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There are jobs, and then there are jobs. Take, for instance, when Rakish Director Kevin Foley landed a pitch for the International Olympic Committee’s full film campaign. That’s a job. Not only did it involve global travel, capturing stories around the world, but it also involved navigating a pandemic and an IOC that’s redefining their identity in the modern era.

We talk a lot about finding your voice, but we don‘t always talk about the consequences of doing so. Namely, once you’ve found your voice, people have to make a decision about whether or not they like it. You’re drawing a line in the sand. For Director Niclas Larsson, he’s won and lost jobs based on pushing his style: “I tend to push a little too hard, perhaps. Then again, I don’t want to apologize for pushing a product and visual style. At the end of the day, I know I’m speaking a different language. I’m talking with experience,” Niclas told us.

At the end of a project, we simply want to walk away knowing we’ve done our very best work, creating the strongest film we could make. But between the start and finish, there’s nothing that simple. There’s the anxiety of pitching your vision to strangers, the unpredictability of production, and the tension of navigating post-production expectations from multiple stakeholders.

Ian Pons Jewell isn’t someone to mince words. As you’ll see right from the beginning of our conversation, he’ll say exactly what’s on his mind, which also says a lot about his creative work. There’s not much in the way of compromise. He’s directed surrealist music videos and short films, and translated that style into commercials that are equally as surreal, for brands ranging from Nike and Audi to Apple and Xbox.

Ego is a strange thing in advertising, or any creative field for that matter. In one way, it seems to be essential, but in other ways (like collaborating) it’s the stick in the gears. The small thing that’ll break down the entire process, and maybe the whole agency, in the end. For Danny Hunt, Creative Director at Lucky Generals and formerly at The & Partnership, Saatchi & Saatchi, and more, he’s found the right place for it.

Brands are always looking for the holy grail of advertising: Authenticity. But, it’s one of those tricky pursuits where the more intentionally you grasp for it, the more difficult it is to acquire. By its very nature, you can’t manufacture something that’s organic. And, that’s why brands bring in talented directors like Jane Qian. She’s quickly becoming a prominent name in branded content, through her work with Arm & Hammer, Nike, Paralympics, Chevrolet, and more, and a big part of that is because her work doesn’t seem branded at all.