When asked about what their goals are in this business, "It's never to get too good at anything," half-jokes Valerie Faris of the husband-and-wife directing team professionally known as Dayton/Faris. "She's right," adds Jonathan Dayton. "It's boring for us when we feel like we know something too well." Perhaps it's this being just shy of "too good" that has allowed the couple to successfully steer clear of any pigeonhole since they started directing together in the early '80s, first as students at UCLA and then on the MTV series The Cutting Edge. Their reel features an array of VW classics, from the dreamily elegant "Milky Way" for the Cabriolet, to Pythonesque comedy in spots for the Beetle. There are also accomplished ads for the Gap as well as music video effects stunners for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for whom they just directed their first live-action chase adventure. The latest charmers include heartwarming storytelling for VW Passat, as well as the clutter-busting teenybopper bottle campaign for Snapple and Deutsch. "For a while I felt kind of frustrated that people didn't seem to understand what we did," recalls Dayton. "We were neither here nor there. Now it probably thrills us more than anything not to be pigeonholed. We don't always know what we're going to get boardwise, which is great. It would be so sad if it were just one effects job after another. It may be a MasterCard spot where we're working with 3-year-olds, followed by a chase scene where we're working with the Chili Peppers. That's good livin.' "