T HE TOR­TURED SOUL AND THE EA­GER BEAVER

Im­pact BBDO’s chief cre­ative of­fi­cer Paul Shearer says a good re­la­tion­ship be­tween agency and pro­duc­tion house can pro­duce magic

Campaign Middle East - - CONTENTS - PAUL SHEARER Im­pact BBDO’s chief cre­ative of­fi­cer

A not-so-good pro­duc­tion com­pany will blow smoke. Lead­ing the cre­ative to be­lieve that this idea will soon be an Os­car­win­ning tri­umph.

Pro­duc­tion houses. Why are they so im­por­tant to us? Well, I’ll tell you. The best thing about be­ing a cre­ative is that you get to bring your ideas to life. That is if you work hard and are lucky enough. And when you are in the process of giving an idea life, a pro­duc­tion house is the hospi­tal. That’s the power of a pro­duc­tion house. They re­ally are that im­por­tant. So, I’d like to lend you my many years of ex­pe­ri­ence by talk­ing about the re­la­tion­ship a pro­duc­tion com­pany should have with creatives and agen­cies – how that works, how it should work and how it’s chang­ing. For me it’s all about re­la­tion­ships. Like all re­la­tion­ships, you have to work on it. But the core pil­lars of open­ness, col­lab­o­ra­tion and good old friend­li­ness are what’s key.

I have al­ways felt a great deal of grat­i­tude to­wards pro­duc­tion houses.

They do the im­pos­si­ble and al­ways have a pos­i­tive out­look on agency prob­lems.

We owe them so much. I en­cour­age all my fel­low creatives to pick up the phone to our pro­duc­tion part­ners who have made sac­ri­fices for our ideas and say some big thanks. It’s the least we can do. They are amaz­ing peo­ple with hearts of gold. Al­ways find­ing a way and al­ways get­ting it done. Time and time again. Let’s look at the re­la­tion­ship with creatives. Here we have a re­la­tion­ship of the tor­tured soul and the ea­ger beaver.

As a cre­ative you al­ways feel you have been on a tu­mul­tuous jour­ney to get to this point.

Rounds of brief­ings, re­views, tis­sue ses­sions and pre­sen­ta­tions. And, if you are re­ally lucky, rounds of re­search.

Fi­nally, you are at the edge of the pro­duc­tion cliff.

Should you fall or dive grace­fully in case some­one is watch­ing?

Most just hover and won­der if they have ver­tigo.

This is where the pro­duc­tion com­pany comes in. To the res­cue! But, on the edge of the afore­men­tioned cliff, the cre­ative has been through so many rounds they don’t re­ally want to trust any­one with their idea.

This idea is more than words on a page. It’s a bul­let-proof mir­a­cle.

A good pro­duc­tion com­pany knows this and han­dles ev­ery­one with care.

A good pro­duc­tion com­pany re­as­sures the cre­ative, mak­ing them feel that only bet­ter things are to come.

That the idea will be re­spected and given all the ex­per­tise that is needed. But col­lab­o­ra­tion is vi­tal. A not-so-good pro­duc­tion com­pany will blow smoke. Lead­ing the cre­ative to be­lieve that this idea will soon be an Os­car-win­ning tri­umph.

So, that’s my take on the cre­ative/pro­duc­tion house re­la­tion­ship. Don’t blow smoke; it’s bad for you.

The re­la­tion­ship with the agency on the other hand is very dif­fer­ent. It’s fraught with dif­fi­cul­ties. Money comes into play – the other thing that can suck the life out of an idea.

For me, it’s su­per im­por­tant that all par­ties are hon­est with each other. If the bud­get is x then say it’s x. Don’t spend time try­ing to squeeze. A good pro­duc­tion com­pany gets this and asks the right ques­tions.

A not-so-good one gets side­tracked with stuff that will only take it away from the cre­ative idea.

So, my ad­vice: Say it how it is. Be nice and be hon­est. I’m sure your mum taught you that any­way.

I find a lot of the time creatives ac­tu­ally get in the way of this pro­duc­tion house/agency re­la­tion­ship. So, another good tip... Leave them out. For the record, there are no bad pro­duc­tion houses. Just bad re­la­tion­ships.

Lastly, the change that is hap­pen­ing in the world of pro­duc­tion. As in agen­cies, there are seis­mic changes afoot. To make the creatives’ ideas award­win­ning and still turn a profit is be­com­ing near im­pos­si­ble.

I hon­estly don’t know how some pro­duc­tion houses man­age. Be nim­ble, flex­i­ble and ag­ile, they are told. Bend over back­wards, more like! We as agency peo­ple need to start to sup­port our great part­ners who have helped us out of sticky sit­u­a­tions time and time again.

We should be col­lab­o­rat­ing with them dur­ing the cre­ative process and not just when the pro­duc­tion starts.

They have so much to add and we don’t take ad­van­tage of their vast knowl­edge.

I of­ten call a di­rec­tor or pro­ducer and seek out their ad­vice at the con­cept stage.

Th­ese amaz­ing peo­ple have amaz­ing ideas and so­lu­tions.

They are the one part of our busi­ness that still has 100 per cent pas­sion for what they do.

Yes, they have to make a liv­ing, but their liv­ing is based around their abil­ity to cre­ate magic out of words on a page.

It’s time for creatives to reeval­u­ate how im­por­tant the pro­duc­tion house is. Start putting them ex­actly where they should be. In the heart of our ideas.

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