Friday, May 16, 2014

You be the director - Creative Excellence Fridays

Gus Van Sant Gus Van Zant is an Oscar winning director. His work spans from Finding Forrester to Goodwill Hunting. He has a brilliant eye with meaningful attention to detail. And it's no better illustrated than in the latest offerings he created for BMW. A few years back BMW started reaching out to A list Hollywood actors, giving them a comfortable budget, a list of car characteristics and cart blanche to work their magic within those open parameters. Gus did something a little different. He produced the same spot, three times with three different actors.

 Version 1 - featuring Sam Hazeldine who plays Caleb on ABC's new hit, Resurrection. Version 2, a rarity for car commercials. A woman as the spokesperson. Mickey Sumner from Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha. And Version 3. It features Michael Pitt who played "Jimmy" on Boardwalk Empire. Okay. The question posed to you now. You have to rank in order or priority. You must choose one version to air during a broadcast a MadMen. It's a fairly even split of male/female with an above average education and income. How would you rank them down?

 Here are my picks and explanation.

#1 Sam Hazeldine. I think this spot just stood out more. His piercing eyes, the delivery and even Van Sant's choice of visuals including the screen dominating eyeball. The performance felt true.

#2 Mickey Sumner.  But I struggled with whether she should be #1. It was close.  She has the British sophistication and Shakespearean intensity. And I chose her before I knew she also had the pedigree of being Sting and Trudie Styler's progeny.  It  feels edgy and Masterpiece Theatre at the same time.

#3 Michael Pitt. I very much appreciated his intensity in Boardwalk Empire. But somehow his tortured spirit doesn't come out here. It seems slightly contrived. Either that or the dialogue just didn't resonate with his Jersey roots.  I just wanted him to raise his voice and lose his cool.  You feel Mickey Sumner's build up.  Here you do not.

 Cudos to BMW for continuing to push the creative envelope. I can't wait to see where they go next.






With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

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