My breakthrough: director Jim Hosking

In addition to his feature films, including The Greasy Strangler, comedy director Jim Hosking has worked on ads for Skittles, Cadbury and Xbox. He looks back at how an MTV contest turned its way into comedy

I was working as a copywriter at Mother Agency in London when I got the opportunity to work on MTV in New York writing and directing on-air promos. I think on-air promos are those short commercials on MTV that end up with an MTV logo and can be about anything.

So I was excited to go to New York and direct MTV where they let me do what I wanted. But it didn't work out exactly as I had hoped.

I arrived in New York on a snowy April night and was taken to a company apartment in the abandoned financial district, where everything except my bed was wrapped in plastic. The next morning I took the subway to Times Square. I saw a policeman and asked him where MTV was. He pointed to the huge Viacom building opposite. As I crossed the street, I thought, How did I get here and have no idea where MTV is? How could I be so ill-prepared?

On the first day, actually the first morning, I was asked to write a series of ideas for a generic MTV campaign. I handed it over to the creative director. And then I went to lunch. When I got back from lunch, my pile of scripts was back on my desk with a sticky note stuck on it. The sticky note read, "Enough of that lame Monty Python shit."

I found it strange that he'd said "enough of that" when I'd been there for only three hours. I thought he could have allowed me to have at least one steady day of my lame Monty Python shit. But apparently not.