What’s the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently? 

I have to go with an involuntarily global campaign that took the world by storm in February, creating millions of dollars in earned media, using only a half-empty warehouse and some oversized rental props. I’m talking about the Willy Wonka exhibit in Glasgow, the only funny thing that happened this year. I love that the silver lining of this debacle was the fact that it catapulted the careers of the three actors who endured the worst job of their lives, turning them into bona fide TikTok stars. I see this as a triumph for the little guy.

What website(s) do you use most regularly? 

Every morningI browse Feedly, a news aggregator that shows me custom updates on politics, tech and culture. It’s an amazing way to escape algorithms and connect with what human news editors find relevant, versus what garnered more engagement that day.

What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought? 

There is a saying in our industry: Buying a PlayStation is the director’s cry for help. Although this is mostly true, in my case, I’m researching horror video games for a film screenplay. How's that for a fancy excuse? Even if it's costing me some hours of sleep, I’m gaming for the first time, and discovering first-hand why video games are the form of entertainment of the future. Playing Alan Wake II really makes movies feel like an artifact from the past. But I still love the past!

What product could you not live without? 

Undoubtedly, ChatGPT from OpenAI has been a revelation. I've never integrated a new tool into my workflow so seamlessly in such a short amount of time. Despite all the discussion around generative AI's output, its role in empowering processes remains the least talked about. I'm ready to debate anyone who sees this technology's impact as solely negative. I may not believe in what AI can create for us (right now, it is very low quality), but I do see it as a powerful human creativity multiplier. I use ChatGPT daily for research and to connect the dots in my own thinking.

What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?

So many good movies last year! I'll go with one that offers a brilliant commentary on the attention economy and the advertising industry: Kristoffer Borgli's Dream Scenario. This movie is the best piece of 'cringecore' since Triangle of Sadness, and I believe it stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of the Charlie Kaufman/Spike Jonze collaborations of the past.  

What film do you think everyone should have seen? 

When I was eight-years-old, my parents took me to the paediatrician because I was obsessed with Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, to the point of wearing out the VHS tape we had at home. I still swear by this passion. Labyrinth is the most daring expression of medieval-glam-rock-fairytale-chic in film history. I don’t understand how people go about their lives having never experienced it. To those who live in the grim reality of ignoring Labyrinth, I implore: please wake up from your slumber.

What’s your preferred social media platform? 

If you ask anyone living abroad, they’ll tell you the unsung hero of social networks is WhatsApp. This app is how I keep in touch with my family and friends worldwide. Having experienced life before WhatsApp, I can affirm it's the piece of software that has had the most impact on my social relationships in my lifetime. It is perhaps the only social network I use without guilt. 

What’s your favourite TV show? 

When we insist on diversity as a strength, and how underrepresented perspectives can invigorate an old genre, we're referring to the kind of work Issa López did in the fourth season of True Detective. It's the best show of the year so far. The online backlash she faced only underscores this point. 

What’s your favourite podcast? 

Here's a shameless plug: You Are Not Gonna Make It is a new podcast I'm hosting, produced by Helen Fernandez, about navigating the reality behind our career expectations. I sit down with successful people to peel back the layers of their Instagram-perfect lives and celebrate the low points of their careers in a quest to find out what “making it” really means. It's launching next month... keep an eye out for more details by following me on Instagram

What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently? 

Thirty-six years ago, the world’s most extraordinary artists of their time got together to create an amusement park in Hamburg. Among the many who participated, Jean-Michel Basquiat designed a Ferris wheel inspired by themes from his work. Keith Haring created a carousel, and Salvador Dali crafted a trippy mirror dome. After its dazzling debut, Luna Luna changed hands and became entangled in legal troubles, resulting in the artwork being stored away in shipping containers, gathering dust for decades. The story took a turn a few years back when the exhibit was rescued and brought to LA for restoration. A team of curators and art restorers revived it, and it's now on display here in LA. I can’t recommend it more; it’s a beautiful time machine.

If you could only listen to one music artist from now on, who would it be?

Just to double down on my film answer, I’ll go with David Bowie. He has the most perfect career as an artist – enough amazing songs to spend a lifetime listening to. 

If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be? 

The risk in a data-driven economy is that it might overlook the human element. Algorithms are great at identifying what people want, but fall short in innovating the next cool thing. The result is that our industry has forgotten the art of human risk-taking. I feel that advancements in AI will deepen this trend, making everything increasingly generic. But I believe there's hope! As AI becomes the norm, it will prompt a rediscovery and newfound appreciation for human creativity. Intuition and emotion will grow increasingly valuable in the coming decade. The 'human-made' label could become as common as 'organically grown' in supermarkets today. 

Who or what has most influenced your career? 

The democratisation of tools that happened in this century has been the most significant influence on my career.  I'm a child of Moore's Law. The only reason I managed to succeed as a self-taught filmmaker was due to the drop in the cost-performance ratio of computing. My first film camera was a PC webcam in 1998. Then, in the early 2000s, professional digital cameras got cheap enough that I could afford to shoot with them and learn from the experience. I am part of the first generation of directors who had access to enough internet bandwidth to distribute their work online and get attention all over the world. I can feel it happening again with AI. In five years, we won't recognise filmmaking. 

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know. 

When it rains, my cat blames it on me. I handle the situation by offering a combination of wet food and belly rubs.