BBDO Creative Makes Leap to Directing Music Videos

By Erik Oster 

BBDO associate creative director Diego Contreras (formerly of Anomaly) is making the jump to directing music videos with his cinematic video for Kool Head’s “Leon,” which he also wrote.

Contreras matches the late-night neon vibe of Kool Head’s dance-y, 80s synth laden track, while at the same time managing to tell a story over the course of the 5:30 video. To get the distinct visuals for the video, Contreras filmed in New York, utilizing “Lomo anamorphics on the Arri Alexa 4:3.”


The “Leon” video came about as a result of the friendship that developed between Contreras and Jason Nitti (producer/songwriter of Kool Head) while Nitti was an art director at Anomaly. When Nitti sent Contreras a folder of Kool Head tracks, Contreras loved the project so much he asked if he could shoot a video. Nitti told him to pick whichever track he wanted, and Contreras instantly gravitated toward “Leon.” As for the idea behind the music video, Contreras told The Music Bed it developed from “a weird TV spot for Converse [he wrote] about kids waking up in the middle of the night and sleepwalking to a basketball court to play ball. It was about loving something so much that you do it in your sleep. But like 98 percent of our work in advertising, it went into the horrifying black hole of dead ideas. So I brought it back out and used it as a starting point…which quickly evolved into a new story for the video.”

Initially funded via Kickstarter, Diego and producer Will Mahr “pitched in to double the budget” so that they could make the music video they wanted. Check out Contreras’ “Leon” video above, and stick around for credits after the jump.


Written and directed by Diego Contreras |

Starring: Jared Beadle Allen
Producers: Will Mahr, Diego Contreras
Director of Photography – David Kruta |
Assistant Director – Dave Ramirez
Edit, Sound Design and Color Grade – Diego Contreras
Associate Producer – Niki Polyocan, Sean Corcoran
Steadicam Operator – Kyle Wullschleger
Assistant Camera – Jeff Clanet
Gaffer – Lee Walker
Production Coordinator – Tanesha Hartsfield
Production Company: Cinescape
Props – Saury Armenta
Sound Design – Diego Contreras
Key Grip – Daniel Lipski / Trevor Wilson
Swing – Jack Cronin / Hanan Mahbouba
Grip Production Assistant – Daniel Gavilanes
Set Production Assistant – Rey Solano / Justin Booker / Eytan Millstone / Natalie Fullaondo
Picture Car Driver – David Cohen
Cast: AJ Dynamite / Stephen Levant / Jose Prieto / Kristin Ankuta / Desiree Cyganek / Sarah Elle