The Blackpool-born Peter Chelsom, director of the award-winning Hear My
Song and the new release, Funny Bones, began his filmic career as a
photographer. He then trained as an actor at the Central School of Drama
and spent ten years acting for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the
Royal National Theatre.
Both strands have influenced his life as a commercials director, which
began in 1988 with a satirical update on the fabled Shake ’n’ Vac ads of
the 60s. Since then he has made about 70 ads, and he now has a reel that
boasts spots for Sony in-car CD, Legal and General and Foster’s Lager.
‘I’m a story teller, big on human content, and I’m probably seen as an
actor’s director. This is also coupled with a photographer’s eye. My
ideal job would be anything where I can combine images with a very human
touch,’ he says.
Chelsom eschews extensive post-production and special effects, unless
they can be used ‘in a human way to move people’.
One of his current favourite ads is the Caffrey’s Irish Ale film by
Larry Barker and Rooney Carruthers for WCRS. ‘It really moved me. It
puts modern techniques to such good use because they are used for human
content rather than creating special effects,’ he says.
Chelsom enjoys splitting his time between making films and shooting
‘It suits me so well to do both and I always probably will do both. I
like the faster turnaround of commercials, I enjoy the scrutiny and the
chance to shoot regularly, plus I learn a lot from them for my
features,’ he says.