` In conversation with: EyeCandy - Directory

In conversation with: EyeCandy

Step into the immersive world of director Greg Ferro, a creative visionary renowned under two distinct personas: Greg Ferro and EyeCandy. What’s the story behind this duality? What’s the difference between working in the European and Asian market? And at the heart of it all, why it will always be about storytelling and emotions. Join us in exploring Greg’s cinematic journey.

Agnieszka Celej: You have two director’s identities – Greg Ferro and EyeCandy. What is the story behind them?

Greg Ferro: Just over 10 years ago, I was merely a live-action director, but I wasn’t satisfied with the direction my career was taking. I was only receiving boring or horrifying storyboards. So, I decided to take a year off and study photography to give a new direction to my work. I went to New York and while studying photography, I became passionate about high-speed photography. Then, during a meeting at the Cannes Lions festival, I met a talented Tabletop Executive Producer who convinced me to explore these techniques. But my name wasn’t fitting, I needed a new name, and that’s how EyeCandy was born. In essence, it’s a rebranding, a pure marketing operation. After all, that’s what we do, right?

What does high speed and moco mean to you today?

I’ve always found the world to be more beautiful through a lens, and once I discovered high-speed photography, I never let it go. For me, it’s like entering a magical world, seeing something that is not visible to the naked eye. It’s absolutely the ultimate desire for me. However, I’m a bit more critical when it comes to Motion Control. In my opinion, there was a period when it was overused, at the expense of the beauty of the image and storytelling. Yes, even tabletop requires storytelling to be effective! First and foremost, there should be the beauty of a well-photographed image. A beautifully captured slow-motion scene should evoke emotions without the need for camera movements. Motion Control should enhance that magic, but for years it was overused, compromising the image quality. Let me give you a positive example – FoodFilm. They have created extraordinary campaigns revolutionizing the genre without ever needing to use Motion Control. Personally, I say: thank you!

Storytelling versus visual aesthetics. What comes first?

Even though I’m a director/cinematographer who has always focused on the beauty of the image, I respond in a very direct and simple way…

Storytelling is the past, present, and future of communication. And that will never change, whether it’s live action or making hamburgers fly, our task is to tell a story. And it’s the most beautiful job in the world.

How has your work changed in the last 2-3 years?

It has changed and is changing a lot. Whereas before I wouldn’t shoot unless everything was perfect, now I aim for integration with live action by shooting in real environments. It’s a slightly more punk approach, both in photography and production. Before, it was high-speed or nothing, but now I’ve shot campaigns with a smartphone, and I have to say that I like them. However, it’s a personal sentiment that doesn’t necessarily represent the direction we’re heading in. It’s more of a methodology that stems from my background as a live-action director, particularly with a documentary-style approach. In essence, my style is maturing, and it’s what I believe will bring me more satisfaction.

Is there any particular work you are most proud of?

I love working with liquids, and I enjoy being involved in the creative process right from the start. So, I’ll mention two projects that may not be particularly big but truly represent me: BREWDOG PUNK IPA and BULLEI BOURBON.

What part of the production process excites you the most?

The creative one! Often, right from the beginning, I collaborate with agencies, but even when I join in during the more traditional pitch phase, that part completely absorbs me. I can fully express my inner nerd by studying both creative solutions and techniques, spending nights watching the works of my colleagues to understand the direction we’re heading in. This is the part I prefer, the creativity, and then the pre-production phase. Honestly, being on set, if I don’t have actors, can be a bit boring at times! Haha.

Do you stick to any creative routine while preparing your treatments?

I always follow my treatments, although I don’t hide the fact that I have collaborators who assist me. I strive to innovate and don’t stick to a single style. I work in completely different markets, and over the years, I’ve come to understand better what European agencies or those in Southeast Asia, for example, are looking for. Sometimes I propose more traditional treatments with only images, while other times I offer treatments that focus solely on video. The latter approach can be highly effective with clients who may be new to tabletop productions. Visuals in video format can provide a more immersive and engaging experience, helping clients understand the potential impact of tabletop productions.

You are based both in Milan and Bangkok. What are the main differences between the European and Asian market?

The differences between the two markets are vast. Firstly, there’s the relationship between the agency and the client. In Europe, I notice that clients have more trust in agencies and are more willing to let them take the lead. In Asia, this happens much less frequently, as clients have a more central role in every production and leave less room for creative direction. However, in Asia, there is still a strong attachment to the symbolism of imagery, and this is an aspect that excites me.

During a pre-production meeting in Bangkok or Singapore, for example, there is always a part where I have to explain the symbolic connection between the scene we’ll be shooting and the product. This “old school” creativity aspect greatly fascinates me.

In Europe, I don’t experience that as much; things are a bit more straightforward, perhaps because the funds have run out, haha!

What are the major challenges you observe in the changing market? 

When it comes to tabletop, we’re dealing with a highly technical field that often requires complete control over lighting, movement, special effects, and more. These elements come with significant costs, and the advertising industry, unfortunately, is not currently experiencing its most prosperous season. The challenge will be to work with increasingly lower budgets while raising the quality day by day. This will require not only great ideas but also Executive Producers who believe in this new reality. In essence, we’ll need to be creative even in production to overcome these constraints and deliver exceptional results.

Do you already apply AI into your work?

The study of ChatGPT and MidJorney, among other things, takes up a significant amount of time in my workday, but it represents a revolution for our profession. It provides incredible assistance and accomplishes in a few months what would have taken 10 to 20 years otherwise. It’s amazing and wonderful. I confess, I’m completely fascinated by it!

Can you share any advice or insights for aspiring directors who are looking to make their mark in the industry?

The advice is simple: study, study, study! Nowadays, study resources are accessible to everyone. Each era has its own reference masters. For me, the directors who have greatly influenced different styles in this field, and whose every single work I know, are Vittorio Sacco, Ronald Koetzier, Foodfilm, and, in recent years, Ruben Latre. What sets them apart, along with the most skilled professionals in this field, is that they also serve as their own Directors of Photography. This aspect is indispensable because in tabletop, you don’t have actors to direct. You must focus on telling a story with inanimate objects, and it’s crucial to use light as a storytelling tool. So, study intensively, even the seemingly boring aspects.


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