Russ’s life has been defined by a desire to tell stories, in any format. Born and raised in North Carolina, after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill he began his career as a copywriter for some of the world’s top ad agencies including Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, TBWA\Chiat Day, BBDO, and Deutsch. He naturally gravitated toward writing copy for TV and radio, which offered the best opportunities for crafting short stories. He then returned to school, studying filmmaking at UCLA to take his storytelling prowess to the next level.
In 2000, with new knowledge and a new millennium on his side, Russ created a short film, pitched himself to production companies and brands alike, and quickly developed a reel. By 2003, he was named a director to watch by Creativity and featured in the Saatchi New Directors Showcase at Cannes. He has gone on to create hundreds of memorable commercials, racking up awards including an Emmy for his PBS promos. His prolific output is driven by a passion for solving the elusive puzzle of how to best craft a full, impactful story in just thirty seconds.
In recent years, Russ has also experimented with storytelling in other formats. He is recognized as an accomplished photographer, winning an IPA/Lucie Award in 2011 for his documentary series on Hollywood’s Wild Card Boxing Gym. His award-winning short film Peter at the End, starring Jon Heder, was an official selection at a dozen major film festivals in 2012 and 2013. And he is currently developing a feature film, on track to begin principal photography in 2017. Whether short form, long form, or simply a still image, it’s clear that Russ has mastered his trade.