- I think the key to producing a successful piece of short form content is to make sure what the key message is, and everything is a slave to that. And that's a beauty and a curse, cause it sounds really easy to do, but it's incredibly difficult. - First question I ask a client, what is the goal of this product? That's gonna, every decision I make is gonna be based on that. - They know their business, they know their objectives, they know the strategy, they know what they need. - And sometimes you gotta read between the lines.
People are not technical, they're not filmmakers, they're not storytellers, they're business people. So my job is to figure out how to take their goal and translate that onto video in the time and resources that we have. - For me, the most challenging part of commercials will always be finding that meeting point of marketing and creativity, I guess. Because you're absolutely fooling yourself if you're making these commercials because you wanna be an artist and you want to express yourself.
There should always be an underlying marketing reason for why you're making a commercial. - Make sure you know who your target audience is, and make sure that however you slant the language, the characters in it, that that is all driving and will resonate with the consumer. I try, in every piece of short-form content to have some kind of a beginning, middle, and an end, so that it will resonate with the audience, and they'll be able to identify in some way. So I think that's really important, in these 15 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute, to try and maintain that narrative.
Otherwise, for me, what's the takeaway? - I think once you make clients all feel comfortable, I think you'll have more willingness to be able to be more, willing to be able to stretch that creativity. - My biggest challenge in my job, in a lot of ways, is to convince clients that they can be better, and what they're willing to do, and what they're willing to put out there should be the best that it absolutely can be. And to try new ideas and new approaches, and to embrace newer media and shorter forms and all that kind of stuff.
I mean, there's a million things I try to convince them. - When it comes to commercials, I like the fact that you can shop around multiple different ideas for a brief, and kind of do something really out of the box, throw that at a client, and something in the middle, and then something more safe. And I love it when they go for the more out of the box ideas. - It is very creative. It doesn't always seem like it's creative, but you can be as creative as you wanna be in anything that you're doing. And that's how I choose to look at it.
And if it's selling a Toyota, or it's selling whatever, car insurance, I look at everything as a creative process, and I try to be as open to it as possible, and I try to bring my best to it. - Working with clients, it can be kind of limiting, because everybody's always a slave to somebody, so it goes on up the chain. - It's like you, the director, the agency, the client, and within the client, there's different levels of approval there. So there's a lot of voices.
- I firmly believe that it's a singular view that makes a creative project really good. And the reality of working in a corporate environment is that there are many stages of approvals. And, oh, I'm sure so many other editors have had this experience before, where you get okay, okay, okay, no, do it again, you go back down to the bottom of the list, and suddenly it's like, no, I don't like it, I don't like, it, I don't like it, go again.
And in those power structures, where there are so many levels of approval, and you could get to the top, and be just thrown back down to the bottom, you often find that that original kernel of an idea is just lost. - It's often very democratic, so I'm constantly fighting to make sure that the overall idea, the concept that was approved is maintained, and it's not so watered down that it loses its power. - You're kind of at the whim of what the client wants, because you want the client to be happy. - Sometimes you find yourself dealing with people in marketing who just say things like, "You know, we've gotta flash up the product "as big as possible on the screen, "and I want you to say the product's name three time," and you're like, well, how is that gonna convince somebody that they need to buy your product or not, you know? My job is to persuade people, and I don't think a big shot of your product and naming it three time is gonna persuade people.
They might remember your product, but they won't remember whether they need it or not. - It can be more challenging. You know, you cut something you consider a super artistic, creative commercial, and then the client comes back and says, "Well, we need more of our product branding "in the commercial. "Like, we need a shot of our product right here." And you think to yourself, well, that makes no story sense. Like, you're ruining our artistic vision here. But ultimately, there's kinda nothing you can do about it. Like, you just sort of have to say, okay, I hear you, let me make that shot as artistic as I possibly can.
- If somebody says to you, "Can you do this?" And in your heart, you don't want to, in that corporate environment, you have to sort of embrace that as much as possible, and make it work because you always wanna put the best thing up on the screen rather than the worse thing. So you've gotta find a way of working within that structure, I guess. - When you work on corporate projects, you are getting paid to learn. Presumably you know something that you know, but each time you expand your reach a little bit more, each time you break out a new piece of gear, or try a new style of production you haven't styled before, and being able to one-by-one work in a dolly shop, now I'm learning how do to dollies, so slider shots.
Working with the fog machine, now I'm learning how that applies or where it can be applied. So, things like that I love. It gives me a chance to experiment. You're getting paid to do that. So I've learned a lot of things, and improved my skills, and gotten paid at the same time, which is very different than doing a short project, coming out of pocket, with your time and energy. So that's what I love most about the commercial projects. - They have also like a very compressed time frame usually. So I kind of like that about them. You sort of get in, do all the work that you can, and then get out.
So that's kinda fun, but also sort of challenging about them, because if you're only given two days to cut a commercial, sometimes they end up being really long days, so. It's a give and take in that situation. Like, I like them, but sometimes it's like, if I'm doing a commercial, I know that that week I'm working on it, that's gonna be the only thing that's going on, because it's a little crazy. - You've just got this very short, succinct edit, that's very easy to review as well because, you know, when you wanna review a commercial, you finish reviewing it in 30 seconds, basically.
And you're sort of going did it work or doesn't it? Whereas, with long form, you wanna review something, you're sitting down for 60 minutes. Well, 60 minutes at least, and you sorta go, oh, I think there was a part about 23 minutes in where it sort of lost its way a bit. Whereas, with commercials, it's just really fast. Did that work, yes or no? I'll know in 30 seconds.
- Advice for novice filmmakers entering the industry
- Finding, enhancing, and tweaking your story
- Experimenting in filmmaking
- Solving problems and troubleshooting your film
- Changing your approach or finding new angles
- Communicating and collaborating on set and in the edit room—and with clients
- Working on different genres of film
- Teaching and mentoring new filmmakers