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In the director’s chair: Miguel Campaña on horny zombies and why working with creatives is crucial for brand building

In the director’s chair: Miguel Campaña

The latest director to answer The Drum’s questions in our Director’s Chair series is Miguel Campaña, director at production house LANDIA.

Previously in the series, The Drum has quizzed Matías Moltrasio, Jamie Jay Johnson, Emmanuel Adjei, Henry Busby, Andrew Lang, Camille Marotte, Mea Dols de Jong, Klaus Obermeyer, Eli Roth, Mate Steinforth, Pamela Romanowsky, Traktor and Doug Liman.

Who or what inspired you to be a director? (or who are your creative heroes and why?)

It’s difficult to pinpoint one single hero. I was raised in a family that was really into movies and we would go to the local multiplex two or three times a week. As a kid that grew up in the 80s, this meant watching films by Spielberg, Zemeckis, Dante, and even Scorsese, all of who are my childhood heroes. When I was 10 years old, I was lucky enough to visit a movie set. It felt like watching how a magic trick is done. I remember thinking immediately that I wanted to be part of that. Getting up every day to go and make a movie instead of going to the office sounded amazing to me, it still does.

Outside of work, what are you into?

My glorious soccer team, sci-fi literature, and wine.

How would you describe your style of commercial/filmmaking? What are you known for?

I love telling stories and, in all honesty, it’s what I think I do best. This doesn’t mean I don’t like visual works and enjoy the craft side, but the challenge of telling a story in such short formats is what I enjoy the most of working on commercials.

Have you got an idea about what sort of projects you’d like to work on or are you quite open-minded about what work comes your way?

I‘m quite open-minded. One of the things I really like about this business is how you can go from very different topics, styles, and genres from one script to another.

When you’re looking at scripts and projects that come in, is there anything in particular that you’re looking for?

It sounds obvious, but basically, I think we all just look for a good idea. If the concept behind the project is strong, the possibilities of playing with it and having fun are huge.

What's your funniest moment on set?

Seven years ago, I shot a campaign for Getafe FC, a Spanish La Liga club, which included sort of a porn film. It was tasteful in its own weird way, funny, and kind of an homage to the 70s B-movies, but nevertheless, you know… an erotic film. In the end, we had a great time and the campaign was a great success, but it was quite shocking for my regular Landia crew and I, to be shooting teenagers eating hamburgers one week and the following being surrounded by horny zombies.

What's your best piece of work?

I just shot a campaign for a3player that I’m very happy with.

a3player dc from www.miguelcampana.com on Vimeo.

Which ad do you wish you'd made?

There are many many ads that I would have loved to shoot. If we narrow it down to the last few years, probably “This is a Tide Ad”, Apple’s FaceTime “Elvis”, and Nike “Nothing Beats a Londoner” are up there.

How well does the information flow between client, agency and production company on a job?

It depends on the agency and client. I’ve had amazing experiences where it really feels like we are all on the same boat, and, quite honestly, horrible ones too. It all comes down to a matter of trust. If the client trusts the agency and the agency trusts the director, we all know what we are doing and that always makes the final result better.

What's been the biggest change to the industry during your career?

One of the changes I’ve noticed in the last few years is how instantly you get feedback from the audience, which can be good but also dangerous if the client is not able to see the big picture. You can’t be liked by everyone all the time, but the fear of getting negative comments on social media, generally by bored people who won’t buy your product anyway, is something I hear more and more often.

Have you worked on any client direct commercials (no agency involved)? What's been the difference?

I haven’t, but, even in those client-direct ads, there is normally an in-house agency or creative involvement. Working with creatives is fundamental to build a brand and ultimately deliver a strong message, so I’m pretty sure the process won’t be that different.