Station Film’s Lena Beug goes on the record about levelling the advertising playing field, the inspiration she gets from the city of New York and about her own career goals and ambitions.
“I would like to make a Super Bowl spot this year,” Station Film director Lena Beug proclaims. “I think it’s time. Isn’t it time?”
A 15-year commercial veteran, Beug has directed award-winning work throughout her career, from early viral hit MTV MerryXXXLMAS to the more recently honoured, What’s Love?, for Los Angeles LGBT Center. Both reflect the resounding themes of challenging stereotypes and supporting inclusiveness, which provide a through line for much of her body of work. This year, she has directed two global campaigns for Google, along with campaigns for B of A, Michelob ULTRA and Ball Park Franks. And the year isn’t over yet.
Beug lives in Brooklyn, grew up in Ireland and has a reputation as a straight-shooter with a sense of humour. She shared some insights about what the current climate is like for women filmmakers and talks about her democratic approach to scripts, her cultural inspirations and what she does to stay creative. And she has no qualms putting the word out that she’s ready to direct her first Super Bowl commercial.
Q> What’s a good analogy for being a commercial director?
LB> I was talking to this one woman the other day who’s a TV director, and she was comparing a director to being an air traffic controller. I think that people have this idea that you’re this auteur. And, yes, a big part of my job is to come up with great ideas, and to make client and agency ideas the best they can be. Equally, I have to talk to the client and talk to the agency and shepherd the job throughout, so that they end up with a finished product they are happy with. Like an air traffic controller, you have things to negotiate that are coming at you from all angles.
Q> You’ve been directing commercials for 15 years in a business with ups and downs; how do you maintain perspective?
LB> I’ve had moments of great lows, then I’ve had moments of success. I hope for those to continue. You have to keep your head, no matter what people think. We lose jobs for so many reasons. We don’t get given jobs for bad reasons. Every time I get a job, it’s important to remember there are two other directors who just got the call saying that they didn’t get the job.
Q> What’s one piece of advice you’d give to commercial directors just starting out?
LB> Our job is to figure out where to push and where to step back. I think everyone needs to feel heard. And I think that sort of experience you accrue, and even though it’s not that sexy, it’s not that cool, it factors into why the good directors are the good directors.
Q> There are plenty of commercial directors who are male, and who are A-list. Less so, females. How come?
LB> They see the best scripts. While talent is the baseline, you can’t deny that their reels continue to get better, in part because they see all of those scripts. A job will come in for me and they’ll need a treatment for the next day, which probably means I’m not a first-round choice. I don’t care. I always, always pitch on the jobs that come in for me. I don’t care if they give it to me because I’m a woman. I just want to have the opportunity to make better things.
Read the full article on Shots HERE.
See more of Lena’s work HERE.