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The Directors: Miguel Bueno


Having worked with brands including Coca Cola, Playstation and IKEA, Antonella Perillo director Miguel shares his thoughts on new technology and the importance of product knowledge

The Directors: Miguel Bueno

Miguel is from Madrid but his reel has an international style.He has been creative director in agencies like SPCF, Mccann and TBWA, where he has worked for a long, but never boring list of clients.Seven years ago, he decided to start directing commercials, digital content and music videos. Since then, he has worked on national and international projects for Coca Cola, Playstation, MTV, Ikea, Toys R us, Movistar, Rexona, Día Supermarket, Mitsubishi, Cruzcampo, LAN Airlines and Volkswagen, to mention a few. His distinctive point of view, impeccable taste in art direction and gift for storytelling help him achieve highly visual, powerful movies. His goal is to visualise a contemporary universe with a different imprint that creates something special out of every project. His work has been awarded at the Cyclope festival, Cannes, CDEC, EL Sol and D&AD. He has also been nominated for the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors showcase, a very special, genuine competition. He likes Barry Glifford, and also Junot Diaz, bread with tomato and Spanish ham.

2006 Cortijo de los Aguilares, London, Bill Viola, Vincent Gallo and Tilda Swinton, Angelina Jolie in 'Maleficent'. And of course, Leolo. 

Name: Miguel Bueno

Location: Spain

Repped by/in: Antonella Perillo


2008 Best Novel Director nominated APCP (Production Company Spanish Asociation)

2008 Cdec Awards tv “Toys r Us / “Microser”

2008 CdeC Awards tv “Sitges International Film Festival / Werewolf”

2009 The Saatchi&Saatchi New Directors Cannes Showcase “Nominated”

2009 El Sol Bronze Awards tv “Sitges International Film Festival / Werewolf”

2009 OneShow Awards tv nominated “Sitges International Film Festival / Werewolf” 2009 CdeC Awards tv “Mitsubishi / Plumber”

2010 Cannes Awards short list “Sitges International Film Festival / Werewolf”

2012 Cyclope Silver awards / art direction “Kitchen / DIA supermarket”

2013 CdeC Awards tv “Best director” “Kitchen / DIA supermarket”

2013 CdeC Silver awards tv “Kitchen / DIA supermarket”

2016 CdeC Gold Ikea Catalogue 2016

2016 Fiap Gold Ikea Catalogue 2016

2016 El Ojo de IberoAmérica Gold Ikea Catalogue 2016

2016 El Sol Gold Ikea Catalogue 2016

2018 OneShow Awards Silver “58 Soul Riders”

2019 New York Festival Gold Award “58 Soul Riders”

2020 CdeC Gold Award “La Quiniela/ Perdóname”

What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Obviously the creativity of the script is decisive, not only to choose it but also to visualise what is the way for the approach.

So when you do get one of these scripts done, the prep is an exciting and fascinating moment, and when I'm on set I like to see all those thoughts and ideas become real. 

How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

The scripts are not always open, so sometimes I work from the basic concept that the creatives have created, always looking for a differentiation in the final craft. But when the brief is open I always think about how to develop a personality and a visualisation for the brand. I am looking for visual values that are in the DNA of the product and from there I work on different ways until I am left with one.

If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

I like to understand what the author had in mind when he wrote the script. Sometimes I help wrap up that idea and other times I open doors that the creative has not yet opened.

Obviously knowing the product is essential. That and where it wants to go, sometimes classic brands are afraid to update their language so as not to confuse their buyers but at the same time they want to grow. And it is that analytical, creative but very intuitive part that you enter as a director and in my case it fascinates me. 

For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

My producer and the dop are two important supports to propose the way to do it, the filming, the team, developing the look and feel that we want to achieve.

What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

When I started working as a director, I thought about being able to work in different genres and styles. I had as a reference some directors who directed characters, animation or post production, they varied constantly, their objective was always to tell stories but looking for how. Unfortunately the market does not allow it and places you in a specialisation.

I like to tell stories, I like directing actors, but I also like looking for a powerful art direction. If I could, I would change the style, the way of doing it, in each new commercial that arrives.

What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

I have worked for many food brands, but I am not a tabletop director, despite that I get many scripts where the story disappears and there is only a visualisation about the food. Another different thing is to raise a commercial like Lurpak has done with its main ingredients. Again it is an example of how a director who does not make food can give a different vision to the script.

On the other hand, it also happens with humour, I direct comedy as long as it has that British touch and but for me it is less attractive when it has a more exaggerated tone. I also really feel very comfortable directing more emotional stories because I like to work on different aspects of the characters. One of the commercials I've enjoyed the most was for the Parkinson's Association.

Have you ever worked with a cost consultant and if so how have your experiences been?

My relationship with cost controllers is through the producer. On some occasions I have met with them to explain certain proposals and why it should be in the commercial. These meetings are necessary because it help explain the project and justify the budget. In general I have felt that we were rowing towards the same place.

What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

I had a shoot in Madrid and the actress came from Barcelona. She was a wonderful actress for a love story between a werewolf and her. A kind of Beauty and the Beast. The actress arrived in Madrid at eight in the morning on the day of filming. When she got out of the car on set, her whole face was deformed. She had decided to have her teeth operated the previous afternoon. She was crying and I was white and about to pass out. Fortunately, the backup was really good and available and in two hours I was on set.

Since then, my casting options are really close options. 

How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

Good question. I believe that the experience and personality of each one defines your relationships with agency and client. You cannot forget what the objective of the project is. For example, in my treatments I try to be very close to the final proposal, so if I win the pitch I sit down with them to finish making the path clear. Sometimes you win a pitch but they change the treatment, that ends up being a mess.

What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

The change and transformation that we are experiencing and that will continue to change is evident. Audiovisual language is the great language, it is future, but we are already leaving behind a way and structure of producing. Traditional advertising is getting smaller and smaller and is spreading its money over hundreds of media and content. So, opening the mind to new members in this game is mandatory for me.

How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time?

If I talk about the first four months of the year, I can say that I have traveled outside my country to film normally. The difference is the protocol and that it is a bit more complex to travel. There are things like ppms, edit, grading colours that in most cases are done perfectly online. They simplify costs and work just as well. They could stay that way after the pandemic.

Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working?

Here I think there is an extensive debate. To begin there is a concept issue when writing an idea. It’s usually designed in a panoramic format that you then have to edit at 9:16 for instagram. It sounds like a joke if it weren't because it's real.

Usually there is a job that is done with the first assistant to try to fit the media plan and formats. I personally think that panoramic or squarer formats work well with most scripts. For many years when we went to film in the US we had to take into account 4:3 to frame because most of the American televisions still had that format !!

What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work?

I am an absolute fan. It is difficult to apply innovation to traditional advertising, for example taking commercials to VR ... few consumers will make a virtual immersion on a typical advertisement ... I think it is being left out. But from the brand content it will be easier to tell stories, other social or entertainment stories, in which to enter from innovation. On the other hand, in production or better in post production we are already working with Real Engine, holograms or AR. 

Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why?

I was talking at the beginning about being a versatile director, working in different styles depending on the idea. From comedy to emotional. Find a natural or magical visualisation. But always giving value to storytelling, casting and art direction. 

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AntonellaPerilloAgency, Thu, 03 Jun 2021 08:55:02 GMT