What do you get when you combine an Emmy-award winning director, three stars and fall fashion collections from Target? A completely new film format and shopping experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen before (not to mention an addicting romantic comedy series you can’t keep your eyes off of).
Don’t take our word for it—watch the first episode of Target’s new shoppable short film, “Falling For You,” here.
Directed by legendary director Phil Abraham—the man behind “Man Men” and “The Sopranos”—the three-episode short film features Kristen Bell, Zachary Abel and Nia Long. We already took you behind the scenes to hear from talent in front of the lens; now, hear from the talent behind the camera.
When and where did your interest in filming and directing begin?
Phil Abraham: I was always a huge movie fan from a really young age—avidly watching the classics on my black and white TV. It’s funny for me to think back on that time as laying a foundation for my career, but it absolutely did.
How was directing this short film different from directing a TV episode or full-length film?
PA: I have to say directing this short film for Target has a lot more in common with directing an episode of television than not—including tight schedules and limited time! Of course the big difference is that we’re approaching a new story with new characters, and the chemistry between our characters is new and being defined. On the other hand, on a TV show there is generally a shorthand story already in place for a lot of those relationships.
What was your vision for the short film?
PA: My vision was to make a romantic comedy that had a quirkiness to it with relatable and funny situations, while trying to do it all in a streamlined way within the time constraints so there was still enough time to invest and care about [characters] Amanda and Joe.
What surprised you the most about the process?
PA: I guess the really pleasant surprise was how Kristen [Bell] and Zach [Abel] had instant chemistry, which was huge. I knew they would because that’s what casting is all about. But with such a tight schedule and limited rehearsal time, it always makes me a little anxious. They were both amazing, and I hope we get to continue the Amanda and Joe saga going forward!
How was working with the crew and actors?
PA: The cast and crew were fantastic! Much of the crew were people whom I’ve had great working relationships with on the feature and TV side of things, so having them with me on this was invaluable. I worked with our production designer, Scott Murphy, for years on “The Sopranos” and recently on “The Playboy Club.” I’ve known our director of photography Mitch Amundsen for more than 20 years—and I was thrilled to reunite with him on this film after so many years! And I’ve been working with my assistant director, Nina Jack on “Mad Men” for the last five seasons. I had never worked with any of the cast before, but I really enjoyed them immensely. Kristen was just such a great choice for Amanda and we had a lot of fun on set—I hope we get the chance to work together again. The same goes for Zach, whose career is really just starting to take off. I’m certain we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the near future!
What was the most fun part about directing the film?
PA: What I embraced about this project right away was Target’s willingness just to make a great film people could enjoy, and not burden its dramatic elements with commercial content. Not too many companies would take such an approach. I believe that now that we’ve done this with Target, many others will jump on this novel idea. I have to hand it to Target for being so forward thinking and being a leader with this kind of film—it’s very cool.
Speaking of Target, what’s your favorite section to shop?
PA: Wow, that’s the toughest question! Not sure where to begin, but I have to say I somehow always venture into the housewares section first.