The pandemic has changed the advertising business dramatically. For Kevin Sutton and Whiskey Bacon Club, change meant pivoting to an entirely new business.
“I was kind of forced into it from a budget standpoint,” Sutton explained. “Either I directed the commercials I was writing for my clients, or they didn’t get done.”
He admits that, at first, he resisted the notion.
“The last thing the word needs is another director,” Sutton pointed out. “But the pandemic sucked all the money out of budgets and suddenly, like most people in the business, I was being asked to do much more with much less.
So, he took the plunge into the world of commercial directing. But, first, he sought advice.
“A friend who’s a very successful director told me to just hire a great DP and act like you know what you’re doing,” Sutton revealed. “He joked that that’s worked for him all these years.”
Great advice. But Sutton sensed something was missing. Having been on sets for nearly thirty years as a writer of hundreds of commercials, he felt confident he could handle the role of casting and getting performances out of actors. But he felt he could use help with the visual aspect of directing. That’s when he stumbled up an out-of-the-box notion.
“I reached out to my friend Keith James at Republic Editorial and said, ‘I have a wild idea. You’ve edited thousands of commercials. You know how to put them together as well as anyone. What if you took everything you know about how to create a great commercial on your end of the process and applied it to other side of it?’”
James like the idea. And the directing team of Whiskey Bacon Club was born.
“It’s worked out really well,” James notes. “With Kevin taking the lead from the agency side, I didn’t have to quit my day job of editing. And on set, he and I developed a really smooth working relationship where he deals more with the talent and I deal more with the visualization.”
James adds, “Next thing you knew, we were shooting more and more for our clients, and we found ourselves with enough work to showcase a pretty legit director’s reel.”
The pandemic has forced a lot of companies to reassess. For Whiskey Bacon Company, it’s a whole new ballgame.
“When life hands you lemons, you make whiskey and bacon,” Sutton said.
Here is Whiskey Bacon Club’s reel.