Great. Creative Close-Up (aka: CCU) is our new column featuring various people from the international field of creative industries. We're trying to get to know their backgrounds, their inspirations, their takes on creativity, on advertising, on "life" – and other mundane things. We hope these articles are going to be instructive, educational and fun to read. And yes, these texts will be in English, for certain technical reasons (i.e. convenience and practicality mixed with laziness to translate them into Hungarian).
In this episode we've talked to Paolo Doppieri, director/screenwriter.
Paolo studied American Cinema & Literature / History of Theatre and Performance attending respectively Franco La Polla's and Franco De Marinis' classes (University of Bologna, Foreign Languages Dept.).
He started working as an indie film and documentary maker and has been rewarded by several national and foreign festivals ever since. He progressively established himself as director and author of music videos, corporate films and commercials commissioned by several well-known international companies (as seen on mainstream TV channels in Europe and the US).
In 2016 he joined AIR3 (Italian Directors Guild). His accurate and emotional style is a combination of his passion for classic cinema with his experimentation of new technologies and languages. Paolo is currently working on his debut projects in movie directing.
Advertising Chronicles: Where were you born. And why?
Paolo: I came into the world in a quiet town upon the hills surrounded by medieval city walls and nestled in the countryside a few kilometres from the sea.
If you imagine Italy as a boot, I was born on the calf. The same spot in which my parents, two impeccable and quite traditional teachers, had grown up and met.
And that's it – I guess they were keen to achieve their idea of family by having an heir that could make them proud and reflect their values… that's why they had other kids ;-)
What was your first encounter with creativity?
My first creative experiences are strongly related to sickness.
When I was a child I was quite delicate and I would spend a lot of time confined to bed. At that time my best friend was my grandfather, who used to visit me very often bringing coloring books as a gift. However, that drawings felt cramped to me and after a promising beginning I started to alter and warp them. My mother would prompt me to color within the lines and disapprove my inclination to overflow, to no avail.
My grandfather didn't: he encouraged me to go my way. Grandpa Alberto, a slender man with piercing eyes who had survived the horror of trench warfare, has been my mentor.
If you had a time machine, where would you travel? Why?
Istinctively, I would like to beam me up into the caravan of one of those travelling theatre companies which during the XVI century used to wander across Europe giving rise to the revolutionary phenomenon of all-Italian “Commedia dell'Arte”. However, I have issues with other people's body odor, so I cannot consider times and contexts in which personal hygiene wasn't at least appreciated.
That's why I would opt for Cinecittà during the early '60s, where besides the Dolce Vita there were a great artistic buzz, an amazing technological experimentation, and a marked tendency towards the deprovincialization of Italian products, which at that time were often taken as an example and could aspire to conquer international markets much more than they do now.
What is most important lesson you want to teach your daughter?
Now my daughter is the same age I was when she was born, and I must accept that it's probably too late to teach her anything.
Nevertheless, if I still had the opportunity to give her some advice I would tell her to never understimate the passing of time and never waste it.
Something that's true with respect to both professional goals and the affective realm.
What was the most important lesson you learnt from your parents?
Even if they knew I was the black sheep of the family, my parents never stopped supporting me and encouraging me to believe in my abilities.
Even though my mother didn't understand my tastes and interests, she taught me to be determined and never be daunted by failures.
Moreover, she and my dad have always been an invaluable example of dignity and unselfishness to me.
How did you get into advertising?
When I was a child I wanted to be a cartoonist, then I discovered how cool the AV world is. I chose to become a director because I like telling stories and my background is strongly influenced by music and cinema – that's why I started with short films and documentaries. Then some friends from Milan introduced me in the world of music videos, which gave me the opportunity to experiment different technologies and visual languages. When my precocious paternity and the need to earn a living prompted me to find a more profitable branch, advertising was the most natural turn.
Today I'm ready for a new twist.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Nothing can absorb me and take me higher than music. I have a rock soul, but thanks to my father I had the chance to explore also classical and modern music, favouring French music from the early XX century.
My background (and thus my work) has been strongly shaped also by the bands that marked my teenage years, ranging from German krautrock to Italian progressive rock and British new wave.
As I look for inspiration in everything, today I listen almost to any kind of music: Debussy, NIN, Morricone, Billie Eilish… all sorts of things except the latest Italian indie rock, because it really sucks.
What's your creative project you're most proud of?
In 2004 I wrote and directed “Dopplereffekt”, a music video that you can still find on my YouTube channel. Although now it looks just as old as it is, it still thrills me. That's a project I'm really proud of for a number of reasons, especially sentimental ones. It may be the most visionary and personal of all my videos, and it gave me the opportunity to experiment techniques and visual ideas that still prove to be very useful.
Moreover, it features some amazing biomechanical insects that creep on the naked body of the performer in a dreamlike rapture I never depicted again.
Is there a defining moment in your own carreer?
My own nature is unrestful and perennially unfulfilled. I think that it's too soon to answer this question.
Anyway, I admit that I'm well aware of a number of small and big accomplishments that, step by step, helped me advance in my career path. One of my fondest memories is my wife looking moved and thrilled at the end of the screening of my first 35 mm short film, “The Vanishing Killer”, at Torino Film Festival.
In her eyes I found the same satisfaction I was feeling about having finally reached a cinema audience – even if it was the elitist one you usually find at festivals.
What do you consider a defining moment in the history of advertising?
The first Macintosh TV commercial by Ridley Scott, I guess.
It was broadcasted only once on January the 22th, 1984, during the Super Bowl. It was the first time (or the first I'm aware of) that a commercial was announcing a technological breakthrough in relation to a specific product without ever showing it. They were definitely light years ahead!
The most boring thing in the world?
Who's your favourite hero of fiction?
Definitely Snake Plissken, the main character of John Carpenter's '80s cult movie “Escape from New York”.
“It's the survival of the human race, Plissken. Something you don't give a shit about.”
Sweet or salty? Elvis or The Beatles? Beer or wine?
Sweet'n'Sour; the Beatles of the White Album; Beer......Vodka & Ginger Beer.
Your favourite brand?
Playstation. Do you remember the 1999 TV commercial?
It was titled “Mental Wealth”, by the visionary English multimedial artist Chris Cunningham. It was a brutal, sick video marked by astonishing photorealistic effects. That's how Playstation is: realistic and astonishing.
Recently I have been playing Uncharted 4, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Last of Us 2. I favor open-world video games because I found them really relaxing. When I play with my Playstation I feel like I'm in a movie theatre right in the dim light of my home. It's a very cool brand with an amazing communication style.
The greatest invention in the history of mankind?
The sushi conveyor belt in Japanese restaurants.
What's the most beautiful word? Yes, WORD.
What's your favourite traffic sign?
When I was a child I had a thing for the Uneven Road Sign because the two humps reminded me of boobs, and I have always had a thing for boobs.
Nevertheless, now I prefer the Deer Crossing Sign because of its implicit reference to life in the wild.
What has the Covid-quarantine taught you?
The combination of forced reclusion, the exhaustion of my liquor supply, and the proliferation of creative outpouring on social media (and on terraces worldwide…) reminded me that freedom of thought and expression can produce catastrophic and preposterous effects hahaha.
Moreover, thanks to the lockdown I have rediscovered meditation and the pleasure of sex during business hours.
Finish the sentence: For me creativity is...