October 20, 2014 at 11:17AM

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Ad-agency Directors...

There are alot of ad-agencys who have there own stable of directors, how do they come around to hire these directors?

As much as I love film Im really interested in commercials, music videos and content shorts... But how does one get into that business?

If I wanted to work my way up in such a company how would I start since they all seem to freelance or something like that...

17 Comments

Check out your local news station see if they are hiring commercial producers. if you have a good reel and are able to write a script you should be able to get a job.

October 20, 2014 at 5:25PM

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Michael Militscher
Director / Commercial Producer
2492

Commercial producers for news stations? Is that even a thing? News and commercial... Sounds strange.

Viktor Ragnemar

October 21, 2014 at 4:02AM

Yea it's a thing. News station produce their own commercials and promotions.

Michael Militscher

October 24, 2014 at 2:44PM

It is a thing. Can confirm, I am a commercial producer.

Carlos Malache

January 2, 2015 at 6:26PM, Edited January 2, 6:26PM

To get a better idea of what goes on with filming and producing commercials, you should check out the excellent podcast by Ron Small called "SpotCast", where Ron interviews some famous and not so famous film-makers that produce commercials. There are 13 episodes on his website. ( also available on iTunes )

http://www.swayproductions.com/spotcast/spotcast.html

October 20, 2014 at 5:42PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30979

Thanks alot for the tip!

Since I spend most of my days listening to podcasts anyway this is great.

Viktor Ragnemar

October 21, 2014 at 4:03AM

They question is also, how do "they" go about getting directors in there stable?

October 21, 2014 at 7:30AM, Edited October 21, 7:30AM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1117

They watch a lot of videos (or their assistants do) and then make calls.

John Morse

October 21, 2014 at 2:50PM

So I guess that sending in reels is the way to go and hope for the best.

October 22, 2014 at 3:46AM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1117

As a commercial director I can give you the following advice/insight:

- My own path came through working my way up the ladder inside a commercial production company, starting as a PA, transitioning over to editing inhouse (up to broadcast spots), while pitching ideas to my producers for more open projects - meaning, projects that didn't come through an agency looking for a specific director. I had a lot of luck in landing a rather big first commercial and have been working as a director ever since. It's still an uphill battle that requires lots of patience, luck and resilience.

- Go to a filmschool that specializes in commercial directing. Ludwigshafen in Germany is putting out fantastic new young directors each year. Some of them go on to great careers. but there's no sure shot.

- Direct a great music video/short film. Do it over and over again until people start noticing you. Then you talk to agents/production companies for representation and try to land jobs that way.

- Or go work as a creative (art director or copywriter) in an ad agency. This is not the normal path, but I've met a good amount of directors who came through such a path. This path has the advantage of knowing the business inside out, of having all the contacts established already and maybe being able to bring a client with you. Which is what opens almost any door.

- Create your own production company. Get all the work you can, produce/direct as much as possible. This is unlikely to land you in the big leagues, but there's tons of work out there and you can make a good amount of money while directing things, since you own the company producing it.

All in all; it's a tough business, and has increasingly become tougher. Everyone and their mother see themselves as a commercial director, and it takes a lot more than just a good reel to succeed. Timing, luck, contacts, a good mentor, the willingness to live a cheap life for a good while, the ability to put your own ego aside (the client/agency has the last word, always, even if they're wrong)…

Good luck!

October 22, 2014 at 9:22AM

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Elias Ressegatti
Director
270

Hey, I do commercials and branded content for fashion and lifestyle brands to pay the bills. I worked my way up, and built a network with people in those industries, made sure my work was relevant outside of that scene. I made contacts at major and minor and started pitching myself and my work. An off the wall idea got me a car spot and I've just been hammering away ever since.

October 22, 2014 at 11:27PM, Edited October 22, 11:27PM

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Chris Reed
Director
93

I work in an ad-agency now doing alot of corporate in-house work, most of it with a sort of documentary-style. I have also shot a short movie which I'm editing now. Before that I did some two music videos by myself and produced one more high end... I also worked as a camera assistent on some big brands, so it feels like I want to step up a notch.

Of course I don't think that will be an easy task but it I'm trying to figure out a way to go about that.

So let's say I wanted to go along as an AD.. Does that usually happen via a production company or do you contact directors personally?

I feel I have a good understanding about most of the stuff on a set, the problem is that most of the stuff I work on now don't have the budget or resources to produce AS HIGH a standard as I want to work with.

October 23, 2014 at 5:21AM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1117

To be an AD you have to start as a PA and work your way up the production department, taking some no-pay or low pay side jobs to jump up. I worked as a PA for a bit more then a year then started PMing and rolled that in AD and Producer roles a few years down the line. Its been 10 years since my first job on set, I started directing last year.

Locally I hire ADs that I know from working my way up, people I trust and get a long with. If I'm traveling and can't bring one of my normal ADs I hire off the recommendation of a trusted local crew member such as a DP.

When I make my choice I make it partially off of personality (I need some one I can trust and get along with) and partially off of experience. In that realm I chose people who have worked their way up over those who have spent time in film school.

Chris Reed

October 23, 2014 at 3:26PM, Edited October 23, 3:26PM

i used to be in the television industry for a few years until i became a photo assistant for a one of the best photographers in the world for 3 years.
With him i've experience dealing with the commercial process and also meeting very important people in the industry. The art buyers, agents, stylists, AD, CD, even other assistants. They are all important. Make friends. Be nice to everyone.
He told me one PA from 20 years ago on a nike job is now an AD for Louis Vuitton.
Another fitness magazine editor became a AD for david yurman.

i was also privileged to use the studio and eq to create my own work and portfolio in a 6k sq ft studios.
I met many people, seen the smallest editorials 7k budget to the largest ads 1mil and learned how to work and accomodate all different scales and personalities.

After i graduated as 1st assistant. I made many contacts with people ive met during shoots. Since he was a still photographer it didnt conflict with his business.
Since they are familiar with my capabilities,
His agents now call and book me to shoot videos together with their other photographers as well.
If there are clients that are interested in his style but cannot afford it budget wise, they are often referred to me.

i now work with the film crew that became good friends with while i was working for my teacher. if the jobs goto them, they call me. if the jobs come to me for directing, i hire them.

I know we all want to make our OWN films, but if you are passionate and get yourself involved with others, even working for somebody can give you the joy of creating along with experience that will take you years to even be considered.

Do a lot of test shoots! make a lot of friends. Not to use them, but so you have friends who can recognize your work. I've met my wife who is a union MUA on set shooting a Dos Exxis commercial.

If you really want to get into the commercial industry, you need to familiarize yourself with it.
I strongly recommend assisting. I started as a self taught shooter. i was never properly taught but observed, immitated, then put my own twist and touch to it. Now it has become my style.

not only for commercial but i think this applies for movie as well.
That's my ultimate goal and ive been volunteering/interning time to time on real union feature jobs even tho i am a constant working commercial filmmaker.

good luck. The real wise man is the man who can admit to what he does not know and is not willing to ask for help

October 24, 2014 at 12:34AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1328

Thanks Kazu! Really nice of you to write such an long message...

If I may ask, how did you land the job with the photographer to begin with?

Thanks a lot for the wise words!

Viktor Ragnemar

October 28, 2014 at 6:35AM

sorry i meant *willing to ask for help*

October 24, 2014 at 12:48AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1328

Hi Viktor, most production companies get pitched hundreds of reels a week so it can be a slow process.
But, if you're into music videos, or you'd like to make more, Radar can formally introduce you to top production reps from Kode, Partizan, Chief, Black Dog etc once you've made some films via our platform and achieved Headhunted status. This might be a shortcut for you. It's free to join Radar Music Videos too! http://www.radarmusicvideos.com

Also: my top tip - get featured by Curators as they watch blogs, sites and forums for emerging talent.
And this post may help: http://www.radarmusicvideos.com/blog/article/922-Career:_9_Practical_Way...(summary_version)#.VV3egflViko

May 21, 2015 at 9:33AM

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Lisa Radar
Content Manager
265

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