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Zhou Ning – Directing Adman in China|周宁 — 中国的掌镜广告人

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Zhou Ning 周宁

Director Zhou Ning is an adman. Coming from advertising agency background, he shoots distinctive commercial films, and doesn’t seem to harbour movie ambitions like many of commercial directors. He evades to say exactly how long he’s been in the industry, but it’s long enough to remember the times when China had about only a dozen of local commercial directors. SHP+ met with Zhou Ning to talk about his work, his style, his ambitions and ended up discussing so-called difficult directors, humor, music, real emotions, creative thinking and Chinese style of advertising…

导演周宁是根正苗红的广告人。与很多心怀电影梦的商业片导演不同,广告代理背景的周宁擅长拍摄与众不同的广告片。虽然对于到底在这行做了多少年,他避而不谈,但凭记得中国仅有十几位本土广告导演的时代,他的资历绝不算浅。SHP+有幸采访到了周宁,我们探讨了他的作品,他的风格,他的野心,还讨论了所谓的“难搞的导演”,幽默,音乐,真情实感,创意思维以及中国自己的广告风格。

Having made a successful career as creative director in Ogilvy and JWT, Zhou Ning came to a point when he needed a change. The thrill of coming up with ideas for advertising was gone, and so was the interest to repeat same type of work. At the same time, the demand for more social, digital commercials soon skyrocketed as well as the demand for local directors. Zhou took his chance and took the other side.

虽然曾在奥美OgilvyJWT成功地做到了创意总监,周宁还是在某天意识到他需要改变。为广告做策划,想点子的生活已经不再有新鲜感,而日复一日重复性的工作也开始变得索然无味。与此同时,市场对于社交性媒体,数字化商业广告的需求愈发强烈,对本土导演也一样求贤若渴。周宁于是抓住了这个机遇,来到了行业的“另一边”。

It took me 2-3 years to shift from agency-type of thinking to director’s thinking”, shares Zhou Ning. “When creatives make storyboards, their objective is to be clear and to deliver a message to the audience. Often they lack visual knowledge, visual experience to know that you don’t have to be that explanatory. In camera you can achieve the same objective by letting the audience to make associations”. The experience of working from both agency and production sides is an advantage, that allows Zhou Ning to be very convincing.

我花了2-3年才从代理思维转换为导演思维”,周宁跟分享到,“创意人制作故事板,目的是为了能清楚地将需要表达的信息传达给观众。但由于缺乏相关视觉知识和视觉传达的经验,他们常常意识不到有时候话并不需要讲那么清楚。用镜头也能达到一样的效果,让观众产生共鸣。”既有代理经验又有制作经验绝对是个优势,周宁的话相当有说服力。

Honor | 七夕节特辑《影像情书》

His recent Honor commercial is completely different from the original script. “The subject was very good, but not the story. You can say I was very willful to shoot according to my ideas, but I saw it would benefit the final work, and it did. In the end, the client loved it”. This situation is an exception. By his own account, Zhou Ning is a non-conflictual person who listens to what others have to say respectfully and tries to keep everyone content. But lately he’s been doubting if those character traits do him more good than harm. “Does a director have to have inner strength, be inconveniently persistent, to create better works?” This question lingers in the air, because some directors have high standards, and insist on doing things a certain way not on a whim, but because it will benefit the quality of the spot. Yet they are considered “hard to work with”.

他最新的荣耀商业片就跟最初的剧本完全不同。“主题很好,但故事不佳。大家可能会觉得我固执己见地拍摄很任性,但我认为这样最终效果更好,结果也的确如此。最终作品也让客户非常满意”。当然这只是个例。根据周宁自己的描述,他是个不爱冲突,尊重他人言论,并努力让每个人都满意的人。但最近他开始怀疑,这样的性格对他来说是否真的利大于弊。“一个导演要想创作出更好的作品,是不是得要有一些内在的力量,一些不合群的执着?” 这个问题一直萦绕着我们,有些导演有很高的标准,并坚持以某种方式做事,这并非一时兴起的癖好,而是为了保证作品的质量。但这种导演往往被贴上“不好合作”的标签。

Zhou Ning is very careful also with words. When we mention there’s humor in a lot of his works, he’s not too keen on using this term. For him shooting purely comical commercial would not only be very difficult, but even painful. But when there’s a subtle humorous moment in the ad that lowers the degree of seriousness making it natural — that’s more what he’s after.

周宁措辞也十分谨慎。当我们提到他的很多作品中都有幽默元素时,他却并不喜欢用这个词。对他来说,拍摄纯粹喜剧商业电影不仅是非常困难的,甚至很痛苦。他更想要通过一幕微妙的幽默时刻,降低了片子的严肃程度,让气氛变得自然。

MG5

Zhou says his style is often positioned as “real life, more down to Earth”. He likes to make his actors playing more authentically, translating raw and real emotions, exactly like it would be in real life.

周宁说他的风格经常被定位为“真实的生活,更接地气”。他喜欢让他的演员去表现更真实的一面,将原生的,真实的情绪传达给观众,要有现实生活中的烟火气。

百威 x 爱不止一种 爱只有一种

Music is noticeably very important to him. He seems to be inclined to soulful sounds, old jazzy classics and vintage tunes. One of his favorite musicians right now is Tom Rosenthal, whose music he’s used in some works, surprised and excited to find out that the artist would be able to sell the rights of usage for an affordably reasonable price.

对他来说音乐显然也很重要。他似乎偏爱充满情绪的音乐,爵士经典和复古的曲调。汤姆·罗森塔尔(Tom Rosenthal)是他目前最喜欢的音乐家之一。他在几部广告中使用了他的音乐, 当发现这位艺术家不仅愿意出售使用权,出价还童叟无欺时,他真是又惊又喜.

Zhou admits there is lack of recognizable style of Chinese advertising compare even to the Asian neighbouring markets like Japan, Thailand, Singapore… And puts on a 2005 Nike commercial, the first Chinese ad to receive Cannes Lions, as a reference to the style that commercials made in China can be recognized for.

周宁承认,即便只与日本、泰国、新加坡等这些亚洲邻国相比,中国广告仍缺乏自己独有的风格……他为我们播放了耐克2005年的广告,这是首部荣获戛纳广告节奖项的中国广告,它或许可以是中国广告风格的一个参照。

Zhou Ning once again is an adman. He says, he “always liked this industry, because despite the value of relationships in China, the only standard is good work. Everything is judged and justified by your portfolio, and that’s the only thing that matters”. He also gives us a response to “Why do you continue wanting to be in advertising?”, a question he was first asked back in his creative times at Ogilvy to which he answers: “I want to contribute to elevating the aesthetics of younger generations that grow up influenced by ads. Like it or not”. Zhou Ning continues the mission and like the only ad standard he accepts, his portfolio speaks for itself.

周宁归根结底仍是一个广告人。他说他“一直很喜欢这行,尽管中国有很多人情世故,但业内唯一的标准是作品质量。你的作品集就是大家评价和议论的唯一标准,这才是最重要的事。”关于“你为什么还坚持留在广告界?”周宁回答这个问题并非是第一次了,早在他在奥美Ogilvy时就有人问过他,而他的回答是:“我想为提升年轻一代人的审美做出贡献,这些年轻人看着广告长大,不管喜不喜欢,都受到了广告的影响。” 周宁继续着自己的使命,这就像是他拍广告唯一接受的标准,而他的作品集就是对此最好的证明。

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