Well, I'm back.

A seven-day shoot.

Completely knackered. Watching a film crew lift heavy pieces of equipment can really tire a man out.

As I haven't really written that much on my blog about the actual shooting of adverts, maybe now is an appropriate time to start.

And where better to begin than with the Director?


Creatives obsess about directors. I think that's because we know it's the director who has the biggest influence on the final ad. And whereas we can't choose our account team, client, or creative director... we do get to choose our director.

It's partly fear too. A script - like architects' plans and mathematical formulae - is perfect, in the way that no finished artefact can be. When you hand your script to a director, you are handing it to the man who turns your perfect Euclidean construct into rough-and-tumble reality. Of course, sometimes they'll make it better than the blueprint. But the fear that they'll cock it up is always there.

Over the years I've noticed that it doesn't really matter if you and the director have wildly divergent personalities. As long as you have the same vision for the ad, you'll probably get on well.

If you do fight a lot then A) you probably picked the wrong director and B) you probably won't end up with a good ad.

It's a strange relationship though. The director has ultimate power on the set. 50 or so people jump to their commands. And yet if the creative says "can we try it this other way...?" then they kind of have to listen. But you feel guilty. It's like giving orders to an emperor.

There's a lot of mystique around directors. Who's on the way up, who's on the way down. Who flies a runner from Iceland down to Soho to bring back a certain coffee bean for him. Who's shagging who, who's earning how much, who's moving production companies, who can't get work any more, who's getting 50 scripts a week.

Most of it's hearsay. I once thought of setting up a website - Ratemydirector.com - where creatives could log in to give anonymous feedback on the man behind the camera.

Until then, I'm happy to give this feedback in public:

Simon Ratigan of HLA has done a great job for us so far.

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