2 Minutes With ... Aaron Stoller, Director at Biscuit Filmworks

His creative inspirations, from Bill Murray to Spike Jonze

Photo illustration: Ashley Epping

Aaron Stoller studied TV and film at the University of Missouri, then spent 10 years learning the craft of directing in MTV on-air promo department. Starting an an intern, he ended up crafting hundreds of spots for the channel. 

Repped by Biscuit Filmworks for commercials, his memorable spots include the Dirty Dancing-inspired "Touchdown Celebrations to Come" for the NFL and "The Chase" for Hyundai, both of which aired on the Super Bowl. 

Stoller, who is judging Film Technique as a member of the Direction & Cinematography jury for the 2019 Clio Awards, is based in Los Angeles with his wife and four sons. When he's not on set, he can be found golfing or gambling (or on a good day, both). 

Muse spent two minutes with Aaron to find out more about his background and his favorite creative works. 

Aaron, tell us... 

The town where you were born.  

St. Louis, Missouri. It's got an Arch and a couple of world-class sports teams. I recommend visiting, just not in August. 

What you wanted to be when you grew up. 

Depended on the day ... it switched regularly between a ski mechanic, car designer, fireworks stand franchisee and veterinarian. 

How you discovered you were creative. 

The child psychiatrist told my parents while I was sitting in the room. 

A person you idolized creatively growing up. 

Bill Murray. 

A moment from high school or college that changed your life. 

I was walking down the hallway in 8th grade with my head down, minding my P's and Q's. Not sure what that even means, but I was minding them. Anyway, I accidentally bumped into the shoulder of a guy named Sam Woods, and he broke my nose ... haven't been able to breathe the same since. 

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today. 

In 7th grade I saw Milli Vanilli at Six Flags Over Mid-America. The choreography and identical twin brotherly rhythms were mind-blowing. It was obviously tough later on when I learned it wasn't actually a concert and they weren't even twin brothers. Favorite bands are Wilco, LCD Soundsystem, Led Zeppelin and the Stones. 

Your favorite artist. 

i've been in a Stephen Shore, PTA and Geoff McFetridge mood for the past 15 years. 

Your favorite hero or heroine in fiction.

Marvel Universe's Johnny Cash.  

The best book you've read lately. 

i just re-read Woody Allen's Without Feathers. So good. 

Your favorite movie. 

There Will Be Blood. 

Your favorite instagram follow.

@alexledford. He's a very special man. 

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on, and why. 

Impossible to pick just one, it's too difficult. I can say that Nate is absolutely my favorite son, though. He's way more special than my other three sons. 

Your favorite creative project from the past year, and why. 

If i had to pick a second favorite child, it would be Jack. Jack is super cool and smart and handsome. Third place is Sam. He's cool but stubborn. Fourth place is definitely Miles. He talks too much ... really doesn't ever shut up. 

Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

Spike's entire body of work. He does something every year that forces me to question my relevance. 

Someone else's creative project that you've been envious of lately. 

Noam Murro's Watership Down. 

Your main strength as a creative person. 

I'd like to quote my 5-year-old son Miles here. "Nobody likes a bragger, Dad." He really has no idea when to shut up. 

Your weakness or blind spot. 

My phone. I really want to chuck it into a ravine but can't. 

One thing that always makes you happy. 

I don't want to bore you and say my family, but that's definitely number one. Ted for second ... watching people break up in public, and the movie Dumb and Dumber. 

One thing that always makes you sad.

Old dogs with saggy backs and arthritic limps. 

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Plucking chickens in Macau in order to pay off a debt. 

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards.