Sign me up: Josef Wladyka

No, we’re so not over football commercials yet, especially when it’s top of the class work like NYU student Josef Wladyka’s spot shot on the streets of Manhattan.

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You wrote the script yourself – what led to the idea and how did it evolve?
The idea for the spot came from my growing anticipation for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It was November of last year and I was in my third year of coursework taking a commercial directing class at the New York University Tisch School of Arts. We had to come up with a few different ideas and I knew I wanted to do something with soccer. My friend plays in a soccer league and told me about a field where a lot of great players go to in the Lower East Side. I began going to watch the games every Saturday and started getting to know some of the guys. It turned out a lot of them played college-level soccer and now work as investment bankers or in the business world down on Wall Street. That’s when I thought it would be interesting to make a spot about a guy who is being chased through the Financial District, but is actually dreaming it all in his office because the World Cup is only a few months away.

The location looks like prime time New York city – how was it shooting in the middle of Manhattan?
Shooting in Manhattan proved a challenge, especially if you’re shooting in a crowded area. Luckily, Wall Street is typically not congested on the weekends so we thought it would be perfect to shoot there then. We showed up for our first shot only to find giant film trucks and people were scattered all over the area where we planned to shoot.

Oliver Stone was shooting Wall Street 2. People were coming up to us and asking where base camp was and where the craft service table was located. It was a disaster! We had to improvise and looked for new streets to shoot which put us a couple hours behind schedule. In the end, it turned out fine because everyone thought we were a second unit crew of Wall Street 2 so we went wherever we wanted and nobody bothered us.

What were the challenges on the shoot?
We were only allotted one day to shoot our spots, so the greatest challenge was getting everything we needed before the sun set. It was a constant race against the clock for daylight, but we managed to squeeze everything in just in the nick of time.

Tell us a bit about what you’re up to now and what led to where you are now.
I have just finished up my three years of course work at the NYU Tisch graduate directing program and I am currently working on my thesis film. It is a feature film about a young man from a fishing village off the Pacific Coast of Colombia who undertakes a dangerous job aboard a homemade submarine transporting $200 million of cocaine in the hope of providing a better life for his family. I’m currently in the rewriting process of the script and hope to start preproduction within the next year.

And what’s the five-year plan?
In a perfect world, my five year plan would be to shoot my first feature and begin the process of making my second film. That said, I understand this is more than likely wishful thinking since the film industry isn’t exactly a stable work environment, especially for directors. So to be honest, I don’t have much of a set plan. I’m going to do everything I can to make my first film and in the meantime, continue to direct spec commercials and work various odd jobs to support myself. As long as I get to make films, I’m happy.

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