- Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018
Award-winning director Austin Smithard has joined The Directors Network (TDN), the premier talent agency for commercial freelance directors and directors of photography, for representation for commercial and branded content in the U.S. and worldwide.
Through his career, he has shot and directed campaigns for brands like McDonald's, Chevy, Bank of America, Verizon, and Adidas, as well as campaigns for the military including U.S. Marines, Army and Navy, among many more international clients. Smithard helmed a national campaign for American Family Insurance, including a Super Bowl XLVIII spot featuring NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.
Of his work, Smithard says, “I like that problem solving, I like being a part of a team so you can do something that really makes everyone proud. You need to have a certain sense of responsibility and a certain maturity in understanding that a lot of people are relying on you to help them carry off their mission.”
Born on the Isle of Wight off the coast of England, Austin Smithard knew from an early age that he was destined for a life behind the camera. After teaching himself his way around a lens and being discovered by playwright Tom Stoppard, he found himself in Los Angeles learning the ropes from masters like Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola.
In recent years, Smithard says, “the business is definitely changing. The writing was on the wall a long time ago. The idea that everything has to be boxed into a thirty-second commercial is being challenged… At the end of the day, there’s too much competition for peoples’ attention.
“[Commercial] directors are unique in that, for our entire careers, we are signed exclusively to one company. For the most part, we don’t even talk to other executive producers, like NEVER. It’s really interesting, because there are people in the business who we’d love to work with, even if it’s just for one project a year. That was the huge attraction to going freelance.
“When I found that people of such a high caliber [on the TDN roster] had decided that being freelance enabled them to work with different agencies and lots of other individual production companies, that, to me, was freedom that I had never experienced before.
He continues, “I definitely have a reason to walk open armed into a new phase in my career where I’m available to work with people that I ordinarily never would even meet.”
Jeff Lewis, president of The Directors Network, says, “I’m honored to have Austin join the roster, and excited about the potential opportunities for working together.” He adds, “You know it’s a good fit when you pick up two bids right out of the gate!”
As for why Smithard chose TDN, “Jeff has a lovely way about him and a great reputation… I actually had a conversation with him on a Monday morning and had pretty much decided [on signing] within 24 hours,” he says.
Beyond his vast commercial catalogue, Smithard has years of experience as an embedded documentarian, covering military, history, and humanitarian subjects. And during his time off set in Los Angeles, he takes advantage of 14 years of experience in the emergency medical field, working on a Paramedic Ambulance for the Fire Department where he holds a Command position.
He is currently in post-production on a feature film drama and recently wrapped a sci-fi short starring Blake Lively and Academy Award®-winner Adrien Brody.
To learn more about Austin, please visit his page at http://thedirectorsnetwork.com/directors/new-austin-smithard/ or contact The Directors Network by phone or email. Smithard is based in Los Angeles.
About THE DIRECTORS NETWORK (TDN)
Founded in Los Angeles in 1985, The Directors Network (TDN) is a talent agency for commercial freelance directors and directors of photography. TDN talent is repped through production companies, agencies and clients on a job-by-job basis. TDN is the perfect marriage between freelance directors and commercial, promo, branded content production companies as well as agency and client direct. To learn more about The Director’s Network, visit thedirectorsnetwork.com.