Director of Tim Ferriss’ Book Trailers Discusses How To Think Like a Director



(and tell me you don’t want to be like monsieur Patch when you grow up?!)

Adam Patch / Director’s Reel 2013 from Adam Patch on Vimeo.

What can we learn from a Director like Adam Patch? He has amazing vision and teaches us that making stelar pieces requires a curious imagination that pushes you to investigate all mediums around us to develop your instinct. He is a Director who developed his craft, by dissecting other works that he loved, to better his knowledge and expertise. (<—*Big Tip* read that again and start doing it yourself)

This was just one of the great lessons I learned from him: watch films you like frame by frame and ask “what makes this shot so good?” This is how you can train your eye and your instincts and develop a treasure chest of ideas for your work.

So why is he on our show about Cinematography? What can we, who love to film, learn from a Director? We dive into this question in the interview and I found it fascinating to see a guy who consistently puts out top notch work explain to cinematographers what they can do to also achieve such results.

Check out this knockout Episode:


As cinematographers in charge of the image (and often many more aspects of the production) we can easily forget that the work we strive to emulate is a collaboration of many departments. One of the most important roles is the Creative Director and Director – the two people that focus on the concept and story.


First ask Why

These roles are so crucial because they focus on the “why” of your filming and not just the what or how. The why is, “Why should I shoot this shot from this angle and not that? Why should there be images depicting sadness in the beginning of this video and not later on? Why would my viewer care about this topic and why will certain images draw them in more than others” All these questions are thought about long before the shoot begins.

In run and gun, you don’t always get to do this preparation but you definitely should have all this in mind as your guide when shooting. All of these things are done brilliantly by Adam Patch (, Director, Designer & Animator extraordinair.  He created Tim Ferriss’ stupidly cool book trailer videos and so much more. Much thought goes into each and every shot that could potentially tell the story.

Think Like A Director

If you’re shooting a promotional video for a school (or just starting to make polished commericals) and you know the answers to some of the above questions then it will help you to determine if you should shoot a classroom and focus on the children, or the teacher. Should you focus on happy children or bored children? Should you get close up of books or the children’s eyes? The list goes on.

Often we get distracted with the tech side of things. “My Canon 5d mark III has raw now – all that juicky dynamic range and ability to work in post! This is gonna be the greatest piece ever!” Slow your roll there my friend, there are at leat 15-20 things that you need to do right before RAW will do anything for you. Harsh but true.

As the ones holding the camera, and often alone, if we can harness that mindset of “what images do I need to tell this story? what is my overall goal with today’s filming?” then I will naturally be forced to ask, “why this and not that?”

Not always do we find ourselves filming where there is a Creative Director or Director involved. In which case, if we want our work to stand out it’s up to us to grab the reigns and get Creative! Think outside the box on what visuals can tell your story and always remember to ask “Why will this shot have the impact on my audience that I would like?”

To all you current and soon to be Big Leaguers out there,

Keep doing what you do when you do the things that you do!