Inspiring The Aspiring

Hani Selim
EP/Managing Director
Durable Goods

What advice do you have for new directors?

Include whatever you feel will be helpful...

The saturation and competition of directors in the advertising space is the highest I have ever seen, but directors shouldn’t feel discouraged. Rather, they should find their voice within the noise and hone their specific style. I know directors hate to be pegged into one genre, but understand that creative directors and clients are looking for a specific skill set and genre when choosing a director, so one must specialize. Always be creating; don’t wait for a job.

Also, while the trend to stay freelance is so appealing these days, make sure you understand the pros and cons. Being freelance appears, at the surface, as a way to get as many leads as possible. However, when agencies see more and more that you are being presented from so many production companies, it does lessen your value.

My recommendation is that you find a production company to advocate for you. Whereas the freelance model requires you and only you to advocate for yourself, especially after a company tries to sell you several times and does not see a good response to the work. That’s really the main difference. It’s natural for the company to move on to the next director or creative until success is found from the pool of freelancers.

A good production company will also provide a home and support structure to back you — a place that gels with you and ensures they’ll submit your work and champion you throughout the sales process. It can be very much the “chicken or egg” paradox in the sense that you have to build a body of work -- enough to create effective reels. That’s why it’s important to always be creating and building new work, even when you’re not working.

Also, understand that, sometimes, you must be submitted multiple times to an agency before they even remember and recognize your work. Ultimately, when you’ve built a strong body of work and given the production company enough variation and work to build reels from, you will see the rewards.

Any tips on how to balance career and personal life?

It is crucial that you love what you do. When you really love what you do, going to work every day feels amazing. That being said, it is equally important to take mental and emotional breaks, so that you are able to feel rejuvenated often. Life is too short, so prioritize your health.

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