1) Our directors need to bring profoundly unique points of view to every project. Consumers have access to infinite content, and with so much of it being made from a personal perspective, the work that stands out right now is done by directors and creatives with something to add to the conversation - we’ve got to ‘do it for the culture,’ as the kids say. Otherwise, advertising slips into the background and is just a tap or swipe away from being ignored.
2) We’re going to continue to see a compression of the process around creating assets. Brands are under yet more pressure to feed constant streams of content to their audiences, which means agencies and production companies will have to continue adapting as digital platforms fall in and out of style, the volume of content being created grows, but budgets remain the same (or shrink). Brands going direct to production companies is a trend that will continue, primarily because more work needs to be made faster and for less. I think this demands a new generation of directors and makers who meld great storytelling with an understanding of the platforms their work is being seen on.
3) Our mantra is that we’re building the production company of the future. What that means to us is a diverse roster, a diversified model where we produce large campaigns with a truly integrated approach, and a rigorous openness to the unknown. As an industry we’re vulnerable to the sudden appearance (and disappearance) of new digital platforms, changing attitudes and behaviors towards advertising, and simply becoming unimportant to consumers in a very turbulent world. We’ll look to stay flexible and respond to the needs of our brand and agency partners.
4) We had an extraordinarily busy January! Team One’s Lexus “Quarterback Safety System” campaign that Nick & Charles directed is one of my favorites. It’s a smart combo of extremely funny longer-form branded content and commercial-length content that lands right in the heart of one of football’s biggest conversations this year.
We’re also making a strong push into original entertainment and are focusing our efforts on developing a very exciting documentary series for television and a feature film that’s based on a VR experience called Neuro-Speculative Afro Feminism, which was created by our directors Hyphen-Labs.
5) We attribute a lot of the success at our company to the diversity of our roster. A director’s ability to stand out from the pack, to have something to say - in 2019 and beyond I think it’s absurd to think that we can create new ideas, and push the conversation forward, without having talent that’s representative of the culture.
It’s also so important to recognize the role that commercial work plays in the financial health of many directors careers - and without providing those opportunities to women and people of color, we are stifling their ability to survive and thrive not only in the branded space, but as directors more broadly with the financial freedom to work on films and personal projects that build their careers. We’ll continue to proactively look for underrepresented voices that need to be heard, and help translate their craft into the branded work.
6) We’re very lucky to have Mike Woods at the helm of our Immersive practice, where he helps navigate us through the choppy waters of trends in tech and experiential. We’ll continue to make significant investments in building prototypes with emerging technology that helps visualize the potential of new tech to brand and agency partners. We’re also exploring ways to help accelerate the versioning process, as the sheer volume of deliverables on each job seems to grow exponentially each year.