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The Directors: Maxi Blanco


Landia director on reading scripts five times in a row, always seeking to tell a story and why team work is essential

The Directors: Maxi Blanco

Maxi Blanco, graphic designer, began directing at Landia after years working as a flame artist in Argentina. Over time he has added to his amazing visuals, fluid storytelling and sensitive interpretations which have earned him two Lions at Cannes in recent years, among other recognitions. After more than a decade living in London, the last years he’s been living in Madrid and works all around the world. 

Name: Maxi Blanco

Location: Madrid, Spain

Repped by/in: Landia

Awards: Two Cannes Lions: Security Cams for Coca Cola, Axe, Young and Mature

LBB> What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Maxi> The explicit difference of the scripts is: whether a script is Narrative or Entertainment. The narrative, immerse us in creating a story with its characters and extracts emotions for the viewer, where the product is a natural part of the story and the emotion, without forcing the elements. And the Entertainment one is completely another story: resources, codes and languages begin to play and we look for another type of emotion for the viewer, where the visual wins over the narrative arc.

I like both paths, and there is something in common in both about my work: that in each of them I always seek to tell a story.

LBB> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

Maxi> I read the script five times in a row, then I grab three people around me, whoever it is, and I tell them to read it to me twice, only then can I start and approach the project, and the first thing I do is start with triggers from my favourite place in the world, The Magnum Photographers Agency. That is my first point of creation, from those portraits of such sensitive and talented Photographers who knew how to be in the right place at the right time, and if they weren't… they created it.

LBB> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

Maxi> I believe that each project is independent of the market, it is a message, and like any message there is a sender and a receiver, and it acts independently of the idiosyncrasies of each place. If there is a historical fact, it obviously requires rigorous investigation. But the strategic is something to discuss with the agency and the project brief document, if required. They are the ones who communicate it to me and can help us with the needed context.

Magnum: The Kiss of Dante & Beatrice

LBB> For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

Maxi> The most important relationship is with the agency and the brand, I am an innate believer in teamwork, the inputs of each one are what makes the project different, I absorb and nourish myself from that, obviously I am the one who executes on the set, but their participation is the main one at the time of pre-production and I like to take each step together.

LBB> What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

Maxi> I'm passionate about my work, and I don't think I must have a particular genre or style. I like to tell stories, it seems like a cliché… but it is so. Am I cliché then?

LBB> What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

Maxi> Wow, I was a flame artist for six years of my life, even though I see the Matrix in terms of VFX, it doesn't mean I'm passionate about using it in all my projects. I understand it, I control it, but enough with transitions and camera movements!!! In 30 seconds, 15 seconds of our history are stolen!

LBB> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

Maxi> If there’s ever been one, we all have encountered it, MONEY!

And we also know the solution, and we believe in it: A MIRACLE

LBB> How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

Maxi> I believe I mentioned it before, teamwork is essential, as long as that teamwork is positive and adds to the idea. I don't think there is any other way. And my job is to be the nexus between all that, since we enter the final step of the relationship between Agency and Client, I must absorb, interpret and execute that relationship the best way possible. Always trying to protect that project and that relationship.

LBB> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

Maxi> I am in a constant learning process myself, the day I feel like I don't do it anymore... I'll retire!

And helping others is something I am always open to. Not only helping them but learning from them as well.

LBB> How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time?

Maxi> I tend not to speak about the pandemic, sorry. It's something I keep between me and my therapist. 

LBB> Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)?

Maxi> The content is important, the packaging can be different and everything adapts. When there are good ideas, the format is not so relevant. 

Lipton: Kericho

LBB> What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work?

Maxi> I am a Nerd. That says everything.

LBB> Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why?

Maxi> Magnum. The Kiss of Dante & Beatrice. Director´s cut - Just before we spoke, a historical fact, where the investigation was very deep, and the realisation and process was a pleasure.

Sprite. The weight of the day. Director's cut - Simple, fun and very complex to execute, I love that combo, that challenge.

McDonalds. Night Run - Such a simple idea, but with many narrative elements, a great story told in 30 seconds, where the story arc creates a different idea from what it reveals at the end.

Lipton. Kericho. Director´s cut - The perfect balance between storytelling and entertainment. Elegant above all things.

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Landia, Fri, 26 May 2023 15:49:20 GMT