Oscar winner Armando Bo: 'An ambitious client is the most important thing'

The director and screenwriter, best known for his work on 'Birdman,' revealed that creativity doesn't come from one source in an intimate Q&A at the Brand Film Festival New York.

Armando Bo (L) and Judy John.
Armando Bo (L) and Judy John.

NEW YORK: Argentinean writer and director Armando Bo is best known for winning an Oscar and a Golden Globe for the screenplay for Birdman. Less known is that he also wrote and directed a 30-minute film for Qualcomm.

Bo created Lifeline, starring Olivia Munn and produced by Ogilvy New York and Anonymous Content for Qualcomm. The firm paid off because the brand was willing to take risks, he said.

"There’s a lot of space to create a story, characters," he said of the Shanghai-shot film. "I think an ambitious client is the most important thing, someone who wants to do something really meaningful…Everybody’s so afraid of changing."

Asked what advice he’d give to clients and agencies, his answer was the same for both: just create, especially given the amount of money spent on advertising.

"It’s so easy to be developing stuff," Bo said. "If I were a client, I’d be developing 20 projects at the same time."

He discussed his brand-film work with Judy John, CEO of Canada and chief creative officer of North America at Leo Burnett, at Campaign US’ and PRWeek US’ Brand Film Festival New York on Thursday night.

John started with a few softball questions for Bo like "meat or seafood?" and "what’s your favorite color?"—the answers are "meat" and "red," for the record—then focused on more pertinent questions, like whether he would shoot a six-second pre-roll ad often seen on YouTube.

His answer: maybe, and if he did, it would be one long shot. However, later in the Q&A, Bo said he’s not a fan of pre-roll ads because it’s frustrating "when you’re eager to see something and you can’t stop" the ad preceding it.

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