Jerry Bruckheimer would be a good inspiration, then.
As for breaking into a competitive field, I've proven I can do so in ONE area, so why not try again? As you have been saying to me, this is a risky business - if I can be like Tom Cruise, I'll get a Rebecca DeMornay. Get it?
Well the difference is is that music videos require very different shots, and they are much more style over substance usually. I mean for example let's say you were the producer of the remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, you might consider getting someone else to direct other than say, The Farrelly Brothers, for example. They could do a superb job but it's hard to tell since they have never dived into that territory before.
I don't see music vids and feature films as a 1:1 thing. Music vids normally require some visual flair, but not necessarily a strong sense of narrative structure and rhythm. A feature director is dead without those instincts for narrative and if you've seen a Woody Allen movie, you know stylistic wowie isn't an abslolute necessity.
harmonica will make a great studio exec.: put directors (and
maybe writers and actors) in a box and keep them there. "You
direct commercials and music videos? You can't direct a feature."
"You made several comedies? You can't make a thriller."
Commercial directors of today arent hired to be good with actors or storytelling, its about manufacturing a product for the corporations that own the studios.
This is why they favor commercial directors--because they wont be as fussy and demanding as a director who cares about storytelling (same thing happened with writers--many of the best known ones have "retired," in other words studios wont hire them because they make too many demands about content).
Actors are falling into the same situation--they either play mascot characters--comic book or franchise names-remakes, or they do low budget films for less money. The days when scripts are written for movie stars is mostly a thing of the past.
I read about a spanish comic book artist with no previous film experience who made a short poser animation using motion capture footage--its visually interesting but hardly anything ground breaking despite winning some awards(probably because he says he learned the whole cg process and made the film within a year). He is now directing a feature film of it for a major studio. That would have been unheard of even 10 years ago. One might say its because people are so much for savvy about filmmaking these days but I think it has more to do with changes in studio management. Storytelling isnt as important as it once was.
To make things even worse: Anton Corbijn started as a photographer!
And he's Dutch! (Just like me )
Tarsem Singh always had a thing with the visual aspect of movies: remember the Losing my religion video?
Looking back, The Cell seems like a 'natural sequel'.
I was an intern at a Dutch 'Productioncompany' (I'm not sure that's the right English word in this case).
Their main goal dream was and still is making feature films.
But that's not easy in the Netherlands.
The different directors shoot commercials, corporate stuff and music videos most of the time.
Music videos aren't making them rich, but the directors (and the company) build a extensive reel, work with a lot of different people and gain experience.
Here in The Netherlands the owner of one of the largest broadcast production companies started as a soapstar, then started created (often silly) TV-concepts, sold those programs worldwide and out of nowhere he decided to take a Dutch bestseller to the big screen and direct it.
He has been around sets for over 20 years, he surrounds himself with experienced people and he did a decent job. After that he made Nova Zembla, the first Dutch s3D featurefilm (shot on Red, partly in icy Iceland) with Doutzen Kroes. It may not be a fantastic story, but it looks wonderfull.
How did he do all this: he has the money and the connections. And the guts to do so.
If you have trouble thinking out of the box, just remember this:
There is no box, unless you build it yourself.
On the other hand, this thread is like your early ones: looking for a shortcut to a big budget feature.
The big secret is:
they never come out of nowhere, you just didn't hear about them before.
Even the writer of Juno had years of experience with writing for her blog.
Most people spend years gaining experience before they get to do a high profile project.
I never heard about the director either, but I know and love this commercial: http://vimeo.com/17614448
I even wrote a blog about it over a year ago
If you can make a name for yourself in one market that is connected to another, people will assume you can make things work in any market. You'll at least get the chance. If you can make money for the people concerned, you'll continue to get chances.
Directing ads will help you to get directing features but only if they are really good. Look at the quality of design and creativity and imagination of Ridley et al. They are very different from the a lot of the ads you see. Ridley, his brother Tony and Alan Parker came up with some of the most iconic, cinematic ads in the UK which brought them to the attention of producers.
Producing ads will not help you produce features, producing short films will. In the ad industry the job that would be the equivalent if a film producer is actually split into two people in two different parts of the business: the ad agency and the creative agency. The ad agency holds the money, the creative agency comes up with the ideas. As a film producer you will need to do this together.
I have hired ad producers before. They both wanted to work their way up to producer and they both came from the creative agency. One worked for me on a short, the other on a feature. Neither of them could make any budgetary or financial decisions, and they lacked the ability to think long term for planning and execution. It is worth noting that the most successful producers from ads, Fincher/Ridley, who have been able to cross over to film, have crossed over as directors and they co-owned and worked in both the ad agency and the creative agency so were able to acquire both sets of skills.