Don and John sign with HSI

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Former creatives Don Shelford and John Knecht have signed to HSI for commercials representation as a directing team, simply known as "Don and John." Shelford and Knecht are both award-winning creatives - Shelford had been an art director at Arnold, on spots like VW's "Bubble Boy" and Knecht had been a copywriter at Goodby on commercials like the Frank Budgen-directed "Next Shift." The pair first worked together at Goodby, but later moved to Amsterdam, where Shelford was a GCD at Wieden and Knecht was a copywriter at 180. There they started collaborating on music video treatments and "realized how much fun we were having," says Shelford. "It didn't feel like work. We got together as a directing team because we were hoping one of us would know what do to." The pair has shot all of one video for Baby Boy Da Prince's "This is the Way" and are eager to tackle more. "Because there are two of us, we feel we can surround a story from two sides and then, with our combined brain power, coax it in the right direction," Knecht says. "So far we've found that every story requires a different approach. If lions attacked water buffalo the same way each time they'd have all their teeth knocked out." The team gives props to director Paul Hunter, with whom Knecht had worked on HP's "Mash Up" and who has mentored them during their transition. "Paul Hunter is our Godbrother," says Shelford. "We're just getting started with his teachings, from his immense work ethic, to the zen-like way he handles stress, to how quickly he can get Pharrell on the phone to talk about an idea. He has so much going on and still, you know he's got your back." (Ann-Christine Diaz)
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