Industry Survey Finds COVID-19 Silver Lining; New Talent Remains Gold
Weighing the industry scales during an unprecedented era
Challenging times strengthen collaborative bonds; diversity sought among emerging directors, producers

This year has departed dramatically from any norm as no one at the start of 2020 would have anticipated questions centered on an ongoing pandemic, its impact on production and post, the need to adapt in order to do business while protecting the health and well-being of colleagues and collaborators.

Also resonating in 2020 have been concerns over social injustice and the related need to have more voices heard, thus lending a greater sense of urgency to opening up opportunities for ethnic minorities, women and the LGBTQ+ community.

As a result, SHOOT’s survey has taken a two-pronged approach in light of a 2020 vision shaped by COVID-19 and a pressing need for diversity and inclusion, particularly when it comes to new talent which is the lifeblood of our industry.

The first part of SHOOT’s survey tackles the pandemic as we ask a cross-section of production house execs and agency creatives about work done during the global health crisis and how production has changed due to the coronavirus.

Part two focuses on what advice our respondents would offer to aspiring directors and producers, and efforts that are being made to bring newcomers of different stripes into the industry. 

Feedback on the first front has found that even a pandemic can carry a silver lining. Ali Brown, president/EP at PRETTYBIRD, shared, “We had so many projects brought to us prior to being presented to the client to see if the concepts could be safely executed, or what tweaks needed to be made to make them happen. We love that communication and the partnership that results. It’s critical in the pandemic that you are holding hands with each other and the early collaboration is essential for that.”

Survey Qs
Here are the questions we posed: 

Survey, Part 1. The Pandemic

1) Tell us about the production of a project during the pandemic. What was the project? Identify the production company/director, VFX studio, nature/genre of the job, other primary production/post companies involved and location of the shoot. If the project is in the ad arena, please identify the client and agency.

2) Did the project reflect your talent and resources being viewed and used differently by clients in light of the pandemic (i.e., VFX and/or animation being turned to more prominently and in new ways with restrictions on live action; changes in what is being asked of a director, etc.)?

3) During Pre-Production: How has the pandemic impacted developing creative and collaborating within your own team and other contributors (including clients and agencies if this is an ad project)? How was the concept and/or your approach to the job developed to ensure it would be feasible to accomplish in terms of production?

4) During production and post: In addition to new precautions taken, can you tell us how the director and crew worked together during production and also what changed during the post process?

5) What were the lessons learned/biggest takeaways from this experience and/or what would you do differently for the next project? Any advice for others?

Survey, Part 2. New Talent

1) What advice do you have for new directors?

2) What advice can you offer to up-and-coming producers?

3) Learning is an ongoing process even for the most seasoned producer. Would you share a recent lesson learned on the job; it can relate to people, workflow/technology, etc.

4) Is your company currently looking for new talent and/or do you have an official mentoring or diversity program?

5) Perhaps as a source of inspiration to new talent, what recent project are you particularly proud of and why? You can include a direct link to it.

What follows is the industry feedback we received.

CLICK HERE to page through the survey responses, or click on the NAME or HEADSHOT below.

Name Title Company
Margaret Brett-Kearns Co-Director Of Production Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Ali Brown President/Executive Producer PRETTYBIRD
Alex Cohn Partner + Head of Content Zambezi
Karen Costello Chief Creative Officer Deutsch LA
Bonnie Goldfarb Co-Founder/Executive Producer harvest films, inc.
Qadree Holmes Founder/Executive Producer Quriosity
Megan Kelly Founder/Managing Partner Honor Society
Aaron Kovan Chief Production Officer VaynerProductions and VaynerMedia
Lola Lott Principal/CEO charlieuniformtango
Kathy Love SVP, Executive Producer McCann
Lisa Mehling Owner/President Chelsea Pictures
Ruben Mercadal Associate Director of Film Production Droga5
Jenny Read EVP, Director of Integrated Production and Multi-Media Saatchi & Saatchi NY and Publicis NY
Deborah Sullivan EP/MD The-Artery
Sam Walsh Director of Content Production Team One


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