You Can’t Buzzword Your Way Out of a Production Mess Up
An idea isn’t worth shit until it’s been made real. It’s a mantra that I hear from the creative people that I interview all the time. Creativity is more than a mercurial mind; it’s the ingenuity, tenacity, drive, self-belief, hard skills and inventiveness it takes to give life and form to a concept. However, 3D printers and techno razzle-dazzle aside, the whole production side of the industry can be woefully neglected. Conversations are all about cost-cutting and efficiency and ‘service providers’ rather than the resourcefulness and persistence that goes into making the impossible possible.
It’s understandable to some extent. If you fudge the nitty-gritty, you run the very real chance of being caught out. You can’t really buzzword your way out of a miscast actor or misallocated budget or an overrunning VFX schedule. And if you’re coming to production as an outsider, the whole thing can be pretty daunting. Roll-your-sleeves-up fun, maybe, but absolutely bewildering too.
That’s why last week LBB invited a host of young account execs and creatives – as well as junior producers – from 18 different agencies to an Academy event hosted at The Hospital Club and Framestore in London. The idea was to let industry experts introduce them to the different stages of production and show them what really goes on inside the dark, mysterious VFX suites. Speakers from Rattling Stick, Getty Images, DCM, Eclectic, Work and Framestore took 38 industry younglings through everything from film production to music, licencing, editing, VFX and telecine.
Production affects everyone in an agency, not just the producers and the creatives who get to jet off to exotic shoots. Understanding the various requirements and challenges and jargon involved in the different stages of production is vital for hand-holding clients, as well as explaining where their money is actually going. This is the communication industry, after all. And, I think, there’s equally a hunger among people working in production to digest and explore what’s going on in strategy, data, and client relationships further upstream.
There is surprisingly little ‘out there’ about production – some great mags like Televisual or shots, maybe, events like the APA masterclasses but, unless you’ve got Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorcese talking, production is never going to headline Cannes. In the advertising festival circuit only Ciclope stands out as addressing advertising production in any kind of meaningful depth – usually production companies and VFX houses are siloed away in embarrassing ‘production hubs’, relegated to embarrassing little convention centre stands when, with the stories they could tell, they’re more than interesting enough to take the spotlight.