Commercials have been one of the most fertile grounds for future film directors. Along with music videos, they are the premiere method for directors to showcase their visual skills. Over the years, there have been many commercial directors who have transitioned to making feature films. Not surprisingly, these filmmakers are known for strong and bold stylistic touches. Here are 2 famous directors who got their start making commercials, as well as one rising star in the commercial world.
Before he directed Fight Club, Seven and The Social Network, Fincher ran a commercial production company. Unlike many directors who attend film school, Fincher took another route. A family friend was George Lucas. This connection allowed Fincher to land work on several large-scale Hollywood films right out of high school. These roles included prop work and other behind the scenes roles. Fincher then took his skills and started helming commercials for Nike, Coca-Cola, and Levi's. After success in commercial work, he made his feature film debut with Alien 3. While this was not well received, his next film (Seven) was highly praised and he has continued to be a critical favorite.
Ridley Scott is one of the worlds most influential living directors. He has directed Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, and many others. Few other directors have achieved such critical and commercial success over as long a career. That career started after Ridley graduated from the Royal College Of Art. He went on to work as a set designer for the BBC. However, it was in commercial work that he really gained popularity. He and his brother (director Tony Scott) started a company and produced commercials for English companies. Ridley continued to make commercials even after filming Alien and several other feature films. He is famous for creating perhaps the most famous commercial of all time, the Orwellian inspired commercial for Apple.
John O'Hagan was born in Ireland and educated in The United States. He attended NYU Film School where he studied under luminaries such as Spike Lee and Todd Haynes. While at NYU, O'Hagan worked on the Spike Lee feature Crooklyn. It was also at NYU that O'Hagan helmed the feature-length documentary Levittown. The documentary was a whimsical look at the Long Island community and its residents. The film explored the towns history as a pre-planned community. This led to a series of commercials that also used humor to grab audiences attention. O'Hagan has worked with Sprite, Visa, and Volkswagen. His ability to create humorous and engaging commercials might best be seen in his work with the data management company EDS in the creation of the "cat wranglers" spot. In the spot, a group of rough and tumble cowboys lament the difficulty in wrangling house cats who are running wild on the prairie.