Director/Editor & Photographer, John Lavin

John Lavin has been creating both scripted and non-scripted entertainment for the last 15 years, first at Endemol USA, then as the director of his own firm, Bloodrush Films, and with producing partner Camille Hardman at Mighty Fine Entertainment. Lavin began as an editor primarily on reality pilots before moving into directing. His feature documentary, Hollywood to Dollywood, has played over 50 film festivals and picked up 25 awards, as well as secured distribution.

What is the most important skill a director can possess?

The ability to tell an engaging story. Everything can be a story, whether it’s a corporate EPK, a music video or a narrative feature film. If the audience can hook into an arc with a beginning, middle and end, they will have an experience. And the director will have done his job. And I say an engaging story, because you don’t want to bore your audience, ever. That’s the worst sin.

Is there a common thread to your projects?

Other than hopefully always telling a compelling story, when I look back on my work, if there’s a common thread, I’d say it’s music. I begin nearly every project by pulling together cues that form the tone I want to create. Many of the subjects of the work I do deal in some way with music. And there’s not much I love more than cutting a montage to a killer song.

What's unique about your approach to projects?

I really believe in finding the truth in every moment, so there's as little artifice to the work as possible.  My background is in non-scripted/reality/documentaries, and helping "real people" remain honest when a camera is on them has been fantastic training. Audiences crave authenticity, and true, organic moments, whether in a scripted piece or otherwise are where the gold is.  Everything in pre-production, on set, and in the edit is geared to discovering and illuminating those instances.  On every kind of project.

Where is your favorite place to relax?

Puna, Hawaii, on the southern tip of the Big Island.  Most places there are off the grid and there’s pretty much zero cell coverage, so whether you want to or not, you are forced to slow down and take deeper breaths. It’s kinda paradise.

If you could work with anyone, who would it be?

John Waters. And Beyonce. And Freddie Mercury…

What five things could you not live without?

Trees, mountains and rivers. Yeh, that’s pretty much it. The rest is negotiable.

What is your spirit animal?

A giraffe. There’s something gentle, proud and independent in their movement while still striking me as a bit strange and unique. And kinda funny looking.