Rocky Morton, MJZ

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MJZ's Rocky Morton has been known to go to great lengths to infuse a job with the right vibe. He sprayed his set and cast with powder to give them a chocolate-looking feel, for a "Got chocolate milk?" spot, for example. But he's also demonstrated an ease with effects and an extra-dark sense of humor, seen in recent work for Starburst, Mike's Hard Beverages and his pain-free NHL campaign for Fox Sports, which earned Gold at this year's One Show. Not to mention his short film, M, for the 2003 Sony "Dreams" fest - an Alan Ball script in which a couple discusses marriage in the most ruthless of capitalist business terms.

What was the most challenging aspect of directing the latest round for Fox Sports? "Casting is always the biggest challenge, as we have to find performers who are 'real,' but are interesting to watch without being cartoony."

Was it a pain to direct people not to feel pain? "Some of the performances did involve physical pain, but I think that was easier for the actors to deal with that than with the mental pain I put them through."

What's the most important consideration for a commercials director? "Stamina."

Who are your major influences? "My children."

Do you have a milestone in your directing career? "When I hurled a 5-gallon can of red paint over the entire class at art school in London. At that point, I realized something about performance and the importance of reaction shots."

What's the most rewarding thing about your job? "Being in a position where ADD is an advantage."

What's your philosophy of getting great performances? "Try to let go of obsessive control but communicate a very strong and straightforward direction."

What kind of project haven't you done that you want to do? "Building a Mongolian yurt in my back garden."

What's the weirdest thing that's happened to you on a job? "An agency not wanting me to be involved in the postproduction."

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