View Point: Director Philip Andelman

"A unique universe is created for each project, and the mad dash to construct it from the ground up is a challenge I find exhilarating."

View Point: Director

In a few words, can you tell us who you are and why you love working in production?
I’m a commercial and music video director, as well as a part-time baker. I love the thrill and inherent adrenaline found in each shoot. A unique universe is created for each project, and the mad dash to construct it from the ground up is a challenge I find exhilarating.
Did you have a dream job as a child, and if so, what was it?
Growing up, I always wanted to make movies. It started when I was ten and my dad would take me to revival houses to see old Hitchcock films and it never relented since. The last twelve years have been like the best grad school program ever; working on music videos, commercials, and shorts has allowed me to develop the necessary language (and patience!!!) required for narrative film work.
If there was one aspect of the industry that you would change, what would it be?
Ensure more prep time! Honestly, I can’t stress the importance of this enough.
If you had one project that you could post on AdForum to represent your work, what would it be?
A Samsung spot I directed a couple of years ago, for a robot vacuum that cleans up the ultimate party of all time. It was a great collaboration with the agency (VBP) where no idea was too crazy/surreal/absurd and we kept pushing things further and further, allowing horses to run freely through living rooms, people falling from the sky, you name it. Despite thoroughly trashing a beautiful contemporary architectural masterpiece in Bel Air, we had the time of our lives, and I got to work with my dream team crew; this was one of those really special moments where everyone’s schedules lined up, everyone’s vision, and the end result was as fun to watch as it was to shoot. We never wanted it to end!!!!
Did you have a mentor at one point in your life and how did that person help guide you?
Director Joseph Kahn promoted me from a PA to DP overnight, and it changed my life. He taught me everything – the basics of lighting and editing, how to move a camera, how to operate, everything!
Do you have a hobby or activity that serves as an outlet to keep you creative and lets you step away from your job?
I mentioned before, I’m a part-time baker. I love the fact that while cooking allows for great improvisation, baking is an exact science, requiring precise measurements. There are no recipes in filmmaking, no one way to make a project great which is what makes it so special, but at the same time, it’s nice to have this very mathematical process in your spare time where you know that if a quarter cup of A is folded into 460 grams of B with a pinch of C, something delicious and beautiful will be created.
What aspect of your job gives you the most pleasure?
Coming up with an idea while walking down the street or lying down on the couch, and then a month later seeing that idea being brought to life by a team made up mostly of dear friends. It’s as if my job consists of being paid to have my daydreams realized. It doesn’t get much better than that.
What needs to happen the most in order for a production shoot to run smoothly?
Sadly, one of the biggest factors is money, but the other key factor is communication. When the agency, client, and production company are all aligned creatively, it makes things so much more efficient. It’s like a jazz trio; improvisation can blossom, and beauty can arise. But when communication and ideas aren’t shared, it’s like an elementary school recorder concert.
What would you say was the biggest challenge for production companies when working with a creative agency on a project?
Promising the world. Nowadays everyone is so hungry for work that we promise the world. Agencies also are promising to deliver more than they can to clients, and so everyone is left scrambling to create more and more content for less and less. I’ve shot great projects at all budget levels, but the only ones that have been truly successful are those where the creative matches the budget.
What direction do you see production going in as an industry?
Tech keeps improving with 4K content, VR/AR and 360° video, and this is having a huge impact on productions. As content creators, we need to innovate and explore new tech, but we also need to ensure we continue creating effective campaigns, memorable music videos and impactful films. The tech should supplement art and make it better – not overshadow it.