Manuel producing as a one-stop shop

Spot producer Darryl Manuel finishing post on a doc about his musician father-in-law.

Visions Blu members met the man behind the Foot-Long Hot Dog Inventor last week when veteran spot producer Darryl Manuel spoke about opportunities in the advertising business.

As a staffer at DDB, Darryl Manuel produced the multi-award winning spot that brought Bud Light’s “Real American Heroes” radio campaign to TV.

Manuel is back on his own now as executive producer at Darryl Manuel Producer Services, where he produced a Hardy Meal Plates spot for E. Morris Communications. “I’m a one-stop shop,” he said.

“My work extends from comedy to warm and fuzzy to good old fashioned product-pitching to music video style. I cover the gamut from regular people to celebrities to animals to kids,” he said. “I’ve produced a commercial in just about every genre there is. Every commercial unfolds in its own unique way. That’s what keeps it interesting.”

Manuel got his start in production as a PA on features in the mid-?80s. Then he went into voiceover and on-camera acting (he still performs and retains his SAG/AFTRA membership). From there he moved into TV production, working on “Two for the Show” for CBS and “Blacks in Advertising” for ABC, and a number of local TV and corporate jobs for Don Jackson’s Central City Productions.

In the early ?90s he joined Burrell and worked his way up to producer. (He still freelances for Burrell). He struck out on his own, then joined DDB after freelance-producing spots for them,”Across the industry, the level of work isn’t what it used to be,” Manuel observed. “But I’ve been able to stay fairly consistently busy by following up on stuff I hear about. I send my info out to agencies, and rely on the reputation of my past work to precede me.”

Manuel plans to wrap post in June on his 90-minute documentary, “The Charles Stepney Story.” He’s been producing the doc about his father-in-law, a renowned music producer, arranger and writer, off and on for the past two years.

“Charles Stepney was one of the great musicians to come out of Chicago, starting on Record Row back in the heyday of music in Chicago,” he said. “His music has touched styles from blues to R&B to jazz. He worked with artists from Muddy Watters to Ramsey Lewis to Earth, Wind & Fire.”

“The Charles Stepney Story” will promote the publishing rights to Stepney’s music, and is also geared for the home video market. “It would be great to have a distributor, but I’m also looking forward to experimenting with alternative distribution,” Manuel said.

Visions Blu executive director Karon Hamlet met Manuel on the set of a spot he was producing and invited him to speak to the group. “Any platform you can attend and meet other industry people and share ideas and get information is a good thing,” Manuel said. “Hats off to Karon and Visions Blu for creating that platform.” .

Reach Manuel at 888/618-0834 or; see ?by Ed M. Koziarski,