Choosing a film director is hard if you haven’t done a lot of it. When you start out you rely on agency producers who know more than you do. But slowly you develop a feel for who’s out there and as you shoot more, how a director can improve your idea.
I look for directors that have a strong flavor. That is, everything they shoot makes you feel something. That is the single most important thing. I might not necessarily like it but if they can make me feel something, i like them.
Shooting film is an art. So look for true artists. There are a lot of bullshitters and chancers pretending to be directors. Artists make you feel something. These guys don’t. They just know how to arrange a shoot. they are film users, not film makers.
Are they nice? Film is a collaborative medium. You have to get on with this person. Shooting is like going camping. You’re all in it together. So you have to get along.
Lastly, try somebody new. I’ve had great luck using directors who had never shot a commercial before i used them. they’re fresh and keen and have tons of energy. just make sure they have strong evidence that they can do it. doesn’t have to be an ad. do they make you FEEL something? You will encounter resistance from senior agency producer types here. I once wanted to use a Sopranos director who had never shot an ad for a very important Budweiser spot, set in… New Jersey! The agency exec producer seriously said to me “we don’t know this guy can tell a story in thirty seconds!”. i knew. HE DIRECTED THE BLOODY SOPRANOS! He was great. Duh!
here is that spot.