Adidas Originals' "Original Is Never Finished"

Monty Marsh

The Directors Network, Lightswitch Content, Invisible Collective

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?

My first professionally directed work was actually two projects happening simultaneously for the same indie pop artist (Dawn Richard). The first project was a VR experience that premiered with WIRED Magazine, and went on to be featured at VR Days Europe 2016 as well as make VR Scout’s ‘Essential VR Music Videos 2016’ list. While this was happening, I also directed YouTube’s first ever live 360 performance featuring Dawn in collaboration with The Verge. There was a learning curve, but the vision held up and we were able to make history in the process.

2) How did you get into directing?

I have been a movie buff for as long as I can remember. Working in film finance briefly, I gravitated towards directing after seeing and learning first hand the true importance of story. I enjoyed packaging projects, creative financing and working on deals--but directing challenges and inspires me in ways that feed my soul. I really enjoy the collaborative process. One of my biggest values is learning from others. I respect the power of film as a way to speak to the human condition, and I am constantly looking for ways to connect in this regard. Especially through culture.

3) What is your most recent project?

I just optioned my first script, an international crime thriller. This will be my “most recent” project for a while of course, but I also just finished ideating/creating a series of branded content for GUESS internally at the global executive level.

4) What is the best part of being a director?

Connecting with the audience. My process begins and ends with them. Part of it is my affinity for data and analytics combined with the desire to get in the audience’s head, and take them on an unexpected journey that provokes unexpected emotional responses. In a time where society is upside down in many ways, I especially enjoy when the work makes people think (and feel).

5) What is the worst part of being a director?

I love what I do. I believe a large part of life revolves around your individual perspective. There are highs and lows of course, but to be living my dream and following my passion--words like “worst” in relation to directing do not register in my vocabulary. I choose to keep it positive. I am grateful for the opportunity to tell stories, work with awesome people, sell products and entertain. And I look forward to doing much, much more.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre--comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?

Thankfully, the lines are blurring between advertising and entertainment. My career focus lies with commercials, branded content and movies. I am open to TV series work as well if innovation and cinematic storytelling is at the forefront of the work. A lot of TV is nowadays. I have a disposition for lifestyle work, thrillers and visual effects. I believe my love for architecture, movement and light would be a great fit for automotive work. I always try to place myself at the intersection of culture, music, technology, fashion and film. Gen Z and Millennials are my preferred audience, so any content addressing them is right up my alley.

7) 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 formal mentor, but Jordan Brady over at Superlounge has been very helpful making himself available to me when needed. Jordan is always dropping gems. My biggest takeaway is something that he speaks about in his book ‘Commercial Directing Voodoo’ -- “…every decision about work is made by examining the three R’s: REEL. RELATIONSHIP. REVENUE. Manage your career right, and it all lends itself to the Fourth R: REPEAT BUSINESS. Melina Matsoukas also played an instrumental role in the development of my Adidas spot by connecting me with people in the industry who added valuable insight into the creative development of the project. It’s a beautiful thing when more established directors take the time to be there for those coming after them!

8) Who is your favorite director and why?

Bruno Aveillan. His work is deeply emotional, and he finds a brilliant balance between commerce and visual art. He inspires me to push the boundaries of storytelling, and I build on that by focusing on technology and culture as my way into the story. In fact, I paid homage to his work at the beginning of my Adidas spot that is in the showcase. I use optical blurs with added color from a red marker to convey emotion on an ancestral level.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?

My favorite movie is Run Lola Run by Tom Tykwer. That movie changed my life as a filmmaker. Favorite TV show--Game of Thrones!! My favorite commercial is Spike Jonze’s Kenzo World Fragrance spot. Spike is up there with Bruno Aveillan for me. He brings the music, fashion and technology--and totally takes the storytelling to another level. He definitely inspires me to do the same with my work.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)

I grew up in Greensboro, NC, and finished college with an economics degree from the Univ. of NC at Chapel Hill. I turned down a job on Wall Street to be a model and actor--represented by Elite Chicago. I have always had a passion for the creative side of things, though I am grateful for the left/right brain tenacity that economics and finance affords me. I am at a place in my career where I am now able to take my unique background and life experiences, and present my POV in a manner that is diverse in thought and practice

Contact

Contact Jeff Lewis, President/Agent, The Directors Network regarding Monty Marsh via email
The Directors Network