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Episode 34 – Advertising

Ridley Scott, Spike Jonze, David Fincher all have commercial directing backgrounds. So does that mean we should all start with commercials?

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Show Notes / Links

The Daily Struggle

Topic of the Week – Are commercials a good training ground to become a feature director?

Timothy works as a producer for Goodby Silverstein & Partners and has recently started pursuing a career as a commercial director.  Ridley Scott, Spike Jonze, David Fincher all have commercial directing backgrounds, too. So does that mean we should all start with commercials?

  • What do you think about commercials from a viewer standpoint?
  • Is there such a thing as a great commercial?
  • Lots of directors started out with commercials and music videos. Some examples: Ridley Scott, Spike Jonze, David Fincher, JC Chandor, Zack Snyder, Joseph Kosinski, Michael Bay. So does that mean we should all start with commercials?
  • Why do directors work in advertising?
    • We can make stuff! Practice and Experience. For instance, David Fincher experimenting with face replacement in this Orville Redenbacher commercial.
    • Clients have money! They’ll pay for you to be creative
    • A lot of commercial production companies dabble in feature films

  • What are the dangers of working in advertising?
    • It’s a different style of directing and getting good at directing commercials doesn’t mean you’ll be good at telling a long form story
    • Directors aren’t as involved in the post production process and so they don’t have to live with the decisions they made on set
    • Not every commercial director gets the opportunity to direct a feature
  • How do commercials get made with a traditional agency
    • Research and Planning (figuring out the problem, why it exists, what might change people’s minds, where to reach the audience): Clients have a problem they need to solve from something as simple as “we want to celebrate Photoshop’s 25th Anniversary” to something more complicated like “Milk consumption is on the decline? How can we stop that?”
    • Writing and Ideas based on the Research and Planning
    • Get the Client on Board
    • Budget and Schedule Approval
    • Production (where Timothy gets involved)
      • An agency producer helps choose production partners including a director, editor, visual effects, sound, etc.
      • A director comes on board about a month before the shoot to prep and then usually gets a first pass at an edit, and then they are on to the next project
  • The low-budget way commercials get made
  • What’s the role of a director on a commercial?
  • The Tostitos commercials Timothy recently produced with director Jared Hess

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Published inAdvertisingCareerDirectingFilmmaking
  • How about you? Are you interested in commercial directing?