Zachary Thomas Drechsler
Company: TA Films
Position: Senior Cinematographer and Producer
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?
TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?
I spend a lot of time behind the camera – highlighting the person on the other side of my lens. It’s rare I turn that lens around to myself. I have a lot more experience, and am more comfortable, avoiding the spotlight but I’m honored to even be considered for this award. For a long time, I’ve been working hard to achieve my professional goals and it’s rewarding to see some of those efforts get noticed by receiving this nomination.
My core values are family, community, impacting others, professional development and personal growth. While I’ve by no means mastered any of these, I think these are the categories that inspire me the most, and things I work to include in my everyday life.
• Family isn’t always easy, and I’ve learned that it takes work, but they’re always there. I recently became an uncle for the first time and now family means even more than ever.
• Community is a blanket term and includes a lot for me – but surrounding myself with a community of good-hearted people, interested in pushing my development, remains a top priority for me. I try to wake up every day and make an impact on others – whether that be a small gesture like opening the door for someone, or spending extra time teaching an intern a skill they can use as they continue along their professional journey.
• Professional development something extremely important to me – I want to wake up each day better than I was yesterday, and nobody has higher expectations for me than myself. Part of development is being challenged, so I continue to creatively push myself.
• My final core value is personal growth – I intentionally put it last because I think by actively pursuing all my other values, I will continue to grow. In my fast pace career, I intentionally try to take time to go slow – to reflect and to assess where I am personally and professionally, where I want to go, and how can I chart a course to get there.
Outside of work, I enjoy playing guitar, biking, spending times with my girlfriend and my cat Henry.
DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?
I grew up in a small town in Davie County. Everyone knew everyone. There was only one high school for the county and the closest movie theatre was in a neighboring county about 30 minutes away. Growing up I was heavily involved in sports, spending time with friends and very involved in my church youth group. In 2008, during church one Sunday our pastor brought up that the county was looking at trying to fund a homeless shelter and was seeking congregation members to be involved in a committee. I never thought that was something that could affect a rural county like ours, and only imagined it in big cities.
For whatever reason that stuck with me – even as a 16-year-old. At youth group one Sunday night, I came up with an idea for a fundraiser to contribute to the homeless shelter. My youth director really encouraged and helped flesh out the idea and thus “Box Out Homelessness” was born (see the sports connection). The idea was that youth from the community would get people to sponsor them to sleep in boxes in the church parking lot. The idea was a huge success. We had bands donate their time to play, we had community businesses volunteer food and drinks, and it was attended by all of the community churches. We probably had over 200 boxes full of kids in the parking lot for the night.
Flash forward to 2018, our company’s CEO and President tasked everyone to come up with a passion project for the year. A coworker chose to create a promotional video for an organization called Davie County Family Promise that helps struggling families in my hometown take that first step out of homelessness by providing housing, resources and services.
I had the privilege of being involved in the production and it was so cool to see something come full circle like that. I had an idea to try to contribute to the issue of homelessness in our community in 2008, and then 10 years later to be able to use all my professional skills and talents to create something to bring awareness to the issue and help propel the organization forward meant a lot personally.
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY? PLEASE BE AS DETAILED AS YOU CAN.
If you’ve been to a Panthers game in Charlotte you’ve undoubtedly seen our work for the intro video, and other various in game experience videos. If you’ve turned on ESPN, you’ve probably seen my work – either highlighting games, or telling stories through 30 for 30 or E60. In today’s age, I think people often are focused on the differences between us but so much of my work is meant to unite us – unite us as citizens of Charlotte and unite us to a much larger cause nationally, or globally.
I’ve filmed big games that the people of Charlotte care about – from FBS National Championships, to Panther’s playoff games. I’ve produced big stories that the people of Charlotte care about – most recently a ESPN E60 piece about two rival high schools on the US – Mexico border who just want to play football, but can seems to shake a modern political narrative. I’ve worked with big names that the people of Charlotte care about such as Marty Schottenheimer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Rick Flair, and Luke Combs. I tell stories that put Charlotte on the map too – from a Charlotte resident, and former University of Georgia gymnast, who was a surrogate mother to another UGA gymnast – to following Cam Newton riding his scooter around uptown charlotte in Amazon’s latest All Or Nothing series – to the story of Muggsy Bogues and his brother overcoming a divorce and drug addiction with only each other to rely on.
I bring high quality production to the city of Charlotte – highlighting our city and prominent figures, and inspiring the rest of the county, and the world, with our stories.
PLEASE LET US KNOW ANY AWARDS OR RECOGNITIONS YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER:
• 2017 Breakthrough Video Of The Year Nomination CMT – Luke Combs “Hurricane”
• 2017 Top 10 Country music videos Rolling Stones – Luke Combs “When It Rains It Pours”
• 2017 Bronze Telly Award Winner “Sunbelt Hurricane Response”
• 2018 Video Of The Year Finalist CMT – Luke Combs “When It Rains It Pours”
• 2018 CMA Second Ballot Music Video Of The Year CMT – Luke Combs “When It Rains It Pours”
• 2019 Video Of The Year Finalist CMT – Luke Combs “She Got The Best Of Me”
• 3x Gold World Medal New York Festivals TV & Film Awards Winner “Danica” and “ESPN 30 for 30: The Nature Boy”
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?
Playing guitar, hiking, biking, drinking good beer with good people, spending quality time with my cat, Henry
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?
Hard work never goes unnoticed
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS? 10 YEARS?
In five years, I’d like to own a home in Charlotte and settle down with my girlfriend. We’ve been dating long distance for 16 months and have plans for her to relocate to Charlotte in early 2020. I’d like to continue my growth in TA Films, further elevating my leadership role. I’d like to travel to all 50 states before I’m thirty – I’m currently at 37. I’d like to own a dog, and a fancy new electric guitar.
Ten years is a little harder to project, but I’d like to start a family, and provide a loving home to my wife, kids, and a few dogs. I’d like to accomplish a few milestones at work and win a few awards for big projects – then I’d like to scale back and be more local to charlotte instead of traveling quite so much. I’d like to get into education within the film community by getting involved with teaching at either the high school or college level. I’d like to start that middle age dad band too.
CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
I want to be in a band. I don’t ever want to play shows, or print t-shirts, or make it a job, or even get paid. I just want to sit around in someone’s basement and play tunes with a bunch of retired dads.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?
In March of 2019, my girlfriend and I cashed in all of my frequent flyer and hotel points and went to Thailand. Prior to that I went to a cartel controlled Mexican city for an ESPN E60 profile. Slightly different experiences 🙂
WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?
I worked and lived on a boat in the British Virgin Islands for 3 months
WHO IS YOUR HERO?
It’s cliché but, my dad. He was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident a few years before I was born. He woke up from a coma and realized doctors had to amputate his leg to save his life and he has had complications ever since. He lost his identity as an athlete in that accident but he’s never let any adversity become an excuse – almost to a frustrating degree.
He never complains. He’s both the hardest worker and hard head i’ve known. He is frustrating, stoic, and complicated but I love him for all of those characteristics. He has intentionally and unintentionally taught me so many lessons about life and how to carry myself – and I owe the man that I am today to him – and I’m not the first or last person to say that.
WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
50/50 with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen
WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?
Jared and The Mill at the USNWC