Good Enough Sucks, Says Bill Wright, Global Co-Exec Creative Director at McCann Erickson.

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This episode dropped in February, and as i am traveling to Austin this week, I picked it as my debut repeat. Why? Cuz it’s worth the listen!

Since the interview, ad-innovators Bill Wright and James Dawson-Hollis have moved to McCann Erickson. (Read this Ad Week article, I’m not making it up.) Oh, and James & his lovely wife Vivienne Wan had a darling baby! Mazel tov!

Bill & James have won boatloads of awards at Cannes, The One Show and every other major advertising show. This dynamic duo have more Gold Lions than anyone I’ve ever met.

I chatted with Bill in the editing room. He inspires us with his writing techniques, explains his work ethic, and shares wisdom learned while working alongside ad wizard Alex Bogusky from the his tenure at CP+B, and more. Back when I showed my boys the powerful “Truth” anti-smoking spots, I never knew I’d one day work with the man who named the campaign. Truly flattered to have Bill on the show.

Here’s the first spot I directed for them:

A look back: Adweek listed them “Top Creative Minds in Digital”.

Do rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

The Fine Art of Directing Comedians With Director Steven Feinartz.

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Director Steven Feinartz and I met as he was putting the finishing touches on his documentary about comedian Eddie Pepitone called “The Bitter Buddha”. It’s a great character study of a funny man on his own journey. Steven recently shot Eddie’s stand-up special for Netflix, so I wanted to hear how that was different from his other shoots. It’s a short chat on the sidewalk, but inspiring nonetheless. Keep an eye out for the special “Eddie Pepitone: In Ruins” starting August 7th, and keep the other eye on Steven, he’s that good.

Watch the trailer to The Bitter Buddha” and buy it:

This episode lasts a jaunty 13 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

Avoiding Creative Atrophy With Director Graeme Joyce.

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Visual storytelling requires a discerning eye and a strong point of view. My guest has that and more. I sat down with Director Graeme Joyce, whose work I’ve admired for a while now. Naturally, we talk about treatments and the state of the spot business. Graeme also gives us his two cents on why directors change production companies, the “Canon Revolution” and how to get noticed in the internet age. He also coins the phrase “creative atrophy” and avoids it at all costs. A great chat.

Enjoy Graeme’s spot we discuss for Men’s File Magazine.

My Independence As A Filmmaker With Self-Distribution.

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Creative freedom feels so good. By self-distributing my new comedy documentary “I Am Road Comic” directly to fans for $5, I’m showing the world an unfettered work. This episode is just me rambling about my grass roots strategy, and being very transparent with how the money flows. The last ten days I’ve been connecting – learning, reacting and interacting with my film’s audience. Oh, don’t fret. I’m simultaneously pursuing other outlets to bring it to the masses. Thanks in advance for your support.

I’m using two (2) turn-key sites: Gumroad and VHX. Each link is on my site, and each can host your film on a dedicated site. It gets a little nutty, and each has it’s strengths: Gumroad has a WordPress button you that makes it easy, but VHX offers PayPal. Listen and let me know what you think of the episode and the film.

Many thanks to all the comedians in the film, and the podcasters helping me spread the word. Here’s the trailer:

This episode lasts a mere 20 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

Busy Commercial Director Chris Smith Talks Repeat Business.

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Sugar.tv’s Director Chris Smith is a happy commercial director. Like myself, he loves the medium, the process and has built lasting relationships that trust him beyond compare.

We chat about conference calls, spec spots, post vfx (warning: gets very geeky and I love it!). Chris believes knowing the tools make you a better director, but warns don’t get lost in the tech. Oh yes, he loves the Artemis app.

Enjoy his funny Tropicana spot: “Nothing”

This episode lasts 64 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

What is Sound Design and Who Chose That Music? Matt Miller Explains.

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Matt Miller is a master at weaving the aural layers in our commercials and often composes original music for them too. Sound design, mixing and finding the right music are the most subjective arenas in all of advertising and Matt is one of the best. He also crafted the stellar mix for my new documentary “I AM ROAD COMIC”, which buoys my camcorder-quality filming. He explains how he put each comic on his/her own track. Insane.

We chat about truncated schedules that plague the process, how he manages a room of clients and agency folks while working, and offers advise to people that want to get into the enchanting world of audio post production. Warning: great tech talk.

Watch Matt’s favorite spot he’s worked on – already a classic. C’mon, it’s the Imperial March for crying out loud.

This episode lasts 63 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

What Does The Agency Producer Do? Mike Leary Explains.

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Mike Leary is one of the most buttoned-up agency producers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. But just what the heck does an agency producer do? For starters, the agency producer guides the matchmaking process, helping the agency creative team find the right director for their project, thus making this a must-listen episode for anyone interested in directing spots.

Mike calls making commercials the “ultimate team sport” and I agree. Our talk is too thorough of a conversation to recap. He is a filmmaker that not only respects the process, but knows it inside and out.

This episode lasts 75 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

Your Mother is A Liar Says Job Propulsion Lab’s Bart Cleveland.

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If you’re thinking about ad agency life, you need to hear this chat. Top creative Bart Cleveland cherishes seeing people succeed. Bart has always mentored his creative teams, and now he’s founded Job Propulsion Laboratory to help people entering advertising plan and manage a successful career. Oh, we also discuss that the perfect commercial is 42 seconds.

Here’s one of the kooky anti-smoking spot we did together:

This video explains the Job Propulsion Lab experience:

Bart launched “Small Agency Diary” at AdAge.com, always an interesting read.

This episode lasts 60 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

Writer/Director Bobcat Goldthwait Follows His Bliss.

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I’m a huge Bobcat Goldthwait fan for decades. First as a comedian, then as a writer/director. His diverse directorial gigs defy classification. Besides his own films, he directs “Maron”, numerous stand-up specials, helmed many a “Chappelle’s Show” sketch and hundreds of nights of “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, a multi-camera show.

This is a great episode to inspire you to toss off the shackles in your mind and chart your own course. Bobcat’s first film, “Shakes the Clown” influenced me to make a film filled with my comic friends. Imagine how delighted I was when he brought up “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler. It’s the one book I always recommend to young storytellers. Enjoy.

Watch the trailer for “Willow Creek”, in theaters and VOD June 6th…

This episode lasts 64 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

Cinematography Tips with DP Afshin Shahidi.

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DP Afshin Shahidi toured Europe with Prince. In fact, one of Afshin’s first gigs in film was a music video for his Purple Badness. Turns out, we have several mutual friends (not just Prince) that he’s shot with, so it was fun to meet via the podcast. His work speaks for itself, but we sat down for a chat nonetheless.

This episode is chalk full of tech talk and praise for collaboration. Check out this Bridgestone spot Afshin shot with Sugar director Chris Smith. It was a bonus spot. The Advil spot was shot on a stage.

From Film Fests to Spot Directing with Superlounge’s Brett Wagner.

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Brett Wagner’s short drama “Care” is a film festival fav, recently winning “Best Drama” at LA Shorts Fest. I first met Brett five years ago when it was called the LA International Short Film Festival, and his magnificent film “Chief” won Best Dramatic Short as well. He’s been steadily gobbling up awards ever since.

Brett directs commercials via Superlounge, so we naturally talk about spot making. How did he get started. Why is there no mentor program for commercials? Do short films pay off?

The trailer for “Care” is gripping; it stars “House of Cards” Rachel Brosnahan.

On the commercial front, here’s two spots that display Brett’s comedic flare:

This episode lasts 55 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

Set Yourself Free With Aaron McCann.

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Australia’s Aaron McCann is a filmmaker I discovered at a recent industry showcase held by the nice folks at SourceEcreative. He (along with his sometimes partner Henry Inglis) writes, directs and often stars in some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen. I wanted to know what it’s like directing down under, so Aaron granted me a chat. We learn his yearning for horror, his penchant for drama, and confirm that in Australia, everyone does indeed own a pet kangaroo.

Here’s the spot that introduced me to Henry & Aaron:

If my stepdaughter Gigi Feingold had not gone with me to the showcase, I’d never of met Aaron. Gigi rocks her own Youtube channel, so check her out, subscribe and show your young’ins.

This episode lasts 64 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

We’re All Normal, Right?

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Helen is sick, and I am traveling to the World Premiere of my new documentary film “I AM ROAD COMIC”, so here’s a happy track by my son Benz and Jamir “Croosh” Malik. It’s called “We’re Normal” off their “Mooky Island” mixtape. You can download it for free here.

Jamir scored original music for my film, so watch out for great things. Benz spits mad flow. I’m just so proud that these high school guys made their own product! As you know, that is what it’s all about. I’ll be back next week with more commercial filmmaking chat and great guests.

This episode lasts 3 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

What The Hell Is Video Village? I Ask VTR Matt Wallace.

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Video Village is where the ad agency and client watch the monitor while enjoying fresh ginseng smoothies. It’s also one of the nerve centers of creativity on set. I had a quick chat with VTR Operator Matt Wallace about the dynamics of the video village. Matt was great to work with and always had his head in the game.

This episode lasts 16 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

Top 5 Trade Secrets From Comedy Director Jeffrey Fleisig.

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This episode is like a Master Class for any director that aspires to shoot commercials for a living. Jeffrey Fleisig and I met while we were both on the roster at Über Content, and we instantly hit it off as friends. Professionally, I admire the subtle performances he delivers and his keen talent for crafting a great ad.

No doubt you’ve seen one of his 80-plus Progressive Insurance spots – he cast “Flo” – or his new Wendy’s commercials. We chat about the secret to longevity with a client, how to prepare for a conference call, talk a little tech talk, and yes, we moan about those pesky treatments.

These performances are so sly.

Here’s the well-crafted Axe spot we chat about:

And men getting hit in the balls for Coke Zero:

This episode lasts 55 minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

ECD Kevin Sutton Lives In Estrogen Hell. So He Wrote A Book About It.

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Fathering five daughters inspired this week’s guest, advertising guru Kevin Sutton, to write a book, “Dear Midol: Essays from Estrogen Hell”. It’s a hilarious collection of short stories, all based in truth & good parenting. Kevin is a pal and now the Executive Creative Director at Moroch Partners, a fine advertising agency.

We chat about how director’s treatments have gotten out of hand, how SAG actors rock, and we cringe over how the almighty animatic always stifles creativity. Among other stuff. Listen!

Here’s three out of nine old spots Kevin and I made for Harvest Surprise with a camcorder and a man in a carrot suit. We agree that the last one is our fav, so scroll down.


This episode lasts about an hour and twenty minutes. Please rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

Location vs. Stage, Which One Is Best?

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I’m off to NYC for a secret screening of my new film “I AM ROAD COMIC”, so this is a quickie podcast of me rambling about the benefits of shooting on a stage versus a location. And of course vice versa. Just one man’s opinions, but I hope it can help inspire you.

If you’re in NYC – click here for the ticket link. Why a secret? So I can test it with an audience before the World Premiere! Thank you Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival.

My old Quik Trip spot was shot entirely on a set, well, except for one shot:

Upcoming interviews feature The Perlorian Brothers, Australia Comedy God Arron McCann of Henry & Aaron, and author of “Dear Midol: Essays from Estrogen Hell”, Kevin Sutton. Kevin a good pal and ECD at Moroch, a fine advertising agency.

Do rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

How Do Agency Folks View Director’s Cuts? Sr. VP/ECD Ian Barry Explains.

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At age 8, second generation ad wizard Ian Barry pitched his first advertising campaign, now he’s Senior VP/Executive Creative Director at Cramer Krasselt Phoenix. We chat about how his agency chooses directors, swap stories from the trenches and he explains what a “chemistry meeting” is. After nine years and dozens of spots with this funny guy, I’m proud to call him a collaborator and friend.

Here’s just one of our award-winning comedy spots we did for Toyota:

And my director’s cut of the same spot. Why?

“Be bold and bring ideas to the table” is just one of the many nuggets I gleaned from our conversation. Have a listen and share.

Buy his brother Todd Barry’s stand-up comedy special on Louis C.K.’s website. “The Crowd Work Tour”. Todd is a fav of mine and David Letterman.

Like most, this episode lasts about an hour. Do rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

Top 5 Tips From Casting Director Danielle Eskinazi.

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Do actors really need to wear the same outfit to the callback as their first audition? How much should you fawn over the director? Hey agency folks, why did you call everyone back? Casting is always crucial, so working with a deft casting director is a must. Danielle Eskinazi is one of the best. She loves actors, exudes positivity and is always on the lookout for that unexpected way to fill the role. So flattered to chat with my friend about the process. Enjoy and share.

Danielle also has an inspirational app on the iTunes store that is as much for daily motivation as it is audition tips.

I could watch this spot all day… cuz I love shoes:

Click here to see the hilarious Stoney Westmoreland as the O’Charley’s spokespatron.

Do rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please.

What Does The Client Think? Ask Andy Baker.

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Andy Baker is SVP/Group Creative Director for the National Geographic Channels. Technically, he’s the client. He runs an in-house staff of highly creative people, so he’s also the agency. As a hands-on filmmaker, Andy shouts his mantra of collaboration from the mountain top. His must-read blog, the client blog offers insights for all. Listen as we debate his blog’s “5 tips for Clients” and talk plenty of tech. (Underwater Phantom, Techno-dolly, sandbags). Scroll down for cool videos.

National Geographic promos are brimming with creativity and flawlessly executed. Andy’s blog about his “Wicked Tuna” promo shoot with Evolve and photographer extraordinaire Michael Muller is everything you need to know on the art of pre-production.

Watch this behind the scenes of Nat Geo’s “Wicked Tuna”:

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Just look at went into making the promo for “Killing Lincoln”.

The spot we did in a more innocent time called Big Foot for National Geo. Shout out to Mr. Kenny Chin who has gone on to act a bunch.

Do rate us on iTunes and “like” us on Facebook pretty please with a cherry on top.