Director, Pulse Films Los Angeles | Age: 28
Toronto-born, Los Angeles-raised director Alex Takacs began making videos under the awesome Young Replicant moniker while studying design at UCLA. “The film school wasn’t impressed by my daring admissions essay about a video shoot gone wrong so I studied English and graphic design instead,” he notes wryly. With a strong background in graphic arts, Takacs went on to direct promos for such A-list artists as the xx, Rihanna, Lorde, Purity Ring, Bonobo and Lorde, while his video for Flying Lotus, Coronus the Terminatorn was featured in the Saatchi New Directors Showcase at Cannes Lions. Other work has premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, SXSW and Camerimage. In 2018, he turned his attention to commercials, and he’s racked up spots for Pepsi, Sony, Rosetta Stone, 5 Gum, Fox’s Empire, BASF, and a standout adidas spot with Johannes Leonardo for the World Cup.
“Finding the creative heart of a music video or personal short film is intuitive,” he says. “You’re driven by an internal compass and the whole process thrives on a certain level of ambiguity. A good director knows when to allow chaos and circumstance to make its mark on the work. There’s a certain magic that comes from surfing the ebb and flow of uncertainty. In the advertising space, your compass is calibrated a little differently. There’s often multiple targets to hit, sometimes artistic and sometimes political. You have to be even more transparent in your choices, constantly shedding light on the creative calculus that goes on beneath the hood. It can be a rewarding process and reminds me a lot of design theory, where every visual detail in scrutinized in terms of intention and message.”
Talking about his style, Takacs says he tries to approach film “like a poem, in the sense that it’s vivid and sensorial, but the subtext is hidden. You can’t generate empathy by conveying an intellectual idea; you have to create a poetic space where an audience can recognize and discover themselves. The best work is really a mirror.” He’ll keep making music videos as “they’re a great medium for filmmakers, no matter where you are in your career. No other format is as open to risk taking and embracing new voices that aren’t so tied to traditional filmmaking. That’s why music videos have the power to shape culture in an effortless way, something advertising often aspires to do. I’d love to make features while keeping one foot in commercials. And finally sell out so I can start death-racing Teslas for a spot in the bio-dome.”