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The Directors: Dave Garcia Interviewed by LBB

Director Dave Garcia’s work delivers a connection between content and audience in a thoughtful harmony of compelling visuals and authentic performance. His projects have garnered worldwide honors, including Cannes Lions, CLIOs, and recognition from The One Show, along with dozens of international film festival awards and screenings. He recently connected with LBB to speak about relatable moments, why preparation makes for solid production and sending himself awkwardly titled emails in the middle of the night.

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

“I wanna dance!” Sorry, got lost in Dazed and Confused again. Classic, relatable moment, whether scripted or adlib.

It’s a combination of finding the emotional, human truth that sparks the script, and the excitement of the creative team that has worked hard to realize the script. There is a story anywhere and everywhere, but when those two things are in unison, regardless of the genre, visual style, the dialogue or the creative challenges, the experience of bringing that script to life is going to be a fulfilling experience for me.

How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

First, listen to and then ask relevant questions when speaking with the creative team to truly hone in on the purpose of the spot on behalf of their client.

Then, send myself awkwardly titled emails in the middle of the night that serve as fragmented thought starters. Wake up and sloppily eat cereal while scrolling blurry-eyed through an excessive amount of reference images, clips and essays. Find relevant music to listen to for inspiration. Flip through dozens of photo, art, design and architecture books and magazines. Revisit the blank screen that is begging for my perspective. Check the score of the Yankees game. Transition from the “there are no bad ideas” brainstorm, to the “yes there are” stage to start “locking it in.” Hit the treadmill to keep honing in on the narrative thread and communicate it clearly. Engage noise canceling headphones at full volume with a DJ Snake song on loop for longer than is probably healthy while continuing to “lock it in.” Look at space images from the Hubble and James Webb telescopes with my 8-year-old daughter to keep everything in perspective.

And finally, watch Mission Impossible: Fallout.

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?

If I need to go for a sunrise swim in Miami Beach and then a sunset dip in the Loews Hotels beachside pool to understand the brand’s vibe, I can make that sacrifice on behalf of art and commerce. Doing the homework is just as important to me as leaning on the creative team that has dedicated the time to understanding their client and the purposes of the spot. Preparation makes for solid production, so again, I go back to asking questions and finding my personal relationship to the material in order to help bring it all to life.

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

Any project that centers around an emotional human truth is always at the forefront, and I look forward to pushing into more music, sports, comedy and fashion work that features that element.

I grew up in the NY hardcore / punk / emo scene and I’ve been chasing the feeling I had when I was playing drums with my best friends in our high school band, and the emotional release of those mosh pits and crowd surfing singalongs. I am on the constant search for new music and updating dozens of hyper-specific playlists daily. Music is our universal language, so I am excited to see what future collaborations exist in that space. And I would follow Thom Yorke to the edges of the universe. (Listen to the new Clark album he produced!)

I never leave home without my Yankees hat, was an athlete growing up and love the camaraderie, jubilation and heartbreak that is sports. Where were you for Jeter’s final home game and that ridiculously unscripted movie walk-off moment?! (I was folding white onesies in my living room on Avenue B in NYC, providing my very pregnant wife with a strong, strong stream of tears.)

Blooper reels introduced me to the fact that moviemaking should be enjoyable. I love that and try to bring that sensibility to even the most serious projects. My reel doesn’t scream “comedy director” right now, but we will inevitably find each other. SNL and the late night comedy shows molded too much of who I am. I was once voted the funniest kid in school. True story. And fashion is fun. It’s visceral. It’s abstract. It’s cool. I’m in. I’m game. Let’s do it. I had an alter ego that once walked the runway for Varvatos. True story.

Read the full interview via Little Black Book.

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