Tobin Sanson ‘11

by Tim O'Keefe

Hometown: Carbondale, Colorado
Currently Residing in Los Angeles, California
Education (course of study/degree, institution):  studied film for a few years at Brooks Institute of Photography (no longer exists haha)
Occupation: Commercial director and art director

You’re currently working as a creative director and filmmaker. What drew you into that work?

I have always loved visual storytelling. I grew up shooting little snowboard and skate films with friends. We were really inspired by snowboard videos like Picture This and Follow Me Around- loving them for not only the athlete’s parts, but also the ancillary storytelling that was weaved throughout. We would try to emulate them, giving our videos little stories. They’re ridiculous looking back on them, but I can clearly see how that lit the spark for my career.  

I ended up studying filmmaking in college and moving quickly into working on set as a production assistant and a photographer’s assistant. I was very fortunate to work with many talented people who helped me to learn not only how production worked, but to hone and refine my taste. I strongly believe that, as creatives, we need to surround ourselves with people who are better than us if we have any chance of succeeding.

I have since been on a path as a commercial director while also working for brands such as Mountain Hardwear, CamelBak,  and Athleta as an in-house art director.

My relationship to the natural world- one shaped and solidified in the RFV and at CRMS- has significantly influenced my creative inclinations. I often draw on my time spent in the wilderness to inspire and drive decisions in my work. It’s been rad to realize how much of an influence these experiences have had, and I look forward to many more years of discovering what they have to offer.

What other interests do you have?

I try to spend as much time as possible outside. Climbing was a big part of my life in Carbondale and I have done my best to keep it going. Surfing has become my pastime of choice. I naively assumed my time spent snowboarding would directly translate. But no. I’m sure it’s painfully clear to those in the lineup that I was born landlocked.

I also write as much as possible, consume dangerous amounts of coffee (yolo), and spend as much time as possible with my wife, Autym, and two dogs, Phoebe and Sequoia.

When did you last visit CRMS?

The last time I was on campus was probably in 2014! It’s been too long!

A favorite memory of CRMS faculty?

So many! Trips to the desert with BJ, Tracy, and Dave Meyer. Film Lit with Morgan Williams, music with George, photography with Lynn. These classes were especially influential for me. They were safe spaces to discover and develop my voice. I owe a lot to these wonderful humans!

I honestly loved and appreciated everyone at CRMS. I felt cared for and understood at every stage of my journey. They are truly the best!

See some of Tobin’s film and photography work at

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