At a time when more scripts are calling for whizz-bang special effects,
the director, Paul d’Auria, is taking a risk by concentrating more on
people and performance. But it’s not suspicion of new technology that is
stopping him, it’s more a case of ‘been there, done that’.
After graduating from the graphic design course at Newport College of
Art and Design in the early 80s, d’Auria worked at the Radio Times on
the listings pages. After only nine months he was away, doing an MA in
Information Design at Leicester Polytechnic. Six months after that, he
landed a job designing electronic graphics for the BBC and, after five
years in news and current affairs, d’Auria made the rare move over to
light entertainment, working on the Lenny Henry Show, among others.
It was at the BBC that d’Auria met John Kennedy and Graham McCallum, and
seven years ago the three created McCallum Kennedy D’Auria to specialise
in TV idents, although he also worked on Jo Brand’s Through the Cakehole
and Viva Cabaret for Channel 4. D’Auria had enjoyed his time at the BBC,
but felt increasingly unhappy with the way his job was going. ‘There
were more and more contractors coming in and telling you how to do
things,’ he recalls.
In the past couple of years he has started directing commercials with
initial commissions for Pied a Terre, Do It All and Vaseline Intensive
Care. He’s even written scripts and shot ads speculatively for the Body
Shop, Stanley Tools and Tabasco Pepper Sauce. The Stanley Tools
commercial will be shown this spring.
His passion for his work shines through: ‘Doing ads is not really
different from working on TV programmes. Sometimes you get clients who
want things done a certain way, sometimes you don’t. You get much more
tied down to the politics of an agency.’
D’Auria has been ill for some time and that has, literally, coloured his
work. ‘I try to make my commercials funny, because humour has kept me
going through the past few years. I try to make them bright and vivid
because those things matter.’