The ad film director.
That’s a special breed.
They come in different forms and varied functions.
They come with piercings, Stetsons, thick beards, pink pants, shades to match, funky gadgets, bald heads and occasionally, attitude to boot.
The elusive director.
Forever busy, forever waiting on the side lines or forever on the brink. In advertising, it’s a fragile game to be a director.
You are creative but have a noose around your neck that could get tightened anytime.
You are creative, but have to toe the line with your expression.
You are creative and have parameters to follow and things to sell and communication to get done.
This isn't your playground entirely and yet you have to master the art of making it just that.
You are allowed to bark but not bite.
You are allowed to value-add but not value-delete.
When you start your journey as an ad film director your body may have to be a bit crouched.
When you manage to do a few things that are accepted as good craft, you can then clear your throat and speak louder.
And if you manage to consistently deliver good work, you automatically straighten your back and occasionally speak gibberish. Magically, even that gets understood.
As an established director you are the king of your jungle.
You walk and everyone is aware. That could be a lot of pressure sometimes.
What spills out of your mouth gets lapped up and swallowed and regurgitated a million times by everyone around you.
Your treatment of anything becomes the holy grail and the army behind you is waiting for your command.
Your power has the opposite sex fluttering and people scurry in your presence.
You wield a power that’s special because you could axe and chop and mix and scramble anything to make a hash of it or a dish of it.
The director is a lovable beast. He laughs loud and sometimes laughs longer than the rest and cracks the most inane jokes. He comes in different avatars. He can be shy and silent, strong and confident and there will always be someone who loves him no matter what.
You could hate him too but definitely cannot ignore him.
Prior to making a film, he carries a vision of something that the rest can only try to see.
He spends his energies trying to make everyone around him see from his retina and focus through his cornea and hear through his cochlea.
His longevity lies in his endurance and in how he masters the technique of delivering good work with the same consistency and passion, with the most mundane scripts and the most brilliant ones.
He must want to smash past his own milestones and stay ahead of his own curve.
He must feel a tad insecure and jealous too, for him to navigate through life.
He must thirst newness and want to reinvent himself.
He must feel angst and deep sorrow and throbbing pain to make him more compassionate and more human. He is a sensitive person, emotional and strong all at once. He can make you laugh or cry or think because he connects deeply with himself and he can take you to those crevices in your mind that you never experienced before, through his craft. That could be the power of a director.
Alternatively he could be the kind of director who easily skims and slides and dodges everyone and everything to have a career snipped sooner than later.
A director must learn tact. He must be a negotiator, a counselor, a friend and a teacher.
He must be an architect, designer, musician, magician, photographer and artist all at once.
That’s a tall order but one that should come naturally.
The director is pardoned if he lives in his own bubble or is occasionally lost in thought and disconnected.
Back to earth now all you gloating directors.
I may have glorified you a little too much here but this is only to help you see that in you, lies tons of potential.
The director has a tool that can transform the way we see and the things we see.
So rise above mediocrity oh ye Direttore! (To be said with an Italian or Malayali accent).
Please feast our senses with films that keep us longing for more.
P.S.: Pardon the use of the gender: ‘he’ referring to the creative person / director. It is only in reference not in deference.
(The author is executive producer / partner at Nirvana Films. Views expressed are personal.)