Director’s Corner: doug werby
doug werby’s domain is in satisfying the ever-increasing demand for content that ranges from broadcast to online campaigns and internal brand films- sometimes a combination of each. He’s the perennially easy-going guy who comes with a secret stash of tools and talent. Turns out, he’s happy to tell all (so much for the fake spy bit).
Q. What do you love most about what you do?
doug: The entire process of filmmaking has always been a magical experience for me. To this day I get excited every time new concepts or new boards present themselves, and I will always love being on the set with my cast and crew, creating new images and sound, always anticipating what it will look like when we get to put it together. I look at each shoot day as a blessing and editing the footage is like unwrapping a personal gift. It never gets old.
Q. What do you bring to the table that makes you a real asset to agency and client partners?
doug: My job is to bring a client’s idea to life and maximize its potential. First, I try to deconstruct the idea. Then, I spread the pieces out, get a certain perspective and try and figure out the best way to construct it back together. And what I’ve learned from extended time in the editing room is that there are infinite ways to reconstruct any idea on film, but really only a few ways to find the truth in a piece.
Q. How does being an editor, and your roots as an editor define your approach?
doug: Even if I am not cutting a project, my editing experience allows me to easily recognize when we have nailed a good take from a performance and technical production point of view, so we can move on to the next set-up. It allows us to be extremely efficient, and the assurance that we are covered from the outset. During my years as an editor, I saw my share of work, from well thought out to a little less so…needless to say that whether I am editing or someone else is, I like to be the director who thinks it out ahead of time!
Q. Your casting choices are exceptional, whether real people or actors. How do you get the best performance from your subjects?
doug: I listen very carefully and I try and hear what sounds like a natural, conversational response in both actors and real people. There is a rhythm to the way an authentic conversation sounds and when it’s right you feel it and then you move on to the next take. I’m always looking for new voices when casting; but if I find someone I really like it’s a pleasure to work with them again.
Q. What were the biggest creative challenges on Wells Fargo and HP Qualcomm, and how did you meet each?
doug: For the HP Qualcomm campaign, we shot five spots in two days, with multiple locations all within reasonably close range. The agency trusted us to honor the concept and were open to try anything, including improvisation, for the sake of the project. There were so many excellent performances that I couldn’t wait to get into the edit room.
With Wells Fargo, the challenge was leveraging the most out of this set that we had designed and built. We made the most of every angle, figuring out ahead of time how best to place the actors in the space and connect them to text and graphics that were yet to be developed by Ring of Fire. It was essential to make sure it was all going to work from a both creative and a technical point of view. We also filmed vignettes at actual Wells Fargo locations with actors who needed to come across as believable employees. Every project comes with a series of challenges, and solving them is part of what makes the job so rewarding.
Q. What are some creative influences outside of the world of directing?
doug: Believe it or not, collecting images on my Pinterest boards. Really, you should follow me. My cat. World travel. Riding my road bike. Watching our kids grow up. Reading a good book. Seeing a great play, piece of art, a musical performance and of course a good movie. And being amazed at the strength of my domestic partner (as she likes to call herself).