At the Meet the Nominees for Commercial Direction Symposium at the DGA’s Los Angeles Theater Two on January 23rd, former Commercials Award winner David Cornell moderated a discussion on the work of the nominees. With four of the five nominees on hand — Matthijis van Heijningen was unable to attend — DGA National Vice President Vincent Misiano welcomed Fredrik Bond, John X. Carey, Noam Murro and Martin de Thurah.
The event included a screening of the nominated commercial spots followed by a frank discussion with the nominees on their working philosophies, war stories from the set, and the importance of having a great AD. Six-time nominee Frederick Bond began the talk by stressing trust between his creative team and their client in directing a spot for Heineken that was “As much fun to make as it looks,” all the while wrangling “extras and elephants.”
First-time nominee John X. Carey called his spot for Dove, which has reached over 62 million views on YouTube, “The little film that could,” and revealed he didn’t know if the concept—women blindly describing themselves to a sketch artist who cannot see them—would work as he feared, “If we faked anything, the audience would figure it out.”
Cornell lauded the “poetic and startling…visual imagery” of Martin de Thurah’s spots for Acura and Hennessy after the director claimed he was going for a “buffet of images.” De Thurah applauded the hard work of his crew under pressure, saying “The rain was so intense, but the Assistant Directors helped improvise with close-ups and didn’t give up. You just have to get it done.”
For his spot for DirecTV chronicling the quest for peace and quiet for the husband of the old woman who lived in the shoe, Noam Murro hoped for it to look “…timeless and romantic…you can look at it in a couple years and it’s still okay.”
Casting was a major topic of discussion in what Cornell called “the silent movie business,” as was the absolute importance of having reliable assistant directors and crews surrounding them. To close, Noam Murro said of Assistant Directors, “They are the ones who make it happen with their pragmatism and understanding of characters and politics. They are really heroes.”
Written by Kent Ochse