Moments after we wrapped on Friday, I grabbed Art Director Drew Wright and Copywriter Nick Marine for a mini-interview. Both are Associate Creative Directors at Doner Detroit. They’re a newly conjoined creative team, and it’s already crystal clear that it’s a great fit, given the way they crank out quality scripts that sell. I’m grateful for their oddball minds as well as their friendship.
I got to edit with Tessa Davis earlier this year at Cosmo Street, and she had all the best takes picked out & finessed into a perfect cut long before I could park the car. Editors have commented on the shortened turnaround time but she explains how she’s adapted. And after the many versions of a spot, which one ends up on air? You may be surprised.
We also chat about women in film, the Glamour Magazine short films done by celebrity female filmmakers and this great Canon short: When You Find Me trailer. Long form is a relative term. I love this two minute piece she edited for HTC with Robert Downey Jr. (see above).
Here’s the EPK Tessa conceptualized, directed and edited. CROWN EPK
The Production Designer runs the Art Department, and is responsible for fabricating the Director’s dream into a physical world to be filmed. Top Production Designer Evan Rohde does this magically, and it’s a privilege to work with him.
We chat right after wrapping a long day. He explains his dual roles as both a creative collaborator and fiscally responsible department head. I marvel at Evan’s creativity and love how he incorporates digital design plans to show me what he’s bringing to life.
Here’s his music video for Coldplay:
Click Evan Rohde to see his Emmy-Award winning spot for Sunday Night Football.
Part two of my enlightening conversation with production genius Ron Hacohen. Why is it harder to break into directing if your female or a minority? Ron explains he’s actually a “production consultant”. He strives to inform clients of the process, because of the increased efficiencies. We end the talk with his advice for people breaking into commercial directing.
Today, Ron is a Brand Executive Producer/Consigliere at Advertising Production Resources (APR), the fabulous consultancy that helps clients understand the advertising process. He introduces me to the RACI system of accountability, approval and efficiency. Some trippy stuff that shows us how advertising is a small part of the client’s marketing plan, and production a sliver of that. Learn what a SME is. Answer: Subject Matter Expert.
Here’s a spot we did way back in the day.
This is part two of a lengthy conversation we had about the advertising business. It’s a must-listen for anyone breaking into the advertising business.
Ron Hacohen taught me how to be a commercial director, back when he was my Executive Producer at HKM productions, and his Bravo Zulu. Besides being one of the funniest people I know, he’s extremely production savvy, having risen through the ranks of production to run his own shop. He’s a former President of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers’ prestigious West Coast chapter, and when it comes to production, he’s done it all.
Today, Ron is a Brand Executive Producer/Consigliere at Advertising Production Resources (APR), the fabulous consultancy that helps clients understand the advertising process.
We chat about his transition to what some in production call “The Dark Side”, and I learn it’s so much more than you think. Ron preaches transparency and collaboration, and has even shared this very podcast with clients so they better understand what we in production do.
This is part one of a lengthy conversation we had about the advertising business. It’s a must-listen for anyone breaking into the advertising business.
How the multi-talented Jeannette Godoy came to spot directing is quite a fascinating tale. She’s worked on set as a choreographer, a wardrobe stylist, a production designer and even a dialect coach. Then she turned her talents to directing, and was shortlisted at Cannes and plucked for Shoot Magazine’s New Director Showcase for her very first spot. Jeannette brings a warmth and humanity to her work that takes even seasoned directors years to convey.
We talk about how to break into the business, as well as the challenges of being a female in a male-dominated field. And of course we discuss her award-winning documentary, “Free 2 Be Me”, about young dancers with Down Syndrome. It’s a 30 minute film you can watch for free, by clicking the title.
Here’s here Bridgestone commercial that started it all:
Michelle Eskin, Partner and Managing Director of Cut + Run has built a creative oasis in Santa Monica. We chat about the importance of setting the tone for doing great work. Despite how the editorial business has changed, she and her editors, effects artists and staff remain cheerful and positive. It’s a real treat to edit there. Young editors listen up.
Here’s my Dodge spot for Doner Detroit starring Texas playboy Richard Rawlings:
Truly one of the great comedy minds of our time, director Adam McKay has again used his powers for the betterment of mankind. He’s created a magical land inhabited by multi-colored Alpacas who love lollipops and rainbows, to teach us about the growing divide in wealth distribution. It’s called “Unbelievably Sweet Alpacas”. Just one of 20 short films for Morgan Spurlock’s “We The Economy” project.
It’s voiced by a winning trifecta of comedy talent: Sarah Silverman, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph. NPR Host & economist Adam Davidson advised. Cinelan Managing Partner David Laks offers a pre-interview interview, explaining the program. Documentarian Miao Wang made a short docu about Chinese factories in South Carolina that must be seen. She’s in the roundtable with Adam McKay. Damon Smith, Supervising Producer, Cinelan is the moderator.
Big “thank you to the SideShow Network.
Click the links and watch with the kids, like I did.
Top shelf composers, songwriters, lyricists Andrew Feltenstein & John Nau own Beacon Street Studios in Venice, California. They’re the go-to guys for any musical genre, but certainly have made a name scoring for “Funny Or Die” titans Adam McKay and Will Ferrel. Credits include “Anchorman 2″, “The Spoils of Babylon” and more.
Andrew and I chat about the process of scoring commercials, inspiration, late hours and how playing the music straight buoys the comedy.
Watch the trailer for “Casa de mi Padre”, a favorite Will Ferrell film. Buy the soundtrack today!
The “Dumb Starbucks” episode of Comedy Central’s “Nathan For You” is an instant classic. Michael Koman is what we call the “showrunner” for the series. Along with co-creator and star Nathan Fielder, Michael leads the writers to invent bits, executes them and then deals with the network. It’s a laborious task steeped in creativity. Mr. Koman’s comedy pedigree includes “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, “Eagleheart” and “Important Things with Demetri Martin.”
My dear pal, director/showrunner Michael Addis conducts the interview, the first in a series of “Showrunner” chats. Mr. Addis was my esteemed guest back in January 2013 on this very podcast. Here’s the episode link: Hidden Camera with Michael Addis
Watch this if you’ve not seen the show. Genius.
Writer/Director Theodore Melfi has been making commercials and indie films for a decade. So when he nabbed Bill Murray for the starring role of his script, he was more than ready to deliver. Listen to this great casting tale, his hanging with Jack Nicholson, and how his real life inspired his script that he hand-wrote in four weeks. I’ve known Theodore since he started directing, and he’s as genuine a man as he is talented.
“St. Vincent” opens in LA & NYC on October 10th, then goes wide October 24th. Watch the trailer and go opening night in your city! Take the family!
He’s launched his own production company, Brother. Check it out. Here’s one of many spot I love from Ted:
As a director, I’m hired by advertising agencies of all sizes. Some are huge, part of a global conglomerate, while others are nimble shoppes, but equally as creative. The big agencies are always in the trades, pitching and winning even bigger clients. But I wondered how these smaller agencies got their work. So I traveled to Austin, Texas to the Ad Age Small Agency Conference and chatted with a few attendees. Massive thank you to AdAge.com for having me.
Sitting in on the opening presentation was fascinating. “Hypertelling” was Google Head of Brand Strategy & Insights Eric Solomon’s take on how brands need to be responsive and interactive storytellers. Cool case studies. Eric urges agencies to push the boundaries of what is possible with storytelling in today’s ever-evolving digital landscape.
Then I chatted with Brian Pettigrew from TVGla, Doug Gelfand & Kelly Parriott from the Rally Group in Denver, Darrell Allen from Total Online Marketing, and finally Brett Tesmer from LRXD. All great people. Thanks!
Hear why David Fincher, J.J. Abrahms and myself use Green Screen Animals. Simple: Mark Shockley and his animal-loving crew shoot all kinds of creatures on green screen, and then license the footage to you. Best of all, they treat the beasts like the divas that they are. Mark only works with trainers and handlers that share his compassion for all living things.
Having worked with animals on set, I can attest that the time and money his footage saves production is well-worth it. You’ll also discover the key to working with animals: clear communication. Enjoy spots with GSA’s stars below.
Reggie Watts for “Click Clean”:
A behind the scenes, we always love those:
For decades, the inspired and hilarious short films of Saturday Night Live have been the highlight of show. So what a treat to talk with Adam Epstein, the SNL film unit editor that pulls it all together, literally overnight. We chat about workflow, turnaround, teamwork and the amazing talent both in front of and behind the camera of your favorite digital shorts. Check the links or click on his name above if you want to laugh along with top-quality films that spoof pop culture, all executed with deft aplomb and in brilliant detail.
Tom Lowe is an experienced line producer who produced a few of my epic Dodge spots for the Doner Agency this summer. Naturally, we chat about the creative problem solving the line producer brings to the shoot. His advice to new directors is invaluable. The first half of this engaging, tech-filled interview, we focus on Tom’s stunning photography exhibit running now through September 14th, 2014 at the G2 Gallery on Abbot Kinney in Venice, California. Hurry in! Click the G2 link to RSVP to the reception Friday, September 5th from 6:30pm to 9pm.
Scroll down and marvel at a few Tom’s shots and the spots we talk about. Oh, I reveal my approach to a conference call, rant against two cameras and praise my fellow filmmakers.
Tom’s Honda spot he produced for Fred Savage:
Comedian Steve Hofstetter produces a stand-up comedy show for FOX. The show is called “Laughs” and it airs Saturday nights. Steve is busy fulfilling his order for the series. Bravo, I say. I met Steve through director/producer Dane Hanson and marveled at how they’re pulling the show together.
Here’s the extended promo for the show that Steve directed:
Dane’s short that introduced me to his nutty genius.
Judd Minter is one of my buddies off set. On set, he’s an attentive, detailed-oriented hair & make up artist at the top of his game. He has an acute awareness of not just the “looks” of the characters he creates, but also of the days’ schedule and comedic tone of the commercial we are shooting. Thusly, I consider Judd a valuable member of the filmmaking team.
This episode also debuts my son Jake Brady’s “Movie Moment”. Who has time for an entire review? Jake boils down a film to one instance. Kudos Jake.
Heres’ the Quik Trip spot I did, for which Judd shaved a 10 year old boy’s head.
Director Michael Patrick Jann brilliantly draws an analogy between directing and the art of ancient Chinese calligraphy. This is a must-listen episode.
Michael knows comedy. Straight from film school to directing MTV’s “The State”, then onto “Reno 911″ and countless commercials, he’s been directing the funny non-stop for 15 years. Today, Michael is an accomplished director of single camera tv comedies, and a go-to guy to shape many a network’s pilot episode. His new series “A to Z” debuts this October on NBC.
We talk about shooting pilots, the joy of winning commercials and the fickle nature of making movies. I wish I’d had this chat 15 years ago, I’d be a way better director. Enjoy.
Click Community Films to see his spots and a “Flight of the Conchords” video I love.
We stray from spot-making, but you’ll love my chat with Kris Tinkle. He’s hilarious and was determined to put out another comedy CD of all-new material. And I got to help, respecting the process of great recording and well-honed material.
Kris’ story is that of yet another artist taking charge and making things happen. Oh, and shout out to Pro Wrestler Colt Cabana and his “The Wrestling Road Diaries Too”. This is a great documentary Kris turned me onto, like “I Am Road Comic” with tights and body slams.
This episode is about 36 minutes.
The Perlorian Brothers make comedy spots that I wish I’d made. Admittedly, I was giddy interviewing the dynamic directing duo from the Great White North, because I’ve held them in such high regard since I began, and because Canadians are genetically funnier than most. Ian Letts and Michael Gelfand sat down with me at the noisy airport cafe to discuss how they make the magic.
Ian and Michael started as agency creatives, and offer up great advice for creatives choosing a director. We chat about finding the humanity amidst the absurdity, casting, and sometimes subverting the process if it’s getting in the way of greatness.
Here’s a sampling of their work we talk about: