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Filmmakers’ Diversity Award Winners Attend Commercial Directing Bootcamp



Carly Usdin, Sonia Megerdichian, and Ali Baluch each received a scholarship

Filmmakers’ Diversity Award Winners Attend Commercial Directing Bootcamp

This past weekend, filmmakers Carly Usdin, Sonia Megerdichian, and Ali Baluch attended Commercial Directing Bootcamp as the recipients of a Filmmakers’ Diversity Award sponsored by Oso Delicious Hot Sauce. Since 2015, Jordan Brady has presided over his Commercial Directing Bootcamp, holding sold-out seminars in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Dallas. The recent iteration brings to fifteen the number of Diversity Award-winners having attended thus far. Bootcamp alumni have variously gone on to secure commercial representation, garner trade press for their spot work, and receive nominations for the Cannes Young Director Award and other honours. The next Bootcamp will take place Saturday, June 27, 2020, in Los Angeles.

"Commercial Directors come in all flavors. So, while the Filmmakers' Diversity Award typically sends one lucky filmmaker from an underrepresented population to Bootcamp, we decided to send one filmmaker for each unique flavor in our Flavorseeker Fun Pak,” said Jordan regarding Oso Delicious Hot Sauce. Jordan and his family launched the brand in 2018 as 'the only hot sauce made by bears that gives $1 per bottle to charity.'

New to the program was a Filmmakers' Sunday Mixer with Q&A, on January 19th, free for Bootcamp attendees, and open to all with a suggested donation of $20 with proceeds benefiting Stand Up to Cancer. Jordan moderated the panel, which included Susan Munro of Hybrid Collective, director Rachel Harms, DP Mark Kohl, and Superlounge executive producer Vicki Williams. The Mixer was co-sponsored by Oso Delicious Hot Sauce and Hybrid Collective. “Hybrid has long been a fan of Jordan Brady so any chance we get to collaborate with him we say a big fat YES!,” Susan exclaimed. “I am grateful to be able to make a living in the creative field of advertising and this event was a great way to share information as well as learn new things from the panel and the attendees. I hope we are able to make this a continued event for years to come.”

Jordan’s recent projects include 'Horsepower Challenge' for Dodge starring WWE legend Goldberg via Publicis Sapient. He next shoots a Buick project around the NCAA for Leo Burnett Detroit, and Black Bear Diner via Loomis in Dallas.

Carly Usdin

"There are many programs and workshops aimed at filmmakers and creatives, but Commercial Directing Bootcamp taught me useful and practical information that I know I can use in my career as a commercial filmmaker, and I'm very thankful for that opportunity,” said Carly, an award-winning commercial and narrative filmmaker who has created short-form content for Funny or Die, CollegeHumor, Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, World of Wonder, CBS, Fullscreen, Astronauts Wanted, Portal A, TruTV, Viacom and YouTube. Most notably, she directed the third season of Awkwafina’s digital series Tawk, and her campaigns for RuPaul’s Drag Race have won a One Show Pencil and multiple Promax BDA Awards.

Carly’s first feature, Suicide Kale, won the Audience Award for Best First Feature at Outfest 2016. Her short, Misdirection, created through AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, is on the circuit as an official selection of over 50 film festivals worldwide. In 2017, she served as showrunner/director for the scripted series Threads, produced by New Form for Verizon’s go90 platform. Usdin is also the creator and writer of two comic book series for BOOM! Studios: Heavy Vinyl and The Avant-Guards. Heavy Vinyl was nominated for a 2018 Prism award, honouring the best in LGBTQAI+ comics. The Avant-Guards was nominated for a 2020 GLAAD Award.

Ali Baluch

"The one day bootcamp with Jordan was incredibly informative and insightful for me,” said Ali, an Afghan-American filmmaker based in Los Angeles. “Jordan took over 20 years of industry experience and condensed it clearly into a one day bootcamp. I was very fortunate to be awarded the diversity scholarship to attend the bootcamp. I've been working on low-budget commercials over the last 7 years and I struggled to find a better understanding of the commercial industry. Jordan took the time to answer all of my questions and helped me build a foundation for moving forward in the commercial industry.”

Ali has worked as a digital media producer with YouTube creator FouseyTube, where the two amassed over 10 million subscribers and over 1.5 billion channel views. After working for two years as a producer with MTV, Baluch went on to establish Impressionist Films, a fast-growing production house that covers music videos, commercials, narrative short films and documentaries.

Sonia Megerdichian

Commercial directing is such a niche profession, and there really isn’t that much information out there if you’re not on the inside,” observed Sonia, an LA-based, Iranian born, Armenian director. “Jordan’s Bootcamp armed me with the practical knowledge and the tools I need to navigate the commercial directing world. As a self-taught director, I’m grateful for having such generous mentors like Jordan, who truly help advance my career, and the connections made at the Bootcamp were priceless. I was overjoyed to find out I was the recipient of the Diversity Award! A huge thanks to Oso Delicious Hot Sauce for supporting inclusion and diversity in our industry.”

Taking inspiration from her diverse roots, Sonia strives to tell stories that connect with a global audience. Her range of work includes short films, documentary, branded content and commercials. She has worked with brands such as Bayer, Nissan, Pantene and Macy’s. In 2017, she wrote and directed a short film called 'Curiosity' for National Geographic as part of a promotional campaign for the series 'Genius.'

The Diversity Award scholarship sends one talented filmmaker to each seminar for free. Filmmakers are judged on the following criteria:

1. Quality of storytelling.

2. Need for exposure to brand storytelling.

3. True passion for making ads.

The deadline is two weeks before the next seminar. Travel and lodging not included. The next Los Angeles seminar has been scheduled for June 7th, 2020.

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Superlounge, Tue, 21 Jan 2020 20:14:09 GMT