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What’s the best promo (commercial) you’ve seen recently and why? 

Volkswagen’s Hello Light spot really perked up my ears...and eyes. Its use of darkness and sound is so uncommercial and I love it for just that reason. Also, how it plays with stillness. 

When I dug into it and saw that it was directed by Daniel Wolfe it all made sense. It feels like we’re lost in someone’s headspace creating something new - it’s incredibly effective. 

Volkswagen – Hello Light

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What’s the first promo (commercial) you remember being impressed by? 

Romain Gavras’ Adidas All In commercial. That shit took me to a whole other level. 

I remember being in college at the time thinking to myself, I haven’t really seen this elsewhere. Walter Mauriot’s editing on that piece has stuck with me to this day and I still come back to it for that absolute frenetic build. It’s masterful how they captured that authentic, on the street perspective and mixed it with something large scale. 

Adidas – All In

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And what’s your all-time favorite music video? 

Oof, that’s a tough one. I’m going to go with Paul Thomas Anderson directed video for Radiohead’s Daydreaming. Final answer. Thom Yorke radiates so much emotion by doing so little. It consists of walking, looking and opening up doors, yet it’s infinitely rewatchable. I love the level of subtext and things happening under the surface. It really feels like here’s a person or a piece of work and if you figure out a way to crack the code and decipher it, it enriches itself to a different degree. 

Radiohead – Daydreaming

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What other directors/artists do you look to for inspiration? 

Goes without saying, Daniel Wolfe is creating some of the best commercials out there. Period. However, I really don’t look at other commercial work as inspiration. Otherwise everything just starts looking the same. That’s too easy and too accessible. 

For inspiration, I’m constantly looking at photography and film work by Trent Parke, Steve McCurry, Bruce Davidson, Elliott Erwitt and Henri-Cartier Bresson. I fill my mind with as much as I can from these artists. My favorite working director is Hirokazu Kore-eda (Shoplifters), I’m in love with how undramatic his films are--they explore life and families in such genuine ways. 

My biggest inspiration at the moment is by far animation, it has drastically changed my perspective. From the likes of Hayao Miyazaki, Makoto Shinkai and Satoshi Kon, I find the style of Japanese animation and the use of transitions so much more captivating. 

Eastern sensibilities use time and space in editing to move action forward rather than transitioning on action and movement--now I’m rambling.

What are you listening to at the moment? 

I’m actually listening to Johan Johansson’s Orphee vinyl at the moment. That man was an absolute genius, and I wish he was still around making music. However, as I write this out, I have now moved on to the Tron Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk. 

What else can I say, my music taste is all over the place. I love me some Django Reinhardt, Art Pepper, The National, Linkin Park, Bonobo, Joe Hisaishi, The Kills, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. 

What’s your favorite bit of tech, whether for professional or personal use? 

I’m actually a pretty lo-fi guy (intentional rhyme right there) and I do my best to stay off from tech when I can. I have my phone set on black and white to do so, and I still print things out so I’m not reading scripts and schedules off of a screen. Sorry trees. But if I had to answer, I’d say my little nifty Contax T3 film camera–it’s simple and efficient and can take incredible photos. Whenever I travel I take it with me and it allows me to be discreet. I can walk by people, not look through the viewfinder, and reach my hand out to get right in their world and snap a photo as we pass each other. 

What artist(s) would you most like to work with and why? 

Justice. If I could go back in time and direct their Waters of Nazareth music video I think I could die happy. There’s so much raw sound in their music. Same goes for the Glitch Mob. It kind of goes opposite to my work at the moment, but I love the kinetic raw energy of their style. I love when sounds and digital noises are strung together to create something so strong. 

I would also like to include The National in the pool. Mike Mills’ short film for the album with Alicia Vikander is so damn moving. I really admire that kind of collaboration between artists. 

How do you feel the promo industry has changed since you started in it? 

I would say it has gotten simpler to be honest. I jumped in when DSLRs were taking over and all the sudden, as a youngster myself, people had all these cheap tools to make things. I think in the commercial industry it almost broke some systems. Some companies were going under, some were trying to throw everything at the wall to see what stuck, trying new digital sides of their companies and all that jazz. It was really strange to see how many people didn’t really know what was going on as I was coming in as a young director. 

Now, I think people have a much better feel for it, and even client direct work, agency direct work, all that stuff is starting to feel pretty normal and people now have a way of tackling it in a way that truly makes sense. 

Where do you see the music video industry being in five years’ time? 

Music videos are a little harder to judge. I think there will always be a need and desire for them. It is a way for directors and people who are just starting out to experiment, and also a way for artists to show their personality through visuals. There’s endless innovation that can be done in a music video format, so as technology evolves so will the format in new ways.

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

When I was just starting out I had my own gear and was taking on small odd jobs for money, one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done was film a funeral. Yeah. Don’t ever do that. 

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