Sep 28, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: Advertising agencies! Please don’t squeeze the production company.

By TO411Daily Columnist
Linda Chandler

Commercial production companies are trying very hard to please. 

After speaking to several top commercial executive producers over the last couple of weeks, it’s become clear to The Brief, if not to the production companies themselves, that giving 100% is not only more difficult these days, it’s not enough. 

Now advertising agencies have never been pliable entities; if they were they’d be yoga studios. But given their tighter budgets, combined with excessive demands and doing the downward dog to satisfy the client, it’s the commercial production houses that feels the endgame.

Liane Thomas, Executive Producer at Sons and Daughters, (of Knorr’s “Salty” fame,) is a pragmatic optimist about all the above. 

This is the conversation The Brief had with Thomas about the new challenges of being a commercial production company in the year 2011.

The Brief: I hear from lots of your competitors that it’s tough going right now?

Thomas: It’s changed. It’s still good. It’s just that we have to work a lot harder to play in today’s market. We cannot do what we did six years ago. We can’t even do what we did three years ago, or two years ago. It’s an irresponsible approach to one’s business to not make some shrewd decisions.

We’re trying to figure it out! That’s the vibe. We’re all trying to figure out where we should be in order to move forward. 

The Brief: Can you blame the recession?

Thomas: Canada was ready for the recession because we have always worked in a bubble where we know how to do things efficiently. And that’s what makes things so frustrating now. Because there’s no fat. I promise you! For everybody, there’s no fat. What’s so hard is when we have to pay for overtime because we were asked to take the quote down from a 14-hour day to a 12-hour day and we wind up shooting 16 hours! It’s really hard that one’s word doesn’t really count anymore. 

The Brief: I’m hearing this same thing from other sources. 

Thomas: Yeah. It’s what’s happening.

The Brief: What about the role of the agency producer as mediator?

Thomas: The role of the agency producer could not be more important in today’s world. Because they have to understand how to work with the client so that the clients feel confident that the costs (attached to doing the commercials) are accurate. Nobody is submitting excessive budgets. Every line is pared down to the absolute minimum - if not less! than what we realistically need. 

The Brief: Just say “no”? 

Thomas: Yes. It’s the inability to say “no” in this world. And Sons and daughters doesn’t want to say “no” to our clients either. We want them to feel we gave them everything they wanted. We are constantly trying to please so many people and maybe agencies are afraid of disappointing their clients. They want to make sure they’re so covered off there’s no room for disappointment.

The Brief: So the problem is managing expectations?

Thomas: We have to be much more supportive of each other in these harder times and not play mean games in order to get a day in the shot. Everybody thinks they’re going to get taken advantage of. It ain’t there.

The Brief: Is it crass to ask about production fees?

Thomas: No. The standard production fee used to be 20%. To get 15% as a production fee today is lucky. 

The Brief: Short of luck?

Thomas: It’s generally somewhere around 10%. 

The Brief: So basically you’re all packing your lunch! May I ask what are the costs for a shoot day?

Thomas: Today, $150,000 to $155,000, in Toronto, should be a very happy place to do what you need to do and make a fair living. I think we’re averaging $125,000 – $140,000 tops. 

The Brief: So how do you make a profit?

Thomas: You don’t make a lot of money anymore… You love what you do and are consistent with your work. And hire the right people who are smart at their jobs: line producers, art directors, production managers, suppliers – and directors who you can work with!

The Brief: And your last words of wisdom?

Thomas: Change your perspective and enjoy the process. If you don’t love it, get out. 

The Brief thanks Liane Thomas for her honesty, pluckiness, and spirit of fair play. Next week we’ll explore the post-recession changes in commercial post production. 

Until then… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlBiLNN1NhQ/

SOURCES:


sonsanddaughters.ca

liane@sonsanddaughters.ca

—–

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: Advertising agencies! Please don’t squeeze the production company.

By TO411Daily Columnist
Linda Chandler

Commercial production companies are trying very hard to please. 

After speaking to several top commercial executive producers over the last couple of weeks, it’s become clear to The Brief, if not to the production companies themselves, that giving 100% is not only more difficult these days, it’s not enough. 

Now advertising agencies have never been pliable entities; if they were they’d be yoga studios. But given their tighter budgets, combined with excessive demands and doing the downward dog to satisfy the client, it’s the commercial production houses that feels the endgame.

Liane Thomas, Executive Producer at Sons and Daughters, (of Knorr’s “Salty” fame,) is a pragmatic optimist about all the above. 

This is the conversation The Brief had with Thomas about the new challenges of being a commercial production company in the year 2011.

The Brief: I hear from lots of your competitors that it’s tough going right now?

Thomas: It’s changed. It’s still good. It’s just that we have to work a lot harder to play in today’s market. We cannot do what we did six years ago. We can’t even do what we did three years ago, or two years ago. It’s an irresponsible approach to one’s business to not make some shrewd decisions.

We’re trying to figure it out! That’s the vibe. We’re all trying to figure out where we should be in order to move forward. 

The Brief: Can you blame the recession?

Thomas: Canada was ready for the recession because we have always worked in a bubble where we know how to do things efficiently. And that’s what makes things so frustrating now. Because there’s no fat. I promise you! For everybody, there’s no fat. What’s so hard is when we have to pay for overtime because we were asked to take the quote down from a 14-hour day to a 12-hour day and we wind up shooting 16 hours! It’s really hard that one’s word doesn’t really count anymore. 

The Brief: I’m hearing this same thing from other sources. 

Thomas: Yeah. It’s what’s happening.

The Brief: What about the role of the agency producer as mediator?

Thomas: The role of the agency producer could not be more important in today’s world. Because they have to understand how to work with the client so that the clients feel confident that the costs (attached to doing the commercials) are accurate. Nobody is submitting excessive budgets. Every line is pared down to the absolute minimum - if not less! than what we realistically need. 

The Brief: Just say “no”? 

Thomas: Yes. It’s the inability to say “no” in this world. And Sons and daughters doesn’t want to say “no” to our clients either. We want them to feel we gave them everything they wanted. We are constantly trying to please so many people and maybe agencies are afraid of disappointing their clients. They want to make sure they’re so covered off there’s no room for disappointment.

The Brief: So the problem is managing expectations?

Thomas: We have to be much more supportive of each other in these harder times and not play mean games in order to get a day in the shot. Everybody thinks they’re going to get taken advantage of. It ain’t there.

The Brief: Is it crass to ask about production fees?

Thomas: No. The standard production fee used to be 20%. To get 15% as a production fee today is lucky. 

The Brief: Short of luck?

Thomas: It’s generally somewhere around 10%. 

The Brief: So basically you’re all packing your lunch! May I ask what are the costs for a shoot day?

Thomas: Today, $150,000 to $155,000, in Toronto, should be a very happy place to do what you need to do and make a fair living. I think we’re averaging $125,000 – $140,000 tops. 

The Brief: So how do you make a profit?

Thomas: You don’t make a lot of money anymore… You love what you do and are consistent with your work. And hire the right people who are smart at their jobs: line producers, art directors, production managers, suppliers – and directors who you can work with!

The Brief: And your last words of wisdom?

Thomas: Change your perspective and enjoy the process. If you don’t love it, get out. 

The Brief thanks Liane Thomas for her honesty, pluckiness, and spirit of fair play. Next week we’ll explore the post-recession changes in commercial post production. 

Until then… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlBiLNN1NhQ/

SOURCES:


sonsanddaughters.ca

liane@sonsanddaughters.ca

—–

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: Advertising agencies! Please don’t squeeze the production company.

By TO411Daily Columnist
Linda Chandler

Commercial production companies are trying very hard to please. 

After speaking to several top commercial executive producers over the last couple of weeks, it’s become clear to The Brief, if not to the production companies themselves, that giving 100% is not only more difficult these days, it’s not enough. 

Now advertising agencies have never been pliable entities; if they were they’d be yoga studios. But given their tighter budgets, combined with excessive demands and doing the downward dog to satisfy the client, it’s the commercial production houses that feels the endgame.

Liane Thomas, Executive Producer at Sons and Daughters, (of Knorr’s “Salty” fame,) is a pragmatic optimist about all the above. 

This is the conversation The Brief had with Thomas about the new challenges of being a commercial production company in the year 2011.

The Brief: I hear from lots of your competitors that it’s tough going right now?

Thomas: It’s changed. It’s still good. It’s just that we have to work a lot harder to play in today’s market. We cannot do what we did six years ago. We can’t even do what we did three years ago, or two years ago. It’s an irresponsible approach to one’s business to not make some shrewd decisions.

We’re trying to figure it out! That’s the vibe. We’re all trying to figure out where we should be in order to move forward. 

The Brief: Can you blame the recession?

Thomas: Canada was ready for the recession because we have always worked in a bubble where we know how to do things efficiently. And that’s what makes things so frustrating now. Because there’s no fat. I promise you! For everybody, there’s no fat. What’s so hard is when we have to pay for overtime because we were asked to take the quote down from a 14-hour day to a 12-hour day and we wind up shooting 16 hours! It’s really hard that one’s word doesn’t really count anymore. 

The Brief: I’m hearing this same thing from other sources. 

Thomas: Yeah. It’s what’s happening.

The Brief: What about the role of the agency producer as mediator?

Thomas: The role of the agency producer could not be more important in today’s world. Because they have to understand how to work with the client so that the clients feel confident that the costs (attached to doing the commercials) are accurate. Nobody is submitting excessive budgets. Every line is pared down to the absolute minimum - if not less! than what we realistically need. 

The Brief: Just say “no”? 

Thomas: Yes. It’s the inability to say “no” in this world. And Sons and daughters doesn’t want to say “no” to our clients either. We want them to feel we gave them everything they wanted. We are constantly trying to please so many people and maybe agencies are afraid of disappointing their clients. They want to make sure they’re so covered off there’s no room for disappointment.

The Brief: So the problem is managing expectations?

Thomas: We have to be much more supportive of each other in these harder times and not play mean games in order to get a day in the shot. Everybody thinks they’re going to get taken advantage of. It ain’t there.

The Brief: Is it crass to ask about production fees?

Thomas: No. The standard production fee used to be 20%. To get 15% as a production fee today is lucky. 

The Brief: Short of luck?

Thomas: It’s generally somewhere around 10%. 

The Brief: So basically you’re all packing your lunch! May I ask what are the costs for a shoot day?

Thomas: Today, $150,000 to $155,000, in Toronto, should be a very happy place to do what you need to do and make a fair living. I think we’re averaging $125,000 – $140,000 tops. 

The Brief: So how do you make a profit?

Thomas: You don’t make a lot of money anymore… You love what you do and are consistent with your work. And hire the right people who are smart at their jobs: line producers, art directors, production managers, suppliers – and directors who you can work with!

The Brief: And your last words of wisdom?

Thomas: Change your perspective and enjoy the process. If you don’t love it, get out. 

The Brief thanks Liane Thomas for her honesty, pluckiness, and spirit of fair play. Next week we’ll explore the post-recession changes in commercial post production. 

Until then… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlBiLNN1NhQ/

SOURCES:


sonsanddaughters.ca

liane@sonsanddaughters.ca

—–

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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