Former Crossroads and Best Buy director specializes in narrative-style commercials and virals.


Santa Monica, Calif.— Mike Nelesen, a commercial director known for his ability to craft smart, engaging stories, both fictional and with real people, has joined Santa Monica-based The Joneses for exclusive representation. Nelesen’s work includes traditional broadcast spots and virals for such brands as Best Buy, Conoco Phillips, Logitech and AMC.

Mel Gragido, executive producer of The Joneses, said that he was impressed with the diversity, sophistication and emotional range of Nelesen’s work. “Mike is a great talent who can benefit from the attention, production strength and the marketing resources that we provide,” Gragido observes. “He has a great understanding of the tools of filmmaking, and a relaxed and natural way with talent, especially non-professionals. That’s a special gift.”

Nelesen has drawn praise for his ability to generate stories that are well honed and nuanced, but without a trace of artifice. An example of this is his recent spot Bus for Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic. It includes a sweet exchange between a school bus driver and her lone passenger, a young girl, and ends with the revelation that driver is the girl’s mother.

“I like things to feel real and authentic, spontaneous,” he says. “My kind of storytelling has a stylized element, but it’s not readily apparent. When it’s over, I don’t want people to think it was staged, but rather ‘wow, those were interesting people.’ It’s a natural and human approach to storytelling.”

Nelesen has been directing commercials most recently via bi-coastal Crossroads. Prior to that he was a staff director for Best Buy. During that period, he directed projects featuring the Rolling Stones, Tony Hawk, Sheryl Crow and Moby, and shot on location throughout the U.S. as well as in Europe and Canada. Based in Minneapolis for much of his career, he has especially strong ties with ad agencies across the Midwest.

Nelesen said that he was attracted to The Joneses by its boutique-size and focus on narrative filmmaking. “Mel has put together a wonderful team and is taking the company in a great direction,” he says. “I feel I fit in well here.”

The Joneses is located at 1501 Colorado, Suite C, Santa Monica, California 90404. For more information, call 310.656.8300 or visit

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