MICHAEL DI GIROLAMO,CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AT STATION FILM (US)
A native New Yorker, Michael’s career began when he walked into the New York offices of RSA Films and asked for a job as a PA. Today, as a partner and executive producer at bicoastal/international Station Film, he manages some of the best directors in the business while nurturing the next generation of young talent. “We all got here because someone gave us a chance and believed in us, and this to me is what makes our business great: mentoring others and giving back”, he says.
How did you decide that you wanted to get into this business?
I was a huge fan of Ridley Scott and Tony Scott. While I was a runner at MTV in NYC, I found out that Ridley directed the iconic Chanel commercials from the early ‘80s. I remember thinking to myself: “I want to be in a business that can transport you into a world of fantasy through visual storytelling”. And who can forget that memorable voiceover: “I am made of blue sky and golden light”. Seriously?
You say that your career started when you walked into the New York offices of RSA Films and asked for a job. What do you remember of your first day there?
I had to pinch myself and was grateful to have my foot in the door. The journey had begun… Even though, on my first day someone showed me where the vacuum was and I began my day by removing all colored pushpins from the bulletin boards. We had to adhere to a strict all black palette.
What do you love about your job?
We all got here because someone gave us a chance and believed in us, and this to me is what makes our business great: mentoring others and giving back. As a business, we have an opportunity to make a positive difference and raise people’s consciousness through meaningful and thought provoking ads. To me that is pretty fuckin’ awesome.
What’s the coolest project you’ve been involved in?
Shooting a Madonna video on a Brooklyn sound stage for her Sticky & Sweet tour.
And what was your worst job?
Shooting a Madonna video on a Brooklyn sound stage for her Sticky & Sweet tour. It’s never a good experience when you work with your idol and they turn out to be unkind to you and your crew, who work so hard to make something great. Madonna actually jumped off stage while the director was shooting and screamed at the dolly grip for moving too slow and then demonstrated how to move it herself in 6-inch spiked stilettos.
In percentage terms, what’s more important in advertising: the idea or the execution?
It always started with a good idea; there are 20 different ways to skin a cat. One great concept can be executed in so many ways, depending on which director you choose.
Is there something you don’t like (or hate) about the advertising industry?
I’m a lover not a hater, but all I can say is don’t take yourself too seriously. My motto is be thankful, be truthful and be yourself.
What was your biggest challenge in your life as a producer?
What is your favorite ad ever?
Insert Levi’s work from BBH here. Forget Calvin Klein. BBH made 501’s cool again. To this day, I still wear white boxers because of Levi’s Laundrette. Also, I had the opportunity to work with Michel Gondry at Partizan, and for me his Levi’s Drugstore spot is far & away my favorite ad. It’s just perfect from concept to its flawless execution. Visual storytelling at its finest accented by a track from Biosphere, which to me is the cherry on top of an already perfect spot.
Have you ever been to Berlin?
This will be first visit to Berlin and I’m looking forward to judging the Ciclope Festival with an acclaimed international jury. My friends tell me that Berlin today is a lot like NYC of the ‘80s. Having grown up in NY during that time, I have a lot to look forward to minus the rat tail.