An Interview With Christopher Hall:The Brilliant Comedic Director

Hello Christopher! Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Give us a brief biography on Christopher Hall!

Christopher Hall is an award-winning director and photographer working with both major brands and unique people across the world to tell their stories and use video as a tool to grow their business.

In his corporate work, he has worked for major brands like AT&T, Amazon, Facebook, Figs, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, networks like HBO, Bravo, Fox, YouTube Red, Spike TV and VH1, and movie studios such as Warner Brothers, Universal, and Paramount. He was a producer on the last two seasons of the show TOP CHEF for Bravo TV, creating dozens of interviews and thousands of social assets to share with their active and growing audience. He also directed over 25 different branded spots for Fullscreen’s AT&T-backed series SUMMER BREAK, which ran five seasons and won the Digiday Video Ad of the Year in 2016.

Christopher Hall

In his creative work, he co-created and directed three seasons of the horror webseries, FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, (10+ million views) which was one of the most successful shows in the first years of YouTube Red. In 2020 he directed and produced a comedy short film, BRYERS CUCUMBER TOSTINOS, starring Patrick Tamisiea and Kevin Pollak that is currently on a tour of film festivals across the world, garnering multiple awards and prizes. His original pilot scripts have been optioned by LL Cool J and Mike Karz.

Christopher Hall

After getting a degree in theater at Kenyon College, OH, Chris started out getting coffees on set of THE SOPRANOS in his first real job out of college, and then went on to a variety of unique posts in the traditional features and tv world. He spent two years at Tippett Studio in Berkeley, CA learning VFX on major movies like MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS and CONSTANTINE. He was assistant to director Breck Eisner (THE CRAZIES), helping develop projects for all the major networks and studios. And then went on to become an in-house director/shooter/editor on Executive Producer Billy Parks’ team at Fullscreen, a major digital production company.

Christopher Hall

Chris lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Davida, and their two young children, Roxanne and Quincy.

Where are you based out of, Christopher?

West LA, California.

What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?

The screenwriter William Goldman famously wrote “Nobody knows anything” in his book on screenwriting — both as a warning to those feeling too confident after a project lands as well as those feeling insecure or nervous when a project doesn’t land. It’s a reminder I’ve passed on to others as many times as I’ve tried to hold it myself. When I came out of college full of confidence and landed in an industry that had no space for another wanna-be filmmaker, I had to keep going and make space for myself. When I changed cities a few times, or changed sections of the industry — from production to visual effects to development to reality — I had to keep making space for myself, telling myself that I could learn this, I could get better at that, I would love to meet more people like that. And I’m still trying to learn new skills, still trying to meet new people, read new books, make new movies. Nobody has a formula to success in this business — you just have to stick at it long enough and at some point you’ll realize that all the wandering you’ve been doing has actually become a path of its own.

What inspired you to start creating films?

I was an early movie-lover as a kid and loved telling my friends that I saw E.T. in the theater eight times the summer it came out. That kind of movie-going feels like a lifetime ago, and I was just a kid then. But the magic of the movies never left me. In high school, I took a “cinema studies” elective where we watched all of Kubrick’s films, and at that moment I knew I wanted to be a director. In college I studied theater and realized that I loved working with actors and helping their process. This is a job that people take because it’s about more than just making money and having a pension — it’s a calling that people feel in their bones from an early age.

Who most inspires/influences your style and specific execution currently and why?

I’ve always been a big Soderberg fan and love the way his career spanned genres and still always felt crafted, precise, and provocative. I also love old movies and anytime a Billy Wilder movie comes on I literally can’t turn it off — SOME LIKE IT HOT is 60 years old but still feels totally hilarious and worth rewatching over and over. More on the edgy side, I personally love David Cronenberg’s movies and love the way they make people squirm. There’s something so satisfying about getting a physical reaction out of your audience and I think all of those filmmakers make movies that really provoke strong emotions and responses from viewers.

What is your favorite film of all time?

I used to say CHINATOWN but probably it’s a tie with THE APARTMENT.

As a creator, what do you find to be the thing that most drives you to succeed? We like to use this portion for others to learn from you!

What drives me? I love stories. I’m addicted to them. As a kid I was a voracious reader and it’s a habit I’ve never been able to quit. I love a movie that makes me cry, or laugh, or get angry — or all of the above. And storytelling is hard. Being good at it is damn near impossible. It’s like being a samurai — you could dedicate your life to it and never attain perfection. I’m certainly no story samurai, but I’m trying.

What is your overall dream in life?

I love directing a set and I’ve been lucky enough to do it a few times. Taking a script and working with actors to turn it into a performance through rehearsals, conversations about what are the strongest choices to make — that process is pure adrenaline and when it’s over I crash and have to sleep for a few days. But while it’s happening, it’s bliss. I just want more of that bliss in my life.

Our review team also had the honor of reviewing one of Christopher’s most recent pieces: The brilliant, absurdist comedy Bryers Cucumber Tostinos.

Christopher Hall

What are your roles in the film?

Director and Producer

Christopher Hall

Who wrote this film?

It was written by Patrick Tamisiea and Nicholas Leeds.

What is the logline for Bryers Cucumber Tostino’s?

The story of a man-boy living in the corner market, still waiting for his mother to come pick him up.

What inspired the way that you went about executing this project?

This project was all about finding the things that inspired me to get into this business in the first place. Working in the world of “branded content” you can forget the glory of storytelling and the fun that it instills on everyone on set — like when you’re having a party at your parents house when they’re out of town. I got a bunch of people that I loved working with and said “let’s make this damn movie” and it just turned into one of the best projects I’ve ever been a part of. The movie’s been to over 40 festivals now — although thanks to COVID it felt a little weird having all those reactions happen remotely.

What was the most difficult part in the process of creating this film? How did you overcome it?

There really wasn’t a lot of difficulty in creating the film. We had a total blast writing it, casting it, shooting it and editing it. The challenge is when we look around at each other and say “are we really doing this?” and we tell each other, “hell yeah.” Believe you’re going to do it and at some point you’ll just find yourself doing it.

What was the most fun part of this entire production?

Definitely the shoot was a blast. We had prepared so much to be ready for it and gotten a lot of people on board to make it happen so by the time we were shooting it felt like a big group of friends. Somebody would come to set and we’d all say hi like an old friend who stopped by to your party. My kids came and got to see me directing on set. It felt like a dream.

What is the single greatest lesson you learned along the creation of this particular project?

The greatest lesson of this project was trust your friends, trust your instincts. I put a lot of trust into the people around me and I never once felt like they let me down. This business is full of disappointments and I’ve had my share. But this project just never stopped moving forward and I owe all of that success to the people who helped me make it.

Is there anything else you would like us to know? Or any final thoughts / things you’d like to share with our readers?

I’m sure I’ll think of something as soon as I hit the submit button but for now I’m good.

Thank you so much for being a part of The Film Festival Network Community, Christopher! We can’t wait to see what you do next.

Keep up with this filmmaker and all their incredible work to come!