Creativity 50 2010: Tom Kuntz

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In the past twelve months, Tom Kuntz has hit some major milestones. In February, he took home the coveted DGA award, after receiving his third nomination for the honor. He earned the nod for some of the year's most notable spots, including Cadbury's Eyebrow Dancing and Career Builder Tips. Months prior, he rose to the top of our charts as the year's most awarded director in our annual Creativity Awards Report. But even all of that doesn't take into account his more recent achievement of getting a man from a shower to a boat and then onto a horse--all in one take, for Old Spice. (The picture here, showing Kuntz with his daughter Nomi, hints at how he achieved that feat.) The spot, about a man so manly you wish your own man smelled like him has already has already started rumblings of pop culture phenomenon, with its actor Isaiah Mustafa getting lots of face time in the press. It's Kuntz's spot on sensibilities and his ability to make us feel like we just we're laughing for the first times in our lives, that makes him an evergreen on the Creativity 50 list. Here too, he makes his third appearance, but we hope that won't cramp his style. The DGA nod, for example, "is a wonderful affirmation of what I do for a living," he explains. "But it's always really scary to be given any label like that. I dread the idea of being someone 'on top.' I thrive on feeling like an outsider and I continue to feel like one, even after that award. It makes me want to really push myself this year into newer and more dangerous territory."

On how he judges whether he's been creatively successful on a project: I find that when something is working, you have this little feeling inside that tells you that what you just made is special. And then when you put it out into the world, the reaction can either sort of confirm this feeling or perhaps not. But in general I think that little feeling is most important thing I work towards.

On what he seeks to achieve when directing: I just try to do the material justice. When I read something, from that moment on, all I'm doing is continuing to make sure the end result matches that first image of the thing I had in my head. It's a control game--just continuing to align the pieces so that they vaguely resemble what I first found exciting and unique about a project.

See the rest of the 2010 Creativity 50 here.

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