4 Film Directors Who’ve Made Great Commercials

It’s not uncommon to hear old terms like, tape or film on sets. Even though we’re recording footage onto an SD card that can hold more footage than any roll of film could, at about 1/70th the size too. People equate what we do at Rowlbertos Media to “movie making” even though a majority of our work is online commercial work. While we do utilize “movie magic” in our projects; we hire actors, write scripts, have a camera department and utilize VFX yet I have always been an advocate that we do not make movies. We make commercials, music videos, and lifestyle media. We are content creators. 

Creating a comedy film like Superbad, ACE Ventura or Waterboy was my dream in college but the realities of creating a feature length film are vast. It can be difficult to organize, costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time and effort and, oh yeah, a crew. It seems crazy to me that you make these sacrifices to create your “masterpiece” in hopes to win Sundance, inspire audiences and gain mass exposure. You’re literally putting ALL your eggs in ONE basket. With this route there’s no room to make mistakes, which I think is a big learning opportunity.

I liked the idea of creating short form commercials where I could learn from each one and grow until I was comfortable to make something bigger. With the insane growth of the internet and technology audiences viewing habits have changed. Everything revolves around marketing and views, not box office numbers. Yet I do think it’s actually harder to fit all the necessary info, convey a message and keep audiences engaged (on essentially a sales pitch) for 30 seconds. In fact some of films biggest directors have dabbled, and dabbled well, in commercials. Knowing that, solidifies we’re going in the right direction.

Here are my favorite 4 directors who made it big by doing it small. 

1. Michael Bay – Got Milk Commercial

2. Edgar Wright – Pizza Hut Commercial

3. Spike Jonze – Levis Commercial

4. David Fincher – HP Commercial


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