10. Baker Smith, Harvest

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"This year's been kind of a blur," Baker Smith says, sounding slightly flustered during an editing session for a major campaign he just shot for French Film giant Canal Plus. Who wouldn't be in a daze, considering everything that's happened lately? Last year in March, he and his business partner and executive producer Bonnie Goldfarb left Tate & Partners to launch their own production shop, Harvest in Santa Monica. Since then, the work and accolades have been aplenty. This year Smith received his first DGA nomination, thanks to black comedy gems like Black Rocket's "Cheryl & Me" for Lucky magazine (which took home a One Show Gold Pencil this year), Heineken's "Birth of Scratching" and TBWA/Chiat/Day's cautionary campaign for Fox Sports Major League Baseball. What makes him so in touch with his funny bone? "I don't know if I am funny," Smith insists, "but I do enjoy observing people. They make life so interesting in the little things they do. I can't help but notice the way someone is walking or sitting on a bench or reading the newspaper, or the way people eat their food or laugh or scratch the backs of their heads." Aside from his anthropological inclinations, his upbringing also had a lot to do with his dark comedic sensibility. Raised on a farm in Illinois, Smith spent a lot of his free time with his mom, who also happened to be the deputy coroner. "When I was a kid I used to ride around with her and pick up dead bodies," he casually mentions. "That's where a lot of my humor is derived from. If you can't find humor in that, then you have no soul."
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