New York, NY, USA
Pamela Romanowsky is Brooklyn-based screenwriter and director who creates films, television and commercials. She believes that filmmaking is about empathy, the ability to transport you into the world and skin of someone else. Her passion is for boundary pushing narratives with complicated, richly drawn characters, that balance authenticity and humanity with stylish and dynamic visuals. Pamela’s feature debut, The Adderall Diaries (starring James Franco, Ed Harris, Amber Heard, Christian Slater and Cynthia Nixon) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released by A24 in 2016. She is an alumna of The Sundance Institute’s Screenwriting, Directing, and Composition/Sound labs, the Creative Producing Summit, the Women at Sundance initiative. Pamela is an alumnus of the Ryan Murphy Half Foundation and the Warner Bros Television Directing Workshop. She made her episodic debut with Riverdale, directing “The Great Escape” for the show’s third season in November 2018. As a commercial and branded content director, Pamela focuses on expressive portraits of extraordinary individuals. She loves candid conversation, getting to the heart of the thing, and anything that moves fast. Her short form work includes pieces for the NY Marathon, Dove chocolate, Sotheby’s and Refinery29, and she is proudly rostered by Rocket Film. Pamela studied behavioral psychology at Macalester College, verité documentary with Barbara Kopple, and narrative screenwriting and directing at NYU’s MFA film program. Pamela is a motorcyclist, a bit of a pyromaniac, and retains just enough of her pre-med education to talk you down from your WebMD diagnosis.
Links to Work
1. FEATURE FILM: The Adderall Diaries (available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes). A24 (2016)
Both my debut film and the project that took me through the Sundance labs, The Adderall Diaries is one of the works I'm proudest of. Making it taught me so much about the industry, the importance of a creative community and my voice and priorities as a filmmaker.
2. TELEVISION: Riverdale #305: The Great Escape (available on CW.com or the CW app after 11/14/18 (it's airing this week!) CW/Berlanti Prods (2018)
My debut episodic work, which took four years of shadowing and mentorship to get. Working as an episodic director taught me how to protect and care for the showrunner's vision, how to be a good leader within an existing structure, and how to balance and respect the needs of the creatives, producers, network and studio.
3. SHORT FORM/BRANDED CONTENT: Khetiwe and the Leopard. Narrative Short, 19 mins. Refinery29/Dove Chocolate (2017)
My favorite piece of branded content, which stars non-actor teenagers and two real leopards. This piece was a truly ideal branded content collaboration, where I had the time and freedom to identify a brand's priorities and use those ideas to inspire a narrative film. Writing for a place I'd never seen, directing in a language I don't speak, and working with non-actors (and a wild animal) taught me that versatility and sincerity in communication is the most essential part of directing. You have to find what's universal between you in a very specific moment or behavior and make sure it feels real.
4. COMMERCIAL: Retire Your Risk: Elaine Larsen and Retire Your Risk: James Moskito. Alliance for Lifetime Income (2018). Co-directed with Klaus Obermeyer
This is one of my favorite commercial pieces. I picked it particularly because it is a collaboration with another director and because it so precisely summarizes my passion for candid portraits of extraordinary people, and my belief that style and substance need to have equal weight. Klaus Obermeyer is a veteran commercial director and specializes in aerial, underwater and high-adrenaline content (which is what I want to do more of and is hard for a young woman to break into), and here he shared so much of that experience and skill set with me. In turn, I shared my skillset for interviews and performance. As co-directors, we were able to push and support each other and create something that's both intimate and thrilling.
Chances With Wolves: A weekly mixtape that’s my favorite work music. Sometimes I’ll put on a script-specific playlist to write but this is my go-to soundtrack for writing, storyboarding, making overheads and general daydreaming. http://www.chanceswithwolves.com
Tim Ferriss podcast: Tim is an example of a great interviewer and conversationalist. He has an incredibly wide range of interests and his curiosity and empathy makes him fluent in so many different disciplines. This podcast helps me stay in touch with all kinds of knowledge outside of the film world, which protects my sanity and inspires me. https://tim.blog/podcast/ or search on your favorite Podcasts app
The New Museum: My favorite museum in New York. Because it’s much smaller than MoMA or the Met, you can really immerse in and absorb the whole show. Helps me think about visual storytelling in a really pure way. Standing there looking at a painting or sculpture is like telepathy. You’re transmitting an emotion across time, space, perspective and experience. https://www.newmuseum.org/
Running. Motorcycling. Archery. Vinyl. These are the most important coping mechanisms I have for getting out of my head and facing doubt, writer’s block, anxiety, perfectionism and the general insanity that comes from thinking about fictional people all day.
The Couch25K app will make a runner out of even the most running-averse among us. There’s a reason so many people tell you this is good for your brain. I have a whole lot of dictated iphone script notes from running. http://www.c25kfree.com/ or search for the Couch25K app
Gotham Archery for fellow New Yorkers, maybe something in the back yard for those with more space. Focus and precision and breathing lets my mind wander to cool places. Lots of iphone notes from this, too. https://www.got-archery.com/
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course will teach you how to ride safely so you can enjoy it for the rest of your life. The phrase “ride for your mind” is a very real thing. I do this when I need to *stop* making obsessive iphone dictation notes and just be a person. You can't think about anything else while you ride. It takes both hands, both feet, and all of your attention. https://www.msf-usa.org/BRC.aspx
Rough Trade, eBay or whatever your favorite vinyl source is. Getting up to flip a record every twenty minutes is, for me, exactly enough leg stretching without losing my train of thought. Helps me do long hauls for writing, prep, etc. https://www.roughtrade.com/us