The Short Works Of… is a semi-regular feature where we spotlight commercials, music videos and other short form work from a well-known director.
I don’t think anyone will be too surprised to hear that Zack Snyder, director of the upcoming Watchmen, has a background in TV commercials. His movies are chock full of eye candy and flashy visual FX, and ever since 300 he has become known for his use of green screen technology and slow motion. Regardless of what you think of his skills as a feature film director, the man has done some groundbreaking commercials, many of which you probably didn’t even know were directed by him. He produces them through his own company, Cruel and Unusual Films. Check out a sampling of Zack Snyder’s short form portfolio below and see if it changes your perception of his talent.
Miller Lite Commercial: “Break From The Crowd”
This 2007 commercial features a 60 foot tall giant made up of hundreds of people clumped together walking through town, and was a collaboration with Method Studios. Precisely the kind of visual effects wizardry you’d expect to see from Zack Snyder.
Budweiser 9/11 Commercial: “Respect”
Much more subtle visual effects here, creating a classy Super Bowl commercial paying tribute to the victims of 9/11. From what I understand, it only ever aired once.
The Lost Tape: Andy’s Terrifying Last Days Revealed (Short Film)
This 15-minute short film was included in the special features for the Dawn of the Dead remake DVD release. The mock home video style may have even given George Romero the idea to do his own Diary of the Dead.
Jeep Commercial: “Frisbee”
I had no idea Snyder directed this commercial, but it’s a personal favourite of mine. Both breathtaking and clever, it won a Clio award back in 1997.
Soul Asylum – “Somebody to Shove” Music Video
Not a particularly innovative video, but the song was everywhere back in the early ’90s. Weird to think that this was one of Snyder’s first professional gigs as a director.
EB Beer Commercial: Generals’ Party
This offbeat European commercial was originally set to Sid Vicious’ “My Way”, and was deemed too controversial for TV. As a result, it only played in movie theatres at the time.
Budweiser Commercial: “Replay”
Yes, Snyder has done a lot of car and beer commercials… but are there really any other kinds of commercials worth doing? Another classic and memorable Budweiser Super Bowl spot.
Michael Jordan’s Playground
Perhaps the strangest entry in Zack Snyder’s filmography, this Michael Jordan video combines clips of on-court footage with a fictional storyline about Jordan helping a kid who lacks self-confidence. It isn’t really short form per se, but this musical interlude is a definite highlight (not to mention the shots of Jordan dunking in front of a sunset).