The Directors in association withPeople on LBB
The Directors: Walter Thompson-Hernández
Production Company
Los Angeles, USA
Reverie director on writing for Dr Dre and the excitement of narrative-driven work

Walter Thompson-Hernández is a multi-faceted writer and director, recently added to Los Angeles production company Reverie’s distinctive roster of talent. Known for his award-winning storytelling across journalism, podcasts, and film, Thompson-Hernández’s work often meditates on the concept of belonging in communities of colour throughout the United States and the world. 


Name: Walter Thompson-Hernández

Location: Los Angeles

Repped by: Reverie

Awards: Sundance U.S. Jury Prize U.S. Fiction, Vimeo Best Director Jury Prize


LBB> Congratulations on joining Reverie! What are you looking forward to doing with this new representation?


Walter> I’m looking forward to working with Rich and Cathleen to create work that is compelling and beautiful. Reverie’s strong director lineup speaks volumes and stands out as one of the best in the industry. 



LBB> What are some upcoming projects that you're excited about? Tell us a bit about them?


Walter> I’m working on a few different things right now. I’m currently wrapping up my first feature and in pre-production for another short set in Barcelona. I also just wrote words for Dr. Dre, for the Made in LA Beats by Dre spot that launched Super Bowl Sunday. Dr. Dre’s music means a lot to me. [It] Feels wild to hear his voice says the words that I wrote for him.



LBB> What excites you in the advertising industry right now, as a director? Any trends or changes that open new opportunities? 


Walter> I’m excited by the opportunity to create narrative-driven work in the advertising space. I think there are a ton of important stories and narratives that are being woven into the ad space and it feels exciting. 



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


Walter> I’m excited by scripts that let the story and the actors breathe. 


LBB> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?


Walter> I think about what I want to feel emotionally and then think about the writing, visuals, and sound design. 



LBB> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar 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? 


Walter> It’s very important. I think we have to do our homework as directors and a part of that means understanding every aspect of the ad. 



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


Walter> The most important relationship to have is with the actors and with my crew. Everyone has a really important role in creating beautiful things. 



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


Walter> Story. And narrative. 



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


Walter> Because I have recently entered the directing space I think there’s an assumption that I’m finding my bearings as a director. I think directing takes on many forms. And directional practice can also come from working outside the ad or tv and film space. 


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


Walter> We had multiple rainy days for a feature about a boy and a kite. I ended up making the rain a part of the story. 

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


Walter> I think we have to be open to our ideas changing. It takes trust on all ends. 



LBB> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? 


Walter> I’m a big fan of diversity. 



LBB> 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? 


Walter> I think it’s forced us to work harder and smarter. Every move is so much more intentional these days. 



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


Walter> I think different stories require different things. I’m open to letting the story dictate how it wants to be told. 


LBB> Which pieces of your work do you feel shows what you do best – and why?


Walter> My Sundance short feels really special. It’s partly autobiographical. 

My Olympics surfer spot also feels special. Spending time with that group of friends was a joy to experience. 

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