Daniel Huntley is the News Editor & Social Media Manager at shots. Launched in 1990, the platform showcases cutting-edge international creativity. Daniel searches for inspiration in diverse cultural spheres... games, movies, music, ads... He told us a little bit about his views on the evolution of advertising film production.
What inspired you to become a journalist and how did you get into the profession?
I worked in the games industry for over a decade and decided to move sideways with my career and I just happened to land at shots. This was mainly due to my love of music videos, short films and cinema, and just a bit of luck really. So I have been just getting stuck in over the years attending events, judging on award shows and getting to know the industry, nothing crazy really. I love my job, it’s a good laugh also and you meet some eccentric folk, which I enjoy.
You have many activities. Can you describe what you do and who you write for? What are you up to these days?
I am the News Editor and Social Media Manager at shots. This role involves posting all news section content on the site. Alongside that I oversee the social content across the shots network. I also curate the Playlist features concentrating on music video folk. In addition, I compile the shots Unsigned database, which is focussing on global unsigned directorial talent, and curate the monthly ‘shots Unsigned’ showcase, together with monthly interviews with directors about their projects. And if that wasn’t enough I often conduct various interviews with directors, primarily focussing on feature-film, unsigned and music video content.
Currently at shots we are all preparing for Cannes Lions, and locking in our comedy focus content for next month. It then usually it gets a little “quiet” after Cannes… I wonder why?
What essential qualities and skills do journalists need to thrive in today’s media landscape?
In adlands constantly evolving media landscape, journalists require a combination of essential qualities and skills to thrive. For example a willingness to learn, adaptability, and critical thinking and skepticism. Journalists must possess strong critical thinking skills to understand complex issues, evaluate multiple perspectives, and challenge the readers assumptions. A healthy dose of skepticism and fact-checking are essential to ensure accurate and reliable reporting. By cultivating these qualities and skills, journalists can navigate the dynamic media landscape, produce impactful stories, and maintain the public's trust in the profession.
Lastly you need to have a real passion for what you do. This is kinda obvious but so true, as if you care about doing the work, it should come easy, and therefore the job doesn’t feel like a job.
As a member of the Epica Awards jury, how do you approach evaluating and selecting the best creative work from around the world?
With my experiences on judging with Epica, I felt it was a very relaxed judging atmosphere, and therefore a free flowing impartial discussion came easy. So for me it’s just about being honest and putting your neck on the line to say you rate something higher than others, plenty of times I have been a sole supporter of certain work, that was absolutely crucified by my peers, but that’s just their opinion, and we all have one, so no hard feelings! We are here to give balanced opinions so it only makes sense that sometimes there are disagreements.
How important is the relationship between journalism and the creative community, and how can it be further strengthened?
I think that the relationship between journalism and the creative community is crucial and holds significant importance for both fields. Journalism focuses on reporting and disseminating news and information, whereas the creative community encompasses artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, and other creatives who contribute to the cultural fabric of society. The interaction between journalism and the creative community can lead to a more vibrant and informed society by fostering collaboration, critical thinking, and social engagement.
To further strengthen the relationship we should continue to create dedicated platforms or sections within news outlets that specifically focus on covering the arts, culture, and creative industries. This allows journalists to engage with the creative community and provide regular coverage of their work.
What are the most memorable campaigns or creative projects you've covered and what made them stand out for you?
I have said this before, and I will say it again, Burger King’s The Moldy Whopper campaign from David, INGO, and Publicis, just hit all the right spots for me, I will have seconds please!
I find so much of Burger King’s deliverables appealing, I don’t know why? Maybe it’s because I am a simple man who enjoys burgers, and who is also a… king?
How do you stay informed and updated on the latest trends and developments in the creative industry?
My shots inbox is inundated with content from adland, so I am unknowingly consuming information all day. I should be a fountain of knowledge, but my memory is awful…
In my personal life I actually subscribe to multiple RSS feeds using The Old Reader, which is a web-based news aggregator that delivers website, blog, and other internet content to a web-based inbox. I find this is the easiest way for me to navigate film, fashion, and food. My three most cherished pastimes! I can also easily save eye-catching content for future reference. I also browse shots, and competitor sites when time allows.
By featuring achievements, challenges, and experiences, journalists can inspire others and demonstrate that talent and creativity are not limited to a specific demographic.
How has advertising film production evolved in recent years in your opinion, and where are we heading?
Recently from what I have seen advertising film production has undergone significant changes and continues to evolve rapidly. A key trend that seems to be shaping a part of the industry is that attention spans have shortened, and advertisers have recognised the need to deliver their message quickly and succinctly.
Short-form content, such as 6-second bumper ads or vertical videos for mobile devices, has gained prominence. Advertisers are challenged to capture viewers' attention and convey their brand message effectively within a shorter time frame. Advertisers have clearly realised that engaging narratives and authentic storytelling can leave a lasting impact on consumers, helping to build brand loyalty and drive engagement.
As for what the future holds for advertising film production… I think it will continue to adapt to evolving technology, consumer behaviour, and societal trends. The focus will likely remain on creating compelling and engaging content that resonates with viewers while leveraging advancements in technology to deliver personalised and interactive experiences.
What role do you see journalism playing in promoting and advocating for diversity and inclusion within the creative industry?
I think a great way is for journalism to shine a spotlight on success stories of individuals from underrepresented groups within the creative industry. By featuring their achievements, challenges, and experiences, journalists can inspire others and demonstrate that talent and creativity are not limited to a specific demographic.
Who are your role models or mentors in journalism and the creative world? And what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
I don’t come from a traditional journalistic background, so I don’t have many. But I would have to say that Louis Theroux is my journalistic idol. I have pretty much devoured all of his content over the years, right the way from TV to books, podcasts and films. Truth be told, most of my role models come from the creative world, illustrators, comedians, artists, photographers, skateboarders, musicians, individuals who have captured my imagination over the years.
As far as career advice… "Keep on keeping on".
What are the last 5 songs you played on Spotify?
1. The Smashing Pumpkins - Mayonnaise
2. Pearl Jam - Release Me
3. The Cure - Disintegration
4. The Deftones - Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
5. Morrissey - I Don’t Mind If You Forget Me
6. New Order - Your Silent Face
(I chucked in a bonus track at the end there, People always seem to do this with our Playlist features!)