1. What trends, developments or issues would you point to thus far in 2019 as being most significant, perhaps carrying implications for the rest of the year and beyond?
  2. What work (advertising or entertainment)--your own or others--struck a responsive chord with you and/or was the most effective creatively and/or strategically so far this year? Does any work stand out to you in terms of meshing advertising and entertainment?
  3. What’s the biggest takeaway or lessons learned from work (please identify the project) you were involved in this year that was or is in the running for current awards season consideration (i.e., Emmys, Cannes Lions)?
  4. Though gazing into the crystal ball is a tricky proposition, we nonetheless ask you for any forecast you have relative to content creation and/or the creative and/or business climate for the second half of 2019 and beyond.
  5. What do recent honors on the awards show circuit (Producers Guild Awards, DGA Awards, Cannes Lions, AICP Show, Emmy nominations) tell us in terms of themes and trends in the industry at large?
  6. What efforts are you making to increase diversity and inclusion in terms of women and ethnic minority filmmakers? How do you go about mentoring new talent?
Amber Wimmer & Kim Jose
Co-Leaders of Integrated Production
Forsman & Bodenfors New York

1) As politics and society at large continue to feel upsettingly divided, the addition of cultural and societal expression from brands and content creators is so welcomed right now. Award winning work from Nike, “Dream Crazy” and Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” comes at a time where we feel thankful that brands, artists, and people of influence are speaking up.

2) The line between advertising and entertainment is becoming blurrier and blurrier each day and we love it! Johnson & Johnson’s feature documentary “5B” by Ryot is remarkable and a perfect ongoing example of these two worlds colliding. F&B Singapore’s recent work for skincare brand SK-II, “Timelines,” is a four-part short form documentary series that is focused on young women around the globe creating their own timelines and blocking out societal pressure of marriage before they are ready. Never once is the skin care product in frame; instead the emotional journalistic docuseries (starring Katie Couric) focuses on four different young women and their diverse path to fulfillment. 

3) Making thoughtful choices and taking all aspects of decision making into consideration for the audience and participants, as well as the brand, truly leads to not only the most positive production processes but also successful outcomes for everyone involved. Our recent collaboration with Dan Lam and Steve’s Ice Cream is a great example of how thoughtful production can elevate the work beyond expectation. In this activation, it was our mission to support creativity and allow guests to not only sample the unusual flavors of Steve’s Ice Cream but to also interact and experience the unexpected art in juxtaposition to a gallery setting. From all of this, we hope people see Steve’s not just as a brand that pays artists to do some work for them, but as a brand that puts artists in the forefront, bringing their work to as many people as possible.

Also, a few months ago we launched GrowYourCircle.org, a digital tool that gives agency producers access to underrepresented talent across all disciplines of production. To us, Grow Your Circle is also a great example of how often uncharted conversations can be elevated to positive discussions and outcomes. Openly communicating and iterating with a diverse team and bringing in specialists for user testing and feedback is crucial to the success of all productions. 

4) The rise and continuation of OTT advertising, content to be made for streaming platforms, is all the rage and quite exciting for storytellers wanting to break out of the :60/:30 mold.

We are very excited about the progression of AR and voice technologies being woven into not only education and mental health initiatives, but also providing meaningful inputs into our everyday lives.

5) We are really proud of the work coming out of our Swedish offices for Volvo’s “The E.V.A Initiative,” an online library of safety research accompanied by a film that sheds light on the fact that women are more likely to get injured in a car crash because male crash test dummies are the standard. 

We are also inspired by the work that the entire industry is doing to not only raise the bar on Diversity & Inclusion efforts, but to also extend these efforts to our clients by pushing to affect change in not only the messaging, but also in the software and hardware. 

6) In terms of filmmakers specifically, our New York office pledged with Free the Bid in 2017 and we’re currently in the middle of having our entire global collective join the pledge.

In terms of all production specialties—as mentioned before—we created Grow Your Circle earlier this year. We hope the digital tool will continue to help to fulfill our responsibility to minimize the inequality across the production industry, and creates better work as a result of it. We are committed to continue seeking underrepresented talent and providing Grow Your Circle as a public resource tool.

As an agency, we are also committed to pay parity with existing employees as well as equitable starting pay when we hire new employees. In addition to becoming an inaugural agency for the 3% Movement’s Pay Parity Pledge, this year we proudly announced that our New York office found no statistical evidence that variation in compensation is due to gender. More specifically, we discovered that we have pay parity within our job functions and women actually make In terms of filmmakers specifically, our New York office pledged with Free the Bid in 2017 and we’re currently in the middle of having our entire global collective join the pledge.

Our agency proudly utilizes and supports organizations such as MAIP and Ghetto Film School in hopes to bring opportunity to a wider net of talent. Internally, our production studio is working on building a reputation to experiment. We encourage our up-and-coming talent to work on spec scripts, music videos and passion projects in their spare time and generally explore their creativity in an environment where they can expect positive feedback and a safe place to try new things. Our budding producers are encouraged to shadow seasoned producers as we find this model to be a great way to learn on the job.

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