Finding Truth in Advertising
David Register and Andre Betz, ad creatives with strong New England ties, launch filmmaking partnership.
Written by Ted Ryan | Posted by: NewEnglandFilm.com
A conversation with David Register and Andre Betz about their newly formed directing team, TruthBullet.
After spending over a decade in the advertising industry, David Register, former writer and creative director at the renowned Boston-based ad agency Arnold Worldwide, and Andre Betz, a commercial editor with over 20 Super Bowl spots under his belt, have formed their own team—TruthBullet.
TruthBullet’s debut commercial, a reel of the Volvo XC90 SUV, demonstrates high-end cinematic energy and conceptual expertise. The spot showcases the XC90 gracefully navigating desert terrain, while revealing its plush interior and exterior features. The car—the subject of the commercial—was also Register and Betz’s means of travel for a road trip to Phoenix, where they were handling a shoot for another client. The result is an ambitious proof of concept. Or as Betz summarizes: “Two guys driving around seeing what they could create.”
Betz, who started his career at a small production house in New Hampshire, first met Register in 2009. At the time, Register—a Los Angles native, who came to Arnold after penning spots on the West Coast—was handling one of his many campaigns for Fidelity.
When Betz, the editor assigned to the project, played his cut of a particularly complex piece of material, Register recalls: “my jaw could have hit the table.”
Over the next nine years, Betz would assemble some of Register’s biggest ideas. Register speaks enthusiastically of his collaborator: “As soon as you can find someone to see your vision through [who] not only can get what you’re thinking but make it better than you could have imagined it, you’re hooked.”
Register and Betz, however, shared mutual frustrations with their day jobs. Register had grown tired of the specific responsibilities of Progressive’s iconic Flo campaign and Paul Giamatti’s first foray into commercials for CenturyLink. “I was making meetings, I wasn’t making work,” he recalls. Meanwhile, Betz was by then confident his skills as a cinematographer were on par with his ability to cut footage. As Register notes of his conversations with Betz: “The more we talked about ideas…the more we thought there was a better way to do this.”
This past winter, Register and Betz committed those ideas to reality and formed TruthBullet, whose guiding notion is that the best advertising, as Register explains, “is really about getting to the heart of their matter…to be able to pick out what’s true about something and then verbalize it.” To spearhead PR, Register left his post at Arnold. Betz, who continues to operate Bug, has doubled his professional workload. But the opportunity to execute their most passionate ideas without outside interference was one that neither Register and Betz could pass up.
Unlike a traditional ad agency—which has multiple departments building a single campaign—TruthBullet handles the entire creative process. From conception to shooting and editing, they are a one-stop shop. Within the team, Register focuses on the writing and copy, while Betz handles the technical logistics of camera and lighting. When shooting, Register and Betz – both experienced photographers – come together on set to achieve the carefully conceived visual aspects of the spot.
While larger agencies tend to isolate this process, TruthBullet is committed to involving the client. Betz explains that “one of my favorite things is to bring the client—who is used to being kept at arm’s length—right over to the camera, and have (them) look through the viewfinder and say this is what we’re thinking of doing.” Register adds to his colleague’s point: “You can’t move through the stages of the day without the client feeling like they are heard.”
TruthBullet’s hands-on approach is especially beneficial to smaller brands, who often are newcomers to the business of marketing. Register and Betz have been particularly active with local New England businesses, lending their talents to New City Brewery in Easthampton and TIEM Athletics out of Greater Boston (in addition to making a spot for TIEM, Register also helped the company’s founder coin their name).
Although able to run the full creative gamut, Register and Betz do not shy away from the opportunity to service industry giants like Coca-Cola or Proctor & Gamble, who bring their own ideas to the table. In fact, the opportunity to work on other people’s great ideas is an exciting prospect for the TruthBullet whose main commitment is to the principles of honesty in advertising.
Regardless, no matter the size of the client or from whom the concept originates, Register and Betz attribute their success to being self-sufficient at every step of the process. Betz does not tackle projects under the illusion “I’m just going to show up on set and do my thing. And [then] someone else will take care of the edit. And someone else will take care of the color correction.” The seasoned veteran, along with his partner, is passionate on the subject: “You really should understand the entire process. If you’re going to be successful in this business, you have to know all of it.”
To view TruthBullet’s XC90 spot along with their full catalogue, please visit www.truth-bullet.com.