For This Filmmaker TV Ads Are The Best Training

Before Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu won Academy Awards for his films Birdman and The Reverant, he helmed Z Films, his own production/ad studio. He continues to remain connected to the ad world through Anonymous Content. Some of his recent agency projects include Procter & Gamble's "Best Job" and Nike's "Write The Future." He has won 14 Lions, including a Grand Prix for BMW. 

Iñárritu wouldn't be the director he is today without his ad experience, he said during a conversation with Thom Khai Meng, co-chairman, worldwide creative officer, Ogilvy & Mather.

This creative space has allowed him to explore things and learn new techniques.  

Iñárritu tests his vision before he attempts to use it in a movie. Birdman's one shot take throughout the film was first explored with a TV client. He joked that several TV spots used gritty, hand-held imagery before his debut film Amores Perros.  

As a storyteller, TV ad assignments have honed his ability to sythensize and communicate information in short-time frames, he said. "When you have to do it in 30-seconds, every second counts." 

Creative advertising is harder than one might think, he adds. He has tried to recruit film directing friends to the creative ad side, but says their vision can't translate. "Every shot and even how you structure storytelling is like people telling jokes," he says. There are some that are natural joke tellers and there are others that can't nail the punchline. 


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