to work on a few new docu-series projects and expand into different industries that Bottle Rocket Media has yet to tap. Currently, I’m working on a documentary that spotlights the recent explosion of combat-art, and why we are seeking out violent outlets in a time when humans no longer need to be physically aggressive to survive. In the end, I love shooting anything that’s thrown my way, while challenging myself to make it better than expected.
What video techniques are you most excited about right now? I don’t get hung up on technology too much. I keep aware of it. But, even if the tool itself can facilitate the creative, the creative should always dictate the tool. Content comes first. That being said, I really want to shoot a moving bullet probe lens through a big pile of fruit, or cakes, or even water balloons.
Favorite movie of all time and why:8 ½ by Fellini. If you can’t relate the opening scene, I’d like to be on what you’re on.