The Next Wave: Greg Gray, Velocity Afrika

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"If I've got a pigeonhole, it's a cricket locker that I've been shoved into in the far corner of some gymnasium room," laughs Greg Gray,referring to his recent spate of work themed around the sport since he started directing out of Velocity Afrika in South Africa. Not to knock it, the work's all drop-dead funny, especially that for the ICC Cricket World Cup, which reinterpret the sport's lingo in the form of people's bumbling mishaps. "It has nothing to do with my cricketing skills, I assure you," the 36-year old Gray insists. Rather, his talents are most apt behind the camera, where even after only a year of being an official helmer, he's already demonstrating the ease of a veteran. A 14-year veteran, to be exact. That's how long Gray spent as first assistant director to seasoned South African directors like Giaco Angelini and Keith Rose. Currently Gray has yet to helm a spot for the U.S., although no doubt he'd fare as well for ESPN as he would for Jif, considering the cricket jobs and his disarming spot for Black Cat peanut butter, of all things. A sense of real-life fun and dead-on performances pervade frenzied scenes of toddler artists who halt mid-masterpieces when one of their classmates literally pulls the rug from under them, apparently thanks to a serving of the peanut butter. There's also his docu-humor for Nike, in which a young boy wends through his rundown neighborhood to what appears a church, where the congregation cheers in praise to a "minister" who turns out to be a television broadcasting a soccer game.
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