- Monday, Feb. 13, 2017
- LOS ANGELES
Production house atSwim has signed director Shane Valdes for exclusive commercial representation in the U.S. and Europe. Valdes is probably best known for his comedic spots for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kmart and Bud Light as well as a music video for Butch Walker titled “Synthesizers” and starring Matthew McConaughey.
“Twenty minutes talking with Shane convinced me he was the comedy director we were looking for,” said Swim L.A. executive producer Michael Appel. “Our business is about sharing ideas and collaborating with creatives, and that’s where Shane shines. His recent campaign for Harvey’s is just great work.”
For his part, Valdes felt it was time to leave Wondros, his roost of four years and a place he feels really developed his talent. “David O. Russell, Antoine Fuqua, Mark Pellington, Sophie Muller, Chris Applebaum, Jesse Dylan... they were all instrumental in my development as a director,” he said. “I learned about how to take all my ideas and experiments, turn them into treatments and get agencies excited about the possibilities.”
Engineered for directing
Valdes didn’t start his career as a director. Growing up in Las Vegas, he was following in his father’s footsteps as an engineer, working on developing some of the region’s biggest casino projects. “Training as an engineer, I learned how to visualize in detail how people would utilize the space, something that has helped me immensely as a director,” said Valdes. “Imagining these huge projects, I was brought up with the mindset that nothing was impossible. I still feel that way.”
Directing a funny short was what kick started Valdes’ filmmaking career. Titled 19 Miles To Vegas, the barely seven-minute movie explores a band’s desire to hit the big time by moving from Boulder City to Las Vegas. Once there, the motley trio goes nowhere, until they learned how to properly brand the band. Their shtick? A band that plays nothing. Total silence sweeps the airwaves as their fame and fondness for recreational drugs grow. Their ride to the top, however, ends abruptly when another band with a more charismatic frontman plays the same sweet nothings.
Music video work followed. Artist Butch Walker was drawn to Valdes, asking him to direct his “Synthesizers” music video, starring his friend McConaughey. Valdes also did a documentary on the man and his music. Valdes would do the same with the Vegas punk/baroque rock/alternative group, Panic! at the Disco, chronicling the band’s slow burn to stardom and critical acclaim.
Valdes loves commercial work and the ideation creation it affords him. “I love making comedy of real situations,” he said. Valdes points to his spot for KFC titled “Stealing Chicken”, where two robbers bolt from their vintage Trans Am and explode into the store. They’re not looking for cash from the register; they just want all the chicken. “The spot was a funny way to highlight all the different kinds of chicken offered up by the restaurant, something the two cons didn’t know about, having just been released from jail,” said Valdes. His most recent campaign titled “Bonanza” for Harveys Supermarkets features a hysterical group of cowboys (and one cowgirl) corralling shopping carts and literally whipping prices down on all items in the store.
atSwim maintains offices in Los Angeles, New York, London and Prague. The company’s NY EP is David Schiavone.