Taking Hollywood Out of Production


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Presented during Creative Week 2012, R/GA's Vin Farrell and Taras Wayner discuss how R/GA's unique Digital Studio uses a steamlined production and storytelling model to efficiently create inspiring, informative and entertaining digital videos.

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  • V-intro, background, digital studio buildT- Both Vin and I came to RGA at the same time…it was about 5 years ago. And we both saw that the industry was rapidly changing. Relationships with clients were changing, the way you tell a story was changing, the screen that story was on was changing. And, the way you made something was especially changing. VIN-My first week at RGA. Taras. Office. R/GA not know what to make of us. Change/evolution will come from partnership. And this became a great producer and creative working relationship. Our collective needs would be served by helping the other.To best understand what we’re doing today, let’s zoom out and give some context.
  • VINAs we all know, Hollywood innovations created a high caliber quality of craft.
  • VIN They perfected the art and process of film production. They innovated cameras, film, editing, storytelling, the best effects, sets, cinematography and so on.
  • T- And when it came to making an ad, advertising production turned to Hollywood and used the best Hollywood had to offer. They used Oscar winning DP’s to shoot Pizza Hut spots, for stunts they used the guys from fast and furious and for effects they used Cameron’s people.The worlds became intertwined. Commercials became a place for directors and DP’s to practice new techniques and perfect skills in hope of a move deal. Ad guys referred to their spots as “films”. And it was all sexy and fun and we all got a taste of the Hollywood life…many times bringing home a bit of the Hollywood ego home.
  • T-This all worked great when TV was the media that we had to create for…and our jobs was to break through in the most entertaining way possible. …We were interrupting with mini version of what they were watching…and an entire commercial broadcast industry has been built around delivering this experience for this screen. And this experience quickly became an object…a thing.…that people mastered. They mastered how you told the story and how you executed the story.…but as we all know we now spend our day’s not just watching this TV screen but dividing our time between screens (TV, laptop, cell phone…)
  • T – And because so much of what we do on these new screens is not watching stuff be actually doing stuff…like balancing check book…gaming…recipes…shopping…keeping track of the miles we run…the last thing we want is to be interrupted and slowed down by a brand message…So, with these new screens, we adding many new forms of storytelling.it’s not just the 30 or 60 second spot that tells someone a story, …it’s demos and content in apps and digital signs…it’s also content that’s helping to tell the person’s story. Like Vin ran 5 miles today…which is not true.So, with all these screens and content we knew what we made had to change.But since the traditional film production world was built to create a very specific type of story, it was no longer the perfect solution to make these many different things…so how we made it also had to change.
  • VINIf you’re in a situation long enough you begin to think it’s normal. Most people naturally assumed the world of film production would stay the same mainly because that’s the way we always did it.Advancements with the tools. General process of how we make things didn’t change. Revenue stream will stay the same. Sure there were up years and down years but this model of production was how we worked.But we’ve learned form other industries and companies that this is not always the case.
  • VIN – It happened in the music industry. 4 year span. music industry failed to realize they’re in the business of delivering music experiences to fans, NOT selling CDs.Even the artists figured it out. The way to break thru and succeed no longer required a label signing them. the music industry spent their time protecting a music delivery device.CD sales.
  • VIN – they should have been thinking about how sell the experience of music and not worry about what form it took. Many of these changing industries have gotten in trouble when they think they’re selling an object and not an experience.
  • VIN – Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January. Thought: business of selling imaging thru film Reality: actually were in the business of selling memories. Kodak invented the digital camera and profited from it the in the first few yearslike many aspects of technology their camera quickly became commoditized and the CEO called the digital camera business, “a crappy one.” They had separated the selling of the object from the experience of creating imagery and memories.
  • VIN – Borders went under in February. Thought: business of selling books Reality: selling the experience of reading. Deal with Amazon in 2001 to run their online sales but it was very tactical and never came to fruition.
  • T – And in our industries case…many had become married to the format…To the commercial….the 30 second spot…the object…and the process that created that object…They saw it as the commercial production business
  • T – …when it is really the messaging business.  The industry had separated the object from the experience. And they fetishized this object of production.
  • T – So, if we looked at a timeline…we had a production model where we creating great work for TV and when we reached the point where the internet pipe got big enough to stream video online, we had two worlds with a lot of distance between the two. There was a world of traditional film production steeped in craft that we loved but was not sustainable from a financial or time perspective. and the interactive video world that at the time was a scrappy, do it yourself, coders/designers/writers/anti-craft culture. The two worlds didn’t get each other…in fact there was a certain distain. Traditional production felt interactive work needed more time and discipline and digital felt… this isn’t so hard…I own a flip camera… we can do it themselves….and they were both wrong.So we wanted to figure out how to bridge these worlds and bring together people who worry about the digital experience and the space it runs…and those who had mastered the craft.
  • VIN – Like many, we first tried working with the current system and tried all kinds of arguments with our clients, like, “just because it’s 4 inches by 3 inches doesn’t mean it should cost that much less”. But that’s what so many people believed. No money: this led to rank amateurs making the work which led to amateur results. BMW films but they turned out to be anomaly's Most people scoffed that it wasn’t broadcast and without the budgets you couldn’t support best in class outside talentwe had good ideas…we had good tech, design, strategy…but when it came to producing the moving image we ended up with amateur content. So the execution of the messaging was out of sink with the caliber of the idea.
  • VIN – And Production companies would try and work with us…they all knew Bob…but many couldn’t make it work. And it wasn’t their fault. Production companies, editorial houses, CG companies would try but it was always as a favor. And, we realized we didn't have the big paying jobs in our pipeline to return the favor. We realized, that what our clients needed couldn’t be made in the existing production world.
  • VIN – This forced us to innovate. And it was done out of necessity. If we wanted to deliver the highest quality for our clients we had to look at the model differently. We couldn’t get the high-impact, high quality narrative results that you get out of the Hollywood machine. Create content without going from a director driven production company, to an edit house, to an effects house and somewhere else to mix then finish.Hollywood’s innovated around craft, our digital studio model innovated around process and efficiency. and it came full circle to innovating craft.This freaked out most traditional creative mainly because these places represented 6 different menu books as well as 3 different masseuses.
  • T – Actually the biggest issue was the idea that we wouldn’t have access to the “best in class” talent because the best people went to work for outside companies. To get the people we had to overcome this sigma in digital was a place for second-class production. This has been true for every agency I’ve worked at. It was always hard to convince people to work in-house….because the talent is not always to best.But a big draw for this talent was the way we were all working together. We were bringing Tech and ID into the brainstorms with the CD’s and the motion guys and a producer who understand all disciplines.
  • T – We had everyone in one place experimenting and learning from each other. This was a big draw for talent.And since it was at the office, we could always plug in the experience designers and technologists to offer ideas. There was a free flow of technology and ideas that broke this assembly line of production. We could now do it faster and cheaper while maintaining the quality. We had put the best in class people in the seat and added a new ingredient (tech and ID).
  • VIN – workstream seating together. We stripped down layers between disciplines.Producer qualifications. Intention and motivation of talent: greater good of the project not your own reel. new breed of creative director…one who could connect the dots from inception of an idea thru full execution but all in the same space. And an interesting thing is happening now that we are expanding. We need to figure out who to move and who not to move so we don’t upset this creative eco-system. We are designing the space to create the right experience.
  • T- Let’s look at a few case studies of some of the work that has come out of this model.We have 3 of them each showing something different. One features Live action, one is a demo and the final is a narrative that takes place in an application.
  • The first is for Nike Free …it’s an example of more of a traditional storytelling piece we did…Nike had already done a big TV spot to launch the Nike Free and we needed to shoot live action that was of the same high broadcast quality but for much much less. Unfortunately, we couldn’t just lift the content from the spot because we were creating a gaming mechanic for the site and the athletes in the video had to react to each other. We then cut together what we shot for youtube and nike.com to get people to the experience. This is that video.
  • VIN- we find ourselves making narrative driven demo’s.people are spending more and more time on Youtube and other video based search sites- seeking information on how to do things. This is important and much needed content for our clients. Low budgetsHeavy liftingMaintain storytellingProduction qualityOn brand
  • {image}
  • This next example is a different kind of narrative. …and It’s a story that fits into an application. It’s part of the interface.
  • A few might be familiar with Fuel and the Fuel Band. A metric that tracks your activity and motivates you to be more active.And , as we were working with Nike, we realized we wanted to create a character within the experience that visualized Fuel and was motivation and a reward for reaching your goals.This is an example that traditionally was outsourced. You’d call an annimation house and have them comcept then present to the client. But we find that you can’t divorce the two. When designing it you want to have the tech and experience designers working next to the annimators and motions guys. The process was amazingly efficient.
  • So, that’s were we are today. We’ve built a model that integrates every part of the production and creative process. It has broken done a lot of walls and has ruffled a few feathers…but it works.
  • Taking Hollywood Out of Production

    1. 1. TAKING THEHOLLYWOODOUT OFPRODUCTIONCreative WeekMay 8th, 2012 Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved.
    2. 2. VIN FARRELL TARAS WAYNERSVP CREATIVE OPERATIONS SVP EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 2
    3. 3. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 3
    4. 4. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 4
    5. 5. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 5
    6. 6. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 6
    7. 7. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 7
    8. 8. If you’re in a situation long enough, you think it’s normal. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 8
    9. 9. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 9
    10. 10. Object Experience Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 10
    11. 11. January 2012Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 11
    12. 12. February 2012Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 12
    13. 13. Format Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 13
    14. 14. Format Message Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 14
    15. 15. 1950’sTraditional Production Model 2012 2000’s Production For Digital Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 15
    16. 16. JUST BECAUSE IT’S 4 INCHES BY 3 INCHES DOESN’T MEAN IT SHOULD COST THAT MUCH LESSProprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 16
    17. 17. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 17
    18. 18. Necessity+ Process Innovation Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 18
    19. 19. technologist interaction creative motion/computer producer designer director graphic artist Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 19
    20. 20. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 20
    21. 21. Shooting Stage w/ CYCLive Action Edit Wall Producer Bullpen Sound Design / FinishingLive Action Edit Computer Graphics / Motion Graphics Entrance Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 21
    22. 22. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 22
    23. 23. Case Studies Nike Free | Acuvue | Nike Fuel Band Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 23
    24. 24. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 24
    25. 25. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 25
    26. 26. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 26
    27. 27. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 27
    28. 28. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 28
    29. 29. Thank You. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 29
    30. 30. Proprietary & Confidential. © 2012 R/GA All rights reserved. 30