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Sequoia Content Welcomes Director Dylan Maranda


Dylan sits down to discuss his career, how he got into the industry and what he got up to before becoming a director

Sequoia Content Welcomes Director Dylan Maranda

As Sequoia Content welcomes director Dylan Maranda, the team sit down with him to chat about his career, his move to Sequoia and the projects his most proud of.

Why did you decide to make the move to Sequoia?

Ultimately, I was looking for a place to lay roots. Suzanne brings experience, knowledge, and passion towards her directors in amounts that are hard to ignore. Her team had been following my work for a while, so they had the context of where I had come from, but more importantly to me, a deeply personal understanding of where I want to go with my career. After realising we were on the same page with the industry, the Canadian market, storytelling, my trajectory as a younger director and karaoke anthems, we realised it was the perfect fit.


What is it about the team and the culture there that clicks for you?

The first thing that excited me about Sequoia is that they are a team of passion and integrity. I believe empathy is pivotal to telling meaningful stories that connect with people. So I was drawn towards Suzanne, and in turn, her team, who approached doing business in a similar way. The genuine connection they create with the people they work with is really inspiring. 

Where are you from – where did you grow up?

I grew up in Vancouver in the Kitsilano neighbourhood. My parents had a small 24-hour bakery called Calhouns. I like to say I grew up in kitchens and the theatre. I had a lot of energy as a kid, and my parents needed something to keep me occupied. So I went out for auditions and ended up acting in touring theatre shows through elementary school. I went to a focused high school program for theatre and then wound up at Simon Fraser University to study film and directing. 


How did you first get into the industry? What was your very first job?

I had a good amount of time on sets as a kid when I was acting, but the first real directing job that I was paid for was while I was working in-house at a fashion brand in Vancouver. The group of people I worked for really trusted in my work and taste, for which I will be forever grateful. After getting a taste of it, I have been directing since.

What was your first creative milestone in the industry – the project you worked on that you were super proud of?

I did a job for Ontario Trades that definitely felt like a milestone. It was my first "bigger" job in Toronto with a visionary agency with a really unique creative, a ton of moving parts, and a difficult schedule. I was proud that despite lots of pivoting, I ended up with something that still felt really "me." A big part of that was working with a team of people, both in production and post, who are incredible in their respective roles & that I am lucky enough to call my friends. Filmmaking is a team sport. So to be able to share my growth as a director on that job with collaborators who have known me on a personal level for some time was special. It all came full circle. 

And what recent projects are you proudest of and why?

I worked on a campaign for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection last year that I will always be proud of. It was the first time I had really gotten back into my wheelhouse of directing actors and performance, and to have the opportunity to work with the real stories of victims was significant. It wasn't the flashiest project or the biggest, but it was honest and important work. The team and the talent that took that on with me had to be extremely thoughtful, vulnerable, and brave. So to be recognised at the Cannes Lions for it was a testament to everyone's involvement, and I couldn't have been prouder of the team. 

Within the industry, who are your creative heroes? And what work makes you jealous?

Any director that makes a point of exploring human ideas, puts the story at the forefront of what they do and uses personalised aesthetics to achieve their vision. Since high school, I have been watching Martin De Thurah's work; I feel he's a great example of this. I continue to be inspired by how he pushes for this across all his work, whether it's advertising, music videos, or narrative. Rune Milton is someone whose work gets me jealous. The worlds he creates and works within , oozes a certain genre, something that I gravitate towards in my narrative work. I was lucky enough to get to tell him that over a chat after we nerded out about wine!

Outside of work, what are you passionate about?

My dad was a chef, so it's only natural that food is a big one. Cooking is a way of getting into an immediate flow state for me. Those that know me would say it's no secret that I am a fan of good wine and good times. I find myself continuously inspired by conversations over meals, and I don't think there's anything more intimate than cooking for someone to show how much they mean to you. I even host some secret supper clubs from time to time! In another universe, I would have loved to have been a food critic. 


What do you do to break out of the industry bubble?

This is an interesting one. I like consuming stories in mediums that are different than filmmaking. I think it disrupts repetitive creative cycles and pushes me away from cliché, keep the zeitgeist at bay! I have really grown a passion for photobooks and long-form photography over the years. They make me think about a story in a way that's so different from filmmaking. It's slow, methodical, thankless, tactile, and generally poetic. I make work in this medium as a personal practice, and I find it extremely meditative. That, or getting in the water and surfing! 

What are your thoughts about the changing role and definition of creativity in the ad world?

I am hopeful about it. I think something we've experienced in the last five years has been an overabundance of noise in the ad world. To me, creativity is becoming more synonymous with "cutting through the noise." The act of presenting ideas or perspectives that make an impact in a way that hasn't been felt before. But there is always the danger of forcing it, adding to the mundanity we are so desperately trying to best. It's a balance, more than ever these days. The important part for me is staying true to what makes me creative in the first place, which has always been a way for me to make sense of my place in the world.

What would be your dream brand to work on, and why?

Any brand that's brave enough to take risks and trust in the people they hire to bring a new perspective. If I had to narrow it down, perhaps a brand with a strong sense of identity, maybe one steeped in history. Brands that feel secure enough in their own identity to be ambitious in creating something that pushes boundaries and is worth people watching. Those are the ones that get me the most excited, and the exciting part is they can be found in every type of market!


What's exciting you about the industry right now?

Mostly just the fact that the old way of doing things is changing. There are so many ways to break into the industry now without a ton of resources. More than ever, the prerequisite to success in filmmaking has been narrowed down to work ethic, talent, and a will to succeed. That and a healthy dose of humility in the process! I am proud to be a part of a growing group of younger filmmakers who I feel are examples of this. Good people making good work across all stages of production. If we can keep the ball rolling with that, there is nothing to be but excited.

Check out Dylan's reel here

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Sequoia Content, Thu, 17 Feb 2022 15:12:14 GMT