Monday, January 12, 2009

Director of the Month: Dan Chase

From now on, I am going to review a director's reel once a month.

Partly it's because I feel like championing some new talent this year rather than just slagging everything off, and partly it's to get us talking about the craft of making ads, and not just reviewing the actual ads themselves.

First up is Dan Chase, at QI commercials.





As you probably guessed, Dan works at Film4, where he is in charge of what the TV promotions world calls "On-Air" - basically trailers and idents.

I'm always interested in directors who come from TV promotions. It gives them a chance to make hundreds of little ads before anyone really notices what they're doing. Valuable practice. And no less a personage than Jonathan Glazer himself came from a TV promo background.

Dan is by no means yet in that league, but I do think his reel shows a hell of a lot of promise. It's high-style stuff, and he shows a great filmic eye - for example in the ident where the bottles are being shot. Some interesting touches on sound too, which suggest to me a more rounded talent than for the purely visual.

In terms of content, the man seems to have a mild chair obsession, but there is plenty to enjoy here. I love the shot where the cars smash into the street in slow motion, and I could listen to Maggie Gyllenhaal say the words "a little jolt" all day long.

The challenge for Dan will be to move beyond his film niche. There is one non film-related piece on the reel, but I don't think it's his best work. However, his high-style aesthetic does, I believe, give him an excellent shot at cracking the ad world, where we often need to make stuff look great. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen a brilliant director's reel, but with an aesthetic so gritty that it's hard to imagine what one could use him for.

Please note I'm not being paid to big up this geezer, although I am mates with the people at QI, I'm mostly doing this Director of the Month malarkey as an experiment. Hope you like it. Feel free to share your own view of the reel, in the comments.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

s'alright innit.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many scripts will be on his desk tomorrow morning.

Anonymous said...

"films worth talking about" with all the hollywood stars is the stand out one there for me.

Anonymous said...

out of curiosity, why is it 'director of the month'?

What's he done this month?

Scamp said...

He hasn't done anything this month, as far as I am aware. I guess I was planning to make the feature about directors who have potential, rather than directors who have something cool out this month. Is that a mistake, do you think?

mini me is minging said...

No, Los Scampos, you make no the mistake.

George said...

Anon 3.54 - it's less a 'what he's done this month', more a 'featured director of the month', and I for one think it's a great idea. If you limit it to someone who has done something recent, then you do just that - limit it. Keep it open Scamp - just as it is.

Anonymous said...

okay, well that's alright then.

Rachel said...

I like the idea, featured directors and whomever else you bring along. Definitely not about 'what have they done this month' but who do you fancy featuring, just because

Anonymous said...

glad we clarified that! eventually....

Paul said...

if the BIG man at QI wasn't a good friend of mine I would ask "why are 3 of the best spots at the end of the reel?". However, as he is, I will simply say that a real filmakers touch and an eye for detail should see Mr Chase cut a place on agency shelves in very difficult times.

ian said...

Think it's great what you're doin' Scamp.
So easy to run all down, innit.
But to help others, to give them a chance - that's what's hard.
Sometimes, the guys you help can't deliver. Or they're just ungrateful idiots.
What you're doing takes passion.
Just wished me clients had the money to do decent TV.

Anonymous said...

what about the same for photography and or illustration?

Anonymous said...

Great idea Scamp, lots of free lunches!

Anonymous said...

I agree on the one for Illustration and Photography as well Scamp - I'm sure we'd all be excited every month for the new feature on someone up and coming.

Anonymous said...

@ 10.01

Agreed.
Certainly stops us all bitching about the same old.

Anonymous said...

Errol Morris is calling about the Hollywood stars spot.

He wants his idea back.

john w. said...

Good heads up, Scamp.