Harley Davidson’s “Bury the Noise” (commercial)
What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
Harley Davidson–”Bury the Noise” represents my first professionally directed work. We completed the project in May of 2021.
How did you get into directing?
I got into directing through music videos. The Chicago music scene is vibrant and inspiration was rampant. After completing a piece called “Special Moment” for Post Animal, I was hooked. That was an ambitious project with lavish locations and every step of the process was an adventure. I haven’t stopped since.
What is your most recent project?
My most recent project was a spec piece for Wrangler Jeans. The piece was called “Reborn in Blue.” We shot it entirely on 35mm which was a thrilling and challenging experience.
What is the best part of being a director?
The best part of being a director is fostering adventure. Extraordinary opportunity rarely appears without causation and being a director is all about being the causation.
What is the worst part of being a director?
The worst part about being a director is having to kill your darlings. It’s a necessary evil but that doesn’t make it any easier to leave brilliant moments on the cutting room floor.
What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
Lately my focus has commercial work. In the past, I’ve been able to blend my love of narrative with a marketing sensibility through music videos. It has been a rousing challenge to apply those skills to brands and products I love.
Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
I don’t have a mentor, unfortunately, but I do have a great group of friends that is always down to take risks with me. Nothing would be possible without the people I work with and we all learn from each other.
Who is your favorite director and why?
I don’t have a favorite director at the moment as I’ve been attracted to tones or an atmosphere that comes with certain films. I’ve been pulling on those threads looking to get wrapped up and find enough films to stay in that mood.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
At the moment my favorite movie is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s a film that dishes only little tidbits of information about the antagonists and the world they live in yet their portrayal is so magnetically vile that you can’t help but let your imagination run wild. Tobe Hooper, the director, described the film as his 60K flair he sent up into the night sky and I think everyone who dreams to make big things can relate to the hope and desperation that quote represents.
My favorite commercial is Halo Top–”Eat the Ice Cream.” It is a beautifully simple spot that has you wanting to watch more Halo Top advertisements just to see how the rest of the world on the screen functions.
Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in a northern suburb of Chicago. I started my post-college career in the post world at Cutters Chicago office. During my time there I dabbled with production and eventually decided that was the world I wanted to live within. I did a lot of PAing to support myself while trying to use the network of folks I met on set to create. Since then it’s been foot on the gas!
How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?
The pandemic was oddly motivating. Seeing time pass by as quickly as it was put a tight knot in my stomach that I wasn’t working hard enough to create what I saw in my head. When things got a bit safer I started shooting a lot of photo work as it’s not always a crew-intensive production. As the world started to creep toward normal I was able to pull dormant friends and crew members together to start shooting again. We all were highly committed due to the downtime and I’m thankful for those experiences. The pandemic was a mental shakedown.
Alec Basse, email@example.com, www.alecbasse.com