El Vendor Part 3

Greg Bell

How did you get into directing?
I got into directing by being an over-achieving ad guy. When I graduated ad school, I just wanted to make some great ads. I never dreamed I’d open my own ad agency and win these giant, monster accounts, and find myself flying all over the map to run it. Yet running an agency had this incredible and intoxicating momentum, and it took a while to realize, “wait a minute- I’ve gone and promoted myself out of all the fun stuff.” So starting to direct was just my natural reaction to having been in one too many business meetings. So in the summer and fall of 2010, I wrote and shot two campaigns for clients that had bypassed ad agencies, and then got the opportunity to sign with Epoch.

What is your most recent project?
A couple of great fashion ad spoofs for Old Navy. They lambast the fashion choices of “that guy.” You know, the one that wears shirts with embroidered dragons and leather pants? We’re bringing to life what would be one of his favorite labels- “Doo-Shay.” It looks and feels like a high end fashion ad—hot models, overcranked, artsy cross-processed film, moody soundtrack, but things are definitely way, way off. This guy’s definitely a “Doo-Shay.” It’s a great exercise in art direction and mocking.

What is the best part of being a director?
For me personally, it’s being able to really focus and craft things to the n-th degree. The creative process in advertising has been accelerated to absolute breakneck speed. Most creative teams I know at agencies are juggling multiple assignments across multiple mediums for multiple clients. They rarely have more than an hour at a time to focus on something, no joke. What I’m enjoying about directing is getting to take a single idea, analyze all its possibilities and pitfalls, and make it great as a result. Great ideas need to be figured out and crafted to become great films.