Serious Comedy
  • Friday, Mar. 29, 2019
Director Nisha Ganatra

Our Up-and-Coming Directors feature has always been about helping new talent gain much deserved exposure, but occasionally that takes on a greater sense of purpose. Such is the case in this issue of SHOOT with director Jess Coulter who recently joined O Positive after coming over from the agency side where she had most recently served as a creative director at BBDO New York.

Focused on developing her directing career, Coulter also has an eye on the bigger implications of establishing herself in the comedy marketplace. She recalled on the agency side having the privilege of working with adept comedy directors--none of whom was a woman. A woman director in comedy has been a relative rarity, something she hopes to change by gaining a foothold at O Positive, a shop known for its humorous chops, and hopefully serving as a catalyst for other women to join the fray.

Coulter brings to her quest comedy work she directed at BBDO, agency creative sensibilities, and a honing of her humorous chops in improv and sketch writing/acting/directing with NYC’s Upright Citizens Brigade, and then The Pit ensemble. She’s already made her debut as a staff director at O Positive with the “Morningmorphosis” campaign for IKEA out of Ogilvy NY.

Coulter’s emergence is not the only cause for optimism when it comes to women directors gaining a foothold in comedy. In our Sundance Film Festival coverage earlier this year, Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated director Nisha Ganatra made a major splash with her feature film, Late Night

Penned by Mindy Kaling and co-starring Kaling and Emma Thompson, Late Night premiered to rave reviews and a standing ovation in Park City this January. The film was immediately acquired by Amazon for a record-breaking $13 million--the festival’s highest ever for a film by a female director--and is set to hit theaters this summer.

Last month it was announced that Ganatra joined production house Chelsea for her first commercial and branded content representation.

Lisa Mehling, president of Chelsea, said, “Nisha is an extraordinary talent and I believe she’s going to become a major influence in the advertising and brand space, with a new perspective to bring to the comedy performance arena.” 

About the author

<p>Robert Goldrich is an editor for <a href=""></a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

MySHOOT Company Profiles