Point of View: Director, Sebastien Guy

"Most people who aren’t in the industry don’t really know the difference between what a producer and director does."

POV: Director

How would you describe what you do?
Ha. I don’t even bother trying to anymore. Most people who aren’t in the industry don’t really know the difference between what a producer and director does. I’m sure my own parents still don’t even quite know exactly what I do, so I just avoid trying to explain it.
How did you get into this job?
I started off as a commercial actor both in Los Angeles and in Sydney. I’ve probably appeared in over 50 ads total in my acting career, but as I started working more and understanding the process, I had a feeling that I could be more diplomatic and collaborative to work with then some directors. So I just started to make my own films and specs ads to show that I could tell a story within 30 seconds. Eventually a well respected director and production company took a chance on me and signed me. I am eternally grateful to them.
What is most challenging about what you do?
I think it varies per job, but the most challenging can just be getting the job. You spend so much time and work pitching for it and you are competing against other very talented directors who want it equally as bad, so it can be very hard.
What is most rewarding?
I just want to do good work and ideally make emotive films, so its rewarding when you do. You feel good and proud for a few hours but then you go back to stressing about all the things you couldn’t do or had to compromise. But those few happy hours make it all worth it
What’s a typical work week like?
My work week can be quite varied depending if I’m on a job, pitching for a job, or neither or both. But that’s what I love about directing, its never the same. If I’m not working or pitching, I get to hang at home and go see movies and catch up on life. If I’m pitching on a job, I’m spending my day writing and looking for visual references. If I’m on a job, I’m usually going to meetings, location scouting, traveling, answering countless of questions, being on set shooting and/or in post editing.
What needs to happen the most in order for a shoot to run smoothly?
Having a good producer and team. I’m only as good as the people I work with.
Whats your best job/worst job?
Best part of the job is being supported by the client and agency who have confidence in your vision and collaborating with other creative people. Worst part of the job is trying to maintain integrity in your work when you have a client that does not trust you and the agency. So the client want you to make creative decisions based solely on their fear or how an animatic has researched.
What advice would you offer someone considering a career as a Director?
Its a hard business, but just go out and shoot as much as you can, regardless if you are getting paid or not. The more you make things, the more you learn. And don’t give up…
If you had one project that you could post on AdForum to represent your work, what would it be?
My work changes and evolves, so its hard to pick one. But this year, I did this small campaign for MTA called ‘Extra Mile’, about teaching products for teachers. We had to work with real teachers and there I learned about how low the budgets are that teachers get for classroom teaching material. So much so, that some teachers often use their own money towards class material because they believe the kids will benefit for it. So it was nice to make an ad with real teachers that highlighted the devotion they make towards the kids they to want to inspire.
Finally tell us something that most people don’t know about being a Director?
We are all so different and have different ways of working, so its hard to say… but I guess maybe that’s it- that we are all different and have different creative ways of working. What works for one, might not work for another. Its great. I have so many directors that inspire me and that I can learn from.