Director Richard Sears, whose credits include work for Toyota, Citgo, Nissan and AT&T, has joined Los Angeles-based A Common Thread for exclusive, national representation. Sears has earned high regard for his storytelling skills, which he has applied to genres ranging from dialogue-driven comedy to documentary/lifestyle advertising. He provides A Common Thread with a proven talent, versatility and a reputation as an innovator.
"Richard offers the complete package: he brings a fresh perspective, but he also has the experience of having directed more than 100 spots," says A Common Thread EP J.P. McMahon. "He has great ideas and he knows how to execute them. He has all the qualities you need to have longevity in this business."
Sears' recent work includes a series of documentary-style spots for Citgo's "Fueling Good" branding campaign. The spots follow Citgo "ambassadors" Adam and Diego on a road trip through Texas as they visit local attractions and promote the company's rewards program.
Sears' approach to the project combined careful planning with improvisation. "It was a massive undertaking," he recalls. "There were no scripts, just two guys in a van driving from Houston to Corpus Christi."
"We did a lot of location scouting to find interesting places to visit, but we didn't want it to be overly planned. We wanted the guys to discover things, like you do on a road trip. So, while the crew and I knew where we were going each day, the two guys did not. That kept it spontaneous."
Other recent projects include a campaign for utility giant Entergy and a public service campaign for the Women's Fund on teen pregnancy and STDs. The latter employs provocative visuals to counter common myths young people have about sex. "My approach to every project is to determine how best to tell the story," Sears observes. "What are the visuals that connect with the story? What is the most meaningful and powerful way to tell it?"
Sears first gained notoriety when his short film An Evil Town, which he made while attended the San Francisco Art Institute, was awarded Le Semaine de la Critique at Cannes. That led directly to his first commercial assignment, a campaign for ESPN via Wieden + Kennedy, and to an opportunity to direct a feature film, the cult classic Bongwater. Signed initially for commercials by HKM, Sears went on to build a successful career that included projects for Shout, Dairy Queen, Neosporin and Bausch & Lomb.
Sears has won Clio Awards for his work for Sony PlayStation (Klutz), Nissan (7 Days in a Sentra), the Washington (State) Department of Health (Cold Turkey) and Labatt (Food Fight). He also has won numerous awards for his short films including Best Short Film at the New York Underground Film Festival for An Evil Town, the Canal+ Filmmaker's Award for Laughing Out Loud, Best Short Film at the Sonoma Film Festival for The Breaks and a Platinum Award at Houston Worldfest for Taco Bender.
At A Common Thread, Sears is focusing on broadening the scope of his work and extending its reach to new brands and agencies. "I like that fact that A Common Thread is a boutique and one that enjoys wide respect among ad agencies," he explains. "And I look forward to working with J.P. He has an inventive creative mind, and he does the 'business' right. That's a great combination."
Sears is currently in pre-production with two feature projects, Texas Lullaby, for IFT and producer Gina Amoroso, and Bottom of the World, starring Diego Boneta and Gillian Zinser.