Honest shop talk with key US producers captivated the crowd
at a panel recently hosted by Production Service Network during AICP week.
Shelby Ross, EP at Sibling Rivalry; Dave Saltzman, EP and
partner at M ss ng P eces; and Nic Barnes, senior content producer at The Mill+
joined PSN EP Michael Moffett to share the real-life challenges of filming
abroad and how they’ve approach it in partnership with production service
companies vetted by the Network.
Recently released PSN Partner work with US producers overseas includes
campaigns for Coca-Cola, Nissan, Netflix, Prudential Financial, and Unilever. Projects completed with US producers are soon
to be released for brands including American Express, Bacardi, Marriott,
Microsoft, and Shell.
Click here to watch the complete and unedited panel
moderated by AICP Board Member and PSN Production Liaison Carolyn Hill. Or read on for a few highlights.
Panelists from left to right: Nic Burrows, Michael Moffett,
Shelby Ross and Dave Saltzman
Q: Why do brands so frequently want to leave their ‘home’
countries to shoot abroad?
Dave Saltzman: For us, we’ve had the opportunity to work
with global brands such as Google and Starbucks who have really wanted to show
off their deep international understanding - highlighting how broad they are as
a brand and how connected they are to their local and global communities.
Q: The 2018 PSN survey ‘What Matters Most Shooting
Overseas’, showed that creatives are more often drawn to shooting in unique
locations. Tell us about the considerations you all face to make that happen.
Shelby Ross: The biggest conversations are about budget,
talent and brief. How far does the client want to travel? We could recommend a
Romanian solution, a Mexico City solution, or, at the end of the day we might
just shoot in Minnesota because it’s the client’s backyard. We weigh those
options all the time and we try to offer the best budget for each option. We
want to identify the smart solutions, appealing to the cost consultant whilst
also speaking to the client and the job at stake. Creatively or budgetarily, we
always have to ask what other reasons are there to make the project viable.
Dave Saltzman: There are realities to travelling around
the globe; timewise, consumption-wise if you’re conscientious about the planet,
and logistical considerations regarding the product. It’s not only about money
or talent - I think people forget that sometimes.
Michael Moffett: We would love it if the motivating
factor was that you’re going to shoot abroad because you know your creative is
actually going to be better in that country.
The reality is that that often gets lost in the cost discussion. We do our best to suggest locations where we
believe there’s a best balance between the creative, what you’re going to get
out of it, and also the cost.
Shelby Ross: Conjecture is good and you guys offer
that. We say we definitely want to go
here and you say well what about there.
It offers a counterpoint to where we think we should go.
Michael Moffett: Sometimes people are calling us before
they really have a clear vision. I take
it as a compliment, an act of faith, that they’re willing to bring us into the
circle that early. But we really need
some solid information. The biggest
value for us is that the producer has done due diligence and put together a
brief that we can move forward. It
really is data in, data out.
Q: Shooting in far flung places, really does require
extensive pre-knowledge of the area and support from local resources you trust.
What sort of risks have you encountered?
How does partnering with PSN help?
Nic Barnes: The risks are very real. We recently shot in
Morocco and because of the volume of projects shooting there at the moment,
resources fell through at the last minute - the local support we had confirmed
chose to take the 30 day long shoot instead, and they didn’t really care
because the chances of working together again are slim.
Shelby Ross: The word ‘network’ really does mean
something in PSN’s case. I think the question you’ve solved for a lot of people
is how we find reliable, pre-vetted sources that we can just pick up the phone
and carry on a conversation like they’re family.
Q: Shelby, you recently wrapped a global project in
partnership with PSN partners - can you tell us a little about the job?
Shelby Ross: Yes, we did 55 days in 15 countries. It was
a travel, prep, shoot, travel, prep, shoot kind of thing. Having pre-vetted
partners in places we've never been to, really was the saving grace.
Q: How do you communicate the reality of shoots to
clients to make sure there’s no unpleasant surprises?
Nic Barnes: Most clients and agencies appreciate the
transparency. If there are going to be difficult times ahead, such as location
moves or holidays, a lot of people will take that on board. For example, no one
wants to be working through the US holidays and they don’t really expect people
to do it in other countries either. So, I think that most of the time people
appreciate the transparency and you can usually find a workaround.
Dave Saltzman: As long as it’s said in the right way, you
can say whatever you have to say. But you have to choose your words wisely…
Click here for a look at PSN Partner TVC work filmed