Friday, August 7, 2009

Jesus was a carpenter. Not a director.

Almost every time an ad agency hires me for the first time, something strange happens. They ask -- sheepishly -- if I might find it within my heart to spare a couple of minutes helping out with post-production.

Huh?

What makes this strange is that the way I get hired is by telling the ad agency people how I imagine their commercial turning out. I sell them on my "vision", which is actually a big enough subject for its own blog, but for today's purposes let's just say it's the way I promise the commercial is going to look and sound.

The thing is, how a commercial looks and sounds is determined to a huge degree by post-production. That's where you do the editing, color correction, audio mixing, music composing, title treatments, and special effects.

A director who doesn't get involved in post is like a carpenter you hire to build cabinets for your kitchen, only to have him leave you a pile of lumber you have to cut, stain, and assemble yourself. They're doing half the work and expecting all of the credit.

I don't work that way. But a lot of directors do. And I think it explains a couple of things:

1) Why post-production budgets are increasing while production budgets are decreasing;
2) Why American advertising is generally pretty crappy; and
3) Why some agencies think a director deserves to make less than minimum wage. (See my last blog if you don't know what I'm talking about.)