THE CRAFT REPORT: Production - Talent spotting

Judging new talent is a talent in itself. We put six leading creative directors to the test to see if they could separate a director's contribution from the script by viewing eight reels. The director's details are in brackets after the title.

1. EXCEL VITA & PORSCHE

(Johnny Daukes - After leaving school he edited, then directed graphics

and title sequences for MTV before forming a band, FIN, in 1992. He

starred in the BBC comedy, Hello ... I'm Jack Berry which he also wrote

and directed. He is currently writing and producing a comedy series for

Radio 4, doing voiceovers for Eurotrash and has just signed to Serious

Pictures.)

Rob Burleigh - Creative director, Leagas Delaney

The first spot shows good story-telling skills but looks like a spot for

washing powder (something which not a lot of people are hoping to

achieve unless you are making washing powder ads and even those guys

want their stuff to look like Nike ads these days). 3/10

Walter Campbell - Creative director, Campbell Doyle Dye

The morality of the first idea is a hard one to balance. Dovetailing the

land of washing-up liquid with the best of Brookside drama is a tough

task to set yourself. The type in both was bad. This director's got a

lot more in the tank, and I'm sure with a good team the work will go

from strength to strength. 12/10

John O'Keeffe - Creative Director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

"Excel vita" is badly written, badly lit, badly cast and badly acted. A

pity because there's a simple idea about clean fuel at the heart of it,

pointlessly encumbered by an extraneous melodrama. "Porsche" is nicely

shot in the way I've seen thousands of nicely shot things so, I'm

afraid, unmemorable. 2/10

Mark Roalfe - Creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Being a good director is about knowing a good script when you see one.

Some pony scripts really aren't helping here. That said, I think the

direction is a little on the heavy-handed side and there are a few too

many visual cliches. I'm not sure I'd bet on this one, sorry. 4/10

Leon Jaume - Executive creative director, WCRS

The "Excel vita" and "Porsche" spots are startling in their

dissimilarity - it's hard to believe the same director shot both the

homespun look of the former and the style-conscious latter. Both at

least share a peculiar sense of irony or humour which, I'm afraid, isn't

mine. A slightly bemused 4/10

Richard Flintham - Creative director, Fallon

Either these are the work of someone who has been advised to get a

slice-of-life ad and a flashy one on their reel or they are spoof ads.

If ads the second should make the bloke look like less of a prick. If

spoofs, they need to be less straight-faced and even more sickly. 2/10

2. VIA DIGITAL & DIE WIELT

(Sebastien Grousset - Grousset was introduced to cinema by his father -

a well-known commercials director in Spain. Grousset launched his

directing career, with his partner Helena Frade, who directs with him

under his name. The 31-year-old is represented by Great Guns after a

brief stint at Propaganda. He is developing a feature film based on the

novel Hunting the Last Wild Man. scheduled to be shot in November 2003.)

Rob Burleigh - Creative director, Leagas Delaney

Two very different spots. One guerrilla style, one more restrained and

considered, both feel a little cold. A director who is versatile will

always be in demand; however, if you don't have a distinctive style that

sets you apart you may never become famous. Promising though. 4/10

Walter Campbell - Creative director, Campbell Doyle Dye

"Via Digital". I'm sorry, but as soon as I see that banner go up,I'm

out. It's hard to come back from such a very heavy-handed sell. "Die

Welt". Better, good music, good shots, some better than good. A lighter

touch. You know the guy can walk and that he's up to something, he plays

it a bit too wide-eyed in some shots. 12/10

John O'Keeffe - Creative Director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

"Via Digital" has nice performances, and is intriguing in that "I'm

never going to get it" kind of way. Probably more the script's fault

than the director's. "Die Welt" is also nicely done. The director has

told it simply and resisted the temptation to add over-clever

flourishes. Worth a punt. 6/10

Mark Roalfe - Creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

To back or not to back the foreign director feels like the question. The

cast are nicely underplayed and believable in the "Via Digital" spot. In

the other commercial the story is well told. However, I'm not sure

either will have Mr Budgen quaking in his boots. 5/10

Leon Jaume - Executive creative director, WCRS

"Via Digital" and "Die Welt" are both well put together in an unshowy

way. The stories are well told, "Die Welt" feeling more effortless. My

concern with "Die Welt" is more with the script, which breezily fails to

find any link between the action and the product. A very competent 6/10

Richard Flintham - Creative director, Fallon

This director has done a cracking job here. The first one is a little

bit wobbly, but we've all been a little bit wobbly at some stage of our

careers. The second is beautiful. The pay-off is handled brilliantly and

for an ad that, in theory shouldn't bear repeat viewing it is incredibly

watchable. 9/10

3. HUGO BOSS

(Chris Palmer and Mark Denton - Palmer, the founder of Gorgeous, started

as a creative at BBH and formed Sprote with Denton. In 1986, they moved

to Lowe Howard Spink and won gold at Cannes. Simons Palmer Denton

Clemmow & Johnson was set up in 1988. More than 400 awards followed.

Denton is a director at Blink.)

Rob Burleigh - Creative director, Leagas Delaney

Borrows heavily from the movie Le Mans, using a slick graphic device to

incorporate loads of action. There are so many ideas in this spot that

I'm convinced it couldn't have been directed by one person. Surely it's

a duo? And surely their names begin with C and M. They haven't got a

chance. 6/10

Walter Campbell - Creative director, Campbell Doyle Dye

Is someone having a little joke? Well let's pretend. I'm not mad on the

split screen, but maybe that's because how it's done on 24 is so tasty.

Here it's used for stylisation. That's ok, except the stylisation is

fighting with the atmosphere the director tries to create. But a lot of

craft on show here. 12/10

John O'Keeffe - Creative director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

I predict a big future for this boy, especially when he comes to do an

Ian Wright/Martin Luther King ad with me. But that's a few years off

yet. 7/10

Mark Roalfe - Creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Now this one really is a different kettle of fish. Good choice of

script, the characters are well handled, the visual style is nearing

brilliance, and some nice animation touches thrown in. This really could

launch a director's career, if not two. I'd back these boys. 10/10

Leon Jaume - Executive creative director, WCRS

If you like football, The Thomas Crown Affair and vain Italian men, this

is one for you. This ad is very confidently done, although already feels

a bit old hat (I think it's been around a while), particularly after the

sweaty, inelegant showing by most managers during the last World Cup.

But a sporting 6/10

Richard Flintham - Creative director, Fallon

So there's work in here from Chris Palmer and Mark Denton. I'm going to

give these whippersnappers ten and put everything I own on them winning

loads of awards, running successful production companies and becoming

obscenely rich. Do I win a prize? Hopefully the rest are genuine

newcomers.10/10

4. DEL AMITRI

(Sam Arthur - After studying graphic design at Central St Martin's,

Arthur set up a design/directing company. He folded the company in 2000

to pursue a directing career with Rose Hackney Barber. The 26-year-old's

promos, commercials and TV work have earned him nominations for Best New

Director at the Music Week Awards.)

Rob Burleigh - Creative director, Leagas Delaney

Hilarious. Multi-layered, well thought out with lots of nice little

touches. It's hard to judge on this one spot but it has all the

hallmarks of someone who knows their stuff. In a word, genius. 8/10

Walter Campbell - Creative director, Campbell Doyle Dye

Flat Eric and Monkey - two great puppets, the benchmark I suppose. Could

these worm people be the next step on the evolutionary ladder? They do

seem able to give an emotional context to a scene. Overall I'd think of

this as an audition for something more demanding. 12/10

John O'Keeffe - Creative director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

I quite enjoyed the Del Amitri vid (it took my mind off the song). Not a

director for every occasion, but if you're looking for someone who can

do neat finger-puppet type stuff, this is your guy. If there's a big

enough market for it, then he'd be worth having on your books. 6/10

Mark Roalfe - Creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

I find this Del Amitri video really charming. There are some really nice

touches that bring a smile. Would I invest the fifty grand needed to

launch them as a director? The style is strong but probably only usable

once. It would be nice to see if there's more varied stuff on the reel.

5/10

Leon Jaume - Executive creative director, WCRS

Football gets an altogether fresher treatment in the Del Amitri promo,

using little Adam and Joe Show stick-puppety things. Although we have

seen a few things like it before, it's very appealingly pulled off and

keeps you watching to the end. A very likeable 7/10

Richard Flintham - Creative director, Fallon

The Blur Coffee and TV video could have easily been the death of this

video as it is tonally similar. But someone's put in time and created a

different world for this piece to live. All the observations and use of

film stock/grading, angles and styling make this a rewarding experience

for the viewer. 8/10

5. HOME SICK

(Mike Sharpe - Twenty-five-year-old Sharpe graduated in 2000 with a

degree in graphic design. After a spell at Fishburn Hedges Graphic

Design, Sharpe moved to the Paul Weiland Film Company where he is a

runner. In May 2001, he produced visuals for a Reebok fashion show. He

was awarded the Cartoon Network Flash animation award later that year.

As well as making the tea at Weiland's, Sharpe has produced short

animated pieces and title sequences.)

Rob Burleigh - Creative director, Leagas Delaney

An animated robot. Well, I say animated but he doesn't really do much.

It's from the less is less school of animation. Humorous, in a sort of

spoof-phone-call-kinda way. I like this type of gag especially when the

Jerky Boys or Noel Edmonds did it but if robots are your

thing ... 3/10

Walter Campbell - Creative director, Campbell Doyle Dye

This reminds me of those ads that Aardman did. This is different and

similar and still good, but I think animation has got to do something

extra and I think the robot could have had another touch or two to make

you love him a bit more.This is as good a robot voice as there is with

the exception of HAL. 12/10

John O'Keeffe - Creative director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

The kind of thing schoolboys with no outside interests get up to in

their bedrooms, using really neat software that will impress their

equally socially solitary mates. But in this context, just a bit dull.

3/10

Mark Roalfe - Creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

The "Home Sick" piece of animation feels, of all the pieces, as though

it's been done on a shoe string budget. Sweet as it may be there's

little here that would tempt me to spend my money. Maybe the others have

had an unfair advantage though. But that's life - it's tough out there.

3/10

Leon Jaume - Executive creative director, WCRS

The "Home Sick" animation is difficult to assess. Who am I kidding? It's

impossible to assess. It's one of those wind-up phone calls to a real

person (done first and best by Victor Lewis Smith) set to very basic

animation. It's not an ad, not a promo, not funny enough. But it's odd.

A baffled 4/10

Richard Flintham - Creative director, Fallon

This director has created a style that is hard to get your head around

at first. But, like Toy Story, you fall into it pretty quickly. It is

the story of a Tomy "MR DJ" who is lost and phones a random toy shop in

an attempt to get home. It is charming and the actor does a great job of

voicing the robot. 6/10

6. TELIA AND KOFF

(Fredrik Bond - Bond started his career as a stills photographer before

being hired by a Swedish film company as an off-line editor and

short-film writer. He then directed Swedish TV shows before joining

Harry Nash but has recently moved to MJZ. He has won numerous golds,

silvers and bronzes at BTAA as well as awards from Creative Circle,

Cannes, One show, Kinsale and the Clios.)

Rob Burleigh - Creative director, Leagas Delaney

Realistic characters, performances and delivery. If you live in

Scandinavia. Good performances. Good casting. Scandinavians would

definitely appreciate the realistic characters, casting and

performances. Would do well in the performance and character based

sector. In Scandinavia. 5/10

Walter Campbell - Creative director, Campbell Doyle Dye

Good casting in both of these ads; good attention to detail all round

and good atmosphere. I did feel the nail in the Koff ad could have been

better. It looked a bit like a lazy choice, out of context with the time

and geography of the ad. This director should go straight to films and

TV projects. 12/10

John O'Keeffe - Creative director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Slightly off beam, possibly Scandinavian with a Traktoresque vibe. I

thought the boxing one was really nicely done with great performances.

The "headbanger" one was less riveting for the lack of narrative, but

again the director did his/her job very well. Big future. 6/10

Mark Roalfe - Creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

The humour is handled in a nice quirky way in both of these commercials.

And good comic timing is always hard to find. I'm not sure there is

anything totally original about either but if given the right scripts

and breaks this one may pay off. 6/10

Leon Jaume - Executive creative director, WCRS

Well now, these two are familiar. The Telia and Koff scripts are

slightly mad, but they are for those crazy Finns. The Telia one is the

better of the two, extremely well cast, directed and edited. I think we

all know this boy will go far. An accomplished 8/10

Richard Flintham - Creative director, Fallon

So they're not all genuine newcomers. Thanks very much Campaign/Campaign

Screen.

7. AIR

(Alex and Martin - Alex started working on record sleeves after

Penninghen. His breakthrough was a sleeve for Air and he worked at

French record company Source. The pair were introduced via Alex's record

connections and produced a Cassius pop promo. The team combines Alex's

2D animation with Martin's CGI work and are represented by Partizan.)

Rob Burleigh - Creative director, Leagas Delaney

A modern take on the classic Morecambe and Wise breakfast sketch but

without the seminal grapefruit sequence, a shame that, surely they could

have squeezed it in somewhere. Slick, polished, highly stylised and

immaculate art direction. Well observed and effortless. 6/10

Walter Campbell - Creative director, Campbell Doyle Dye

Yeah it's good. The director had a lot of good ideas and put them

together really well. It's full of good craft and confidence and I liked

the robotic slapstick - I wanted to see more of that. It feels like a 12

out of 10 for the furtive shirt-tucking moment near the beginning. 12/10

John O'Keeffe - Creative director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Least said, soonest mended (awful). 2/10

Mark Roalfe - Creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Sometimes good promo directors make good commercial directors and

sometimes they turn into those directors that just do ads to fund their

promos. A lot depends on their personalities. But the video certainly

shows technical ability, visual ideas and a lightness of touch. Probably

worth a chat. 7/10

Leon Jaume - Executive creative director, WCRS

A mildly diverting promo for Air, featuring a robotic mannequin couple

who get up, make breakfast, have a food fight and explode. As you do. It

has its moments but it's a bit of an overextended gag and the shot of

the band, presumably suggested by themselves, is pointless. An OK 6/10

Richard Flintham - Creative director, Fallon

I found this quite hard to comment on as I don't like the track very

much. However, if I was a fan, I would see something that has been

really thought about, technically and stylistically great with a

relevant storyline. I've seen other stuff from these directors and I

like how they approach things. 8/10

8. METROFM & NIKE

(Daniel Adam Levi - Daniel Adam Levi was hired by the South African

production company Gatehouse, after they saw his ad "I am Beat" for

Metro FM. He has directed for the past 18 months and started out making

motion graphics and 3D for films. Levi was in this year's Saatchi &

Saatchi New Directors Showcase and was recently snapped up by

Independent.)

Rob Burleigh - Creative director, Leagas Delaney

Glossy look to what might have been gritty images. Unfortunately there's

"the close-up of the eyeball" and the obligatory dilating pupil. Cliche

number 127. Followed quickly by number 67 "guy submerged in bathtub".

The eyeball thing pops up in spot two. Eye drops script? This is your

man. 4/10

Walter Campbell - Creative director, Campbell Doyle Dye

Fight Club and Matrix do their bit to make this spot fly. The director's

been checking out all the right stuff and when he starts letting rip

with his own stuff he'll be hard to hold. And he will. You can smell it

coming; he's got a discerning eye for cast, sets, composition the lot.

12/10

John O'Keeffe - Creative director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

My favourite. Really cool, really knows how to use music, and how to

pace things. If I were running a production company and wondering who to

put my money on, I'd be pretty confident about this one. 8/10

Mark Roalfe - Creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

I don't know if these Metro FM and Nike are test films or the real

thing, but they're pretty good. And again I don't know if Metro inspired

Xbox or vice versa. Both films show a great visual eye. With the right

production company this is where I'd slap my fifty grand apart from with

our little Hugo Boss trick question. 9/10

Leon Jaume - Executive creative director, WCRS

I've not seen either of these before and I like them. There is some

familiar stuff in here, but you feel the director is already carving out

a language of his own to good effect. Editing, sound and music are

confidently used. A rousing and victorious 8/10

Richard Flintham - Creative director, Fallon

There is a lot of talent here, but the two spots feel similar. The

director has to vary their style a touch more. It is more appropriate

with Metro FM and less so with Nike, which is weird because I never

thought I would see a Nike ad I thought was too cool. The script

probably has something to do with this. 7/10

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).