By ProGrade Digital | March 18, 2024

In the ever-evolving world of filmmaking and photography, Sheldon Schwartz stands out as a beacon of innovation and storytelling prowess. With a career spanning nearly two decades, Schwartz has directed commercials and ad campaigns for renowned technology companies such as DJI, Samsung, Lenovo, Yamaha, Xpeng, and numerous innovative startups, primarily in Asia. His work is a testament to his ability to weave compelling narratives that resonate deeply with audiences worldwide. In this exclusive interview, Schwartz shares insights into his journey, creative process, and the tools that shape his art.

“It’s about telling a story that brings watchers on an emotional arc, using film to engage and entertain, to help people deal with their own inner journeys.”

We’re thrilled to chat with you today! First, tell us how you got your start in filmmaking.

As far back as I remember, I’ve always wanted to be a director. Inspired by Michael Bay, I started by shooting spec commercials and narrative short films on my own dime. This led to a job at an ad agency, and eventually, the opportunity to direct a real commercial for Lenovo. It just hasn’t stopped since then.

What do you enjoy most about directing?

What I enjoy most is playing with the medium of filmmaking and working with talented individuals. It’s about telling a story that brings watchers on an emotional arc, using film to engage and entertain, and to help people deal with their own inner journeys. I love the art of embedding a message and having people walk away with an emotional impression.

When you’re not directing large campaigns, what do you do for a creative outlet?

I love traveling and taking a camera or two with me, shooting by myself or with my wife. Traveling allows me to be inspired, challenge myself, and look at things from different perspectives. Sometimes, these experiences feed back into my work in advertising.

Why is it important for you to capture photos and videos while traveling?

Capturing photos and videos while traveling is so important to me because I’m a filmmaker at heart. It gives me the freedom to explore new perspectives, challenge myself, to break down and then rebuild my creative ego. It’s about telling a story, even while traveling. And if I don’t capture those stories, I feel like I’m wasting my time.

You mentioned using the Sony A7S III and the Fuji GFX 100 S for your work. Can you tell us more about why you chose these cameras and what is your go-to memory card?

The Sony A7S III is great for video, especially in low light, and it’s just a really versatile camera for both professional and personal use. I chose the Fuji GFX 100 S for its medium format, offering epic shots. So, whether I’m shooting on the Fuji at a high frame rate to capture action or shooting at super slow motion on my Sony, I’m not distracted by the technicalities, because I know how fast these cameras are.

For memory, I rely on ProGrade CFexpress cards for their speed and reliability, critical for handling huge files and high data rates from shooting video. You need fast cards that won’t fail so you can keep shooting and not worry about constantly having to dump to your computer, and without being slowed down by the camera writing to the card.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers or photographers?

Technology is rapidly changing, and having reliable tools, like a good memory card, is essential. It’s an investment in your creativity and ensures you can capture and store your visions effectively. Concentrate on building your portfolio; the right tools will help you focus on your craft.

Final Thoughts

Sheldon Schwartz’s journey in the realm of visual storytelling is a vivid reminder of the power of persistence, passion, and the right tools. From his early days of shooting spec commercials to directing campaigns for global tech giants, Schwartz’s work continues to inspire and evoke emotions. His advice to aspiring creators is a call to invest in their passion and tools, ensuring they have what they need to bring their visions to life. As Schwartz looks to the future, his desire to delve into narrative storytelling hints at an exciting new chapter in his creative journey, one that promises to bring even more profound stories to the screen.