Directors to Watch 2008: Trish Sie

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Trish Sie
Trish Sie
"I feel a little bit like a combination of Eliza Doolittle and Louis Skolnick from Revenge of the Nerds," says Bob Industries director Trish Sie. "I feel like the person that just doesn't belong in this situation." In her by now familiar story, Sie was running a dance studio in Orlando (or "the middle of nowhere" as she calls it) when she collaborated with her brother's band, OK Go, on a stunning one-take video featuring an elaborate dance number performed on treadmills. The clip became a viral blockbuster and won a Grammy for best video in 2007. "It was a really a perfect storm in terms of the timing," she says, as if her inventive choreography had little to do with the clip's success.

But Sie had honed her knack for performance over the years as a competitive ballroom dancer and instructor, and with oddball projects like a book club rap group and The Snark-a-Snoops, a live kids' show that she's currently repackaging for TV. Meanwhile, marketers have begun to see the value in Sie's sensibility. Since signing with Bob Industries, Sie—who is now based in L.A.—has directed dancing bees for and Goodby, and dancing pants for Levi's and Cutwater. The latter film, created for the brand's "Live Unbuttoned" series, has the same DIY vibe of Sie's OK Go videos, with lighting taking the place of effects to obscure the rest of the dancers' bodies. She also choreographed an intricate fight scene for an EA viral effort and, on her own time, assembled a trio of Sarah Palin lookalikes to serve as backup dancers in a music video for a song called "Red, White, and MILF." "I was a dancer for all my life, and a ballroom dancer for most of it, and there's pretty much nothing further from a Grammy-award winning music video than ballroom dancing," she says. "I think my most important skill is that I've gotten lucky—if that's a skill—and somehow I have this ability to spot authentic people who are willing to make jackasses of themselves."

Read about Autumn De Wilde, another of our 2008 Directors to Watch.

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