*you might do a month or two of prep work*
in my 16 years of advertising work I can tell you that I have done exactly one commercial that had a director involved for a month and that was because it was all cg. and that director got paid.
as a director you are most likely to be on a few calls, submit a treatment, then assemble your crew with the production house and do pre-pro for 2-7 days. I know directors who "oh sorry, airport delays" were only able to dial in for final PPM meetings.
Hi, I'm a creative director. I've worked for pretty much all the major ad agencies in the US, EU and China. And the notion that you have to be "in a box" is just plain wrong to me. Yes, you can be in a box. You can be the tabletop guy or the beauty person or whatever. There are those jobs. But often what happens is that I have written a script and sold it through and my in-house producer now slams a long list of directors websites onto my table and I am searching for the right folks to talk to and invite for treatments. Meanwhile I have my own favorite directors. It can be that I found one music video you did and googled your name to see if you did other stuff of similar quality.
I am reluctant to take a chance on someone unproven. It's just so much more work for me and I am most likely working on multiple campaigns simultaneously. But if you have five good pieces, if there is a common thread that I can sell you through on, your chance is every bit as good as that of David Fincher or Tarsem. Breaking in is no harder or easier than breaking into other genres. You want to get paid? Cool, you need to have a good reel and be able to deliver.
And by the way: the biggest thing holding inexperienced directors back is their treatments. It is incredibly easy to sniff out who has been around the block and who hasn't.
Well, Ruben has a list of good music videos. Like the old 'We know something you don't know' for DJ Format.