All for One and One for All
The Republic Collective’s model for assembling creative advertising talent is designed to create opportunities for companies like Denver animation house SPILLT. By Thomas J. Mclean
Finding work for yourself or seeking out just the right person for a particular job in the modern creative economy is not always easy — and that’s something advertising veterans Erika Levy and Danielle Bryan are hoping to change.
The duo have founded The Republic Collective, a company using a collaborative production model designed to open up opportunities in the advertising world for companies like SPILLT, a Denver-based animation company that created a launch spot for The Republic.
Bryan says The Republic sprang from a need she and Levy saw in the advertising landscape for flexibility in matching up creative clients from anywhere with the right job, big or small. The idea is to assemble a national stable of vetted creative talent that can be matched up and packaged in any way necessary to serve a specific project no matter its size or location.
“We can go into these markets in middle America and open up these avenues that were perhaps unexplored before, so that a director or a production company or an animation company like SPILLT, who is known very well in the commercial industry in Denver, could be introduced to small boutique agencies in Minneapolis and Miami and Atlanta and Charlotte,” she says.
Unlike a traditional representative, the Republic’s process is non-exclusive. Projects seeking to tap into its stable of talent pay a nominal search fee and, if they hire out of that search, a commission to The Republic. “We’re like brokers,” says Bryan. “Ad agencies can come to us and we can put together as many or as few of the pieces as they need. And our reach is vast because we work in the cloud. So whether it’s animation, or direction or post or whatever, we have people all over the country that we can bring in.”
The process of applying to The Republic is open to anyone who wishes to submit, but only applicants that show they can reliably produce quality work are accepted. “Not everyone, honestly, is invited in,” says Bryan. “We want to make sure we are offering the most nimble, flexible options that the country has to offer.”
Ryan Bramwell, creative director at SPILLT, says the increasing demand for animation in advertising across the board makes The Republic an ideal way for the company to expand its reach into new markets and complement its established sales avenues.
“The whole premise of SPILLT is to be collaborative with other production companies, to not stand on our own but to use other companies, other talents, to create the best products,” says Bramwell. “I’m a firm believer of working where you want to work and living where you want to live, so it fell right into line and I personally believe it’s going to be one of the ways to give smaller companies like ourselves a chance to compete on top-tier projects.”
The spot SPILLT animated for the Republic itself is an example of the growing opportunities for animation in the advertising field for both talented freelancers as well as boutique studios thanks in part to the spread of technology and animation’s ability to tell complex stories quickly.
“There’s a whole new world quickly opening up for these smaller budgeted, quick turnaround animation jobs,” says Bramwell. “On the large scale sort of things, animation comes in when it needs to, but I think for the more utilitarian needs we’re going to see more and more animation to tell a story quick and catch the public’s eye.”
“People that are talented and able to deal with what we term as regional budgets, they’re special,” says Levy. “We need someone who’s able to go in on these smaller jobs and be a little more flexible because they don’t have the overhead. SPILLT doesn’t have the overhead that I think those giant animation companies would have. So we seek out companies in the smaller niche animation market so they can come in and take some of these smaller jobs.”
Again, the SPILLT ad for The Republic is cited as an example. Bramwell says he and two students from the Savannah School of Art designed and animated the video.
“It’s kind of in the spirit of The Republic itself, allowing these artists who normally wouldn’t have a chance to do a video like this the chance to let them do it and give them a chance to shine,” he says.