Blake Farber entered the world of music advertising. The first videos directed for friends brought him the first contract and from there things went naturally. An advertisement for Nike would bring him a series of international projects, and the world opened up. Although he comes from New York, the Romanian advertising market is the one that helped him a lot at the beginning of his career. He is currently filming in Saudi Arabia, but says he can’t wait to return here, where he has made good friends and where everyone smokes.
Fortunately, for me and my reel, I had the chance to win many projects, and Romania was a big part of my training as an advertising director. Working with Reload Film and commercials for Betano ignited the wick of my career.
In a market where rules and borders change and close from day to day, dictated by the pandemic, Blake he believes that there will be more and more local directors, which will automatically lead to the growth of those markets. The winning cards for those who want to stay on the system should be diversity, try not to make the same kind of spot, and as much as possible go with the flow, the word of the American, adapted and rethought from day to day, if necessary .
That’s it, I’m becoming a director
My first project was a video for school, I think I was 11 or 12 years old. And that was before the days of iMovie or iMac. So I basically had to edit while filming. I didn’t like a scene, I was scrolling and re-recording. It was funny after all. So the teacher showed my project to the whole class as an example and everyone liked it. The reaction I received made me want to show the whole world my vision. From that moment I started filming short films and videos with friends, so somewhere between 12 and the age of 20. Then I started making music with a punk band, but also videos for friends in parallel. And the story goes on!
First time on set
The first commercial came after the production company and the advertising agency saw some of the music videos I had made. He wanted to do something more cinematic for an advertisement for a gardening product, something in which a guy sang opera. He didn’t bring me other projects, but it was a good starting point.
New and old briefs
Every time I received a brief, in the early days, I would wag my tail like a dog. I was thinking how hard it is that I was selected to do a big project … But only after you learn treatment after treatment, you start to realize how things are going and you realize that you lose the best briefs if you don’t approach them correctly. Fortunately, for me and my reel, I had the chance to win many projects, and Romania was a big part of my training as an advertising director. Working with Reload Film and commercials for Betano ignited the wick of my career.
Something to learn
The best thing I learned was practice. Try, fail, make mistakes, learn from them and try again. Every time I look at the commercials from the beginning that I made, I feel like clenching my teeth, now being much more perfectionist. I wonder what I had in mind to film like this or to end such an advertisement. A big role in my career was played by John Engstrom from Flug Films in New York, who lent me his talent and tools to make the Nike spot that paved the way for many projects for both of them, all over the world.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
In fact, I don’t look at too many commercials, except when I have to study them for treatment. I think the key is to diversify your style. Now the cinematic style is in vogue, with fast cuts and dynamic music. Which is perfect for my reel. But how long will this trend last, a year or five? So I try to make as many cuts as possible to stay fresh. Some are very energetic, even sporty, others based on stortelling, others emotional, some artsy and experimental. How to have a reel that can cover a wider beach, and so you can enter more markets.
How to be a good commercial director
I think one of the important things is to give something back. I teach many courses for free. We get in touch with a lot of cool things in our lives, why not give something back? Why not inspire a new generation of filmmakers, especially in countries where the industry is not so developed? Don’t just take the check on the project, try to get involved socially, offering your services to the community. But at the same time, that’s how you connect with the world, so that you stay fresh in a developing market. If one country’s economy is down, you can go to another, there is always an emerging market somewhere that will need you.
2020, pandemic test
The first half of 2020 was crazy for everyone, but the second half was sensational. New countries and networks have opened the door to many projects. The countries of Africa are the great players of this period that we are going through. While America, Asia and Europe have been hit under the belt, there are still places in the world looking for directors.
News on the set
It depends on the country, more recently everything is online, from plannig, meeting, in smaller groups. In the States we have a Covid Compliance Officer on set and we have to wear masks and shields 24 hours a day.
But in other countries you only need a mask, so it was at least an interesting experience. At the time of writing, I am filming in Saudi Arabia, where Covid figures are around 350 out of a population of 50 million, however the country has just entered a strict lockdown for 21 days. But the filming goes according to plan. And our PPM yesterday went very well online. Even though it would have been much easier to sell my ideas face to face, I think it’s better that it happens online than not at all.
How to see 2021
The fact that I’m already on my third commercial in less than 2 months is fantastic. Although in the US the restrictions are very harsh, they still receive offers 24 hours a day, but who knows if they will be made. For the Pepsi commercial I worked for in Dubai, I had over 50 extras, over 50 people in the crew, but everything went smoothly.
That was two months ago, but since the cases exploded in Dubai, I don’t know if it could have been filmed. So you have to go with the flow, to be seen on the go, from day to day, from week to week.
The Romanian market
The Romanian market helped me a lot at the beginning of my career, which I am grateful for. The problem is that it is a limited market, so budgets are small, especially during this period. Sometimes it is difficult to propose grandiose productions when the budget is tight. But I made good friends in Romania and I can’t wait to go back. Besides, I’ve never seen so many smokers like that in my life.
Is there a place for young blood on the market?
Romania has many talented directors, so clients will start working more and more often with local directors. After the pandemic, this will happen everywhere. In places like China, for example, which only worked with foreign directors, it will only start working with local directors and adapt more, since the borders are closed. Then, local directors become better and better, and the idea of bringing in a foreign director may come up less and less, especially with budgets cut in half.
Seen and enjoyed in the last year
I have to think a little bit what really impressed me this year, it’s a bit difficult, it was a difficult year for advertising. But honestly the best commercial was the one with the Ocean Spray skater. It’s not even an advertisement, but it certainly sold the product super well. This shows that it is no longer about the classic methods of selling something, it has more to do with a certain lifestyle that sells. He also brought Fleetwood Mac to No. 1 on the charts again. That’s about the power of an advertisement.
Source: IQads by www.iqads.ro.
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