The landscape of marketing, advertising and entertainment is rapidly evolving, bringing with it a fair amount of confusion and uncertainty. Editorial shops, once strong and vibrant, have been forced to close as a result of economic downturn and corporate restructuring. Add to this a growing trend of agencies and production companies bringing post in-house and invariably, we begin to question our own relevancy in the industry.
Every year, the bar is raised and new breeds of eager entrants are born with the goals to challenge the status quo. The era of Digital has shattered the traditional models and made it imperative that we realign our thinking and how we approach each project. Gone are the days of being Generalists. So, what is it that separates us from the rest? What is the formula for survival during an economic downturn? The answers lie in our strengths: increased creativity fueled by new technology and new techniques.
For Splice, 2010 was a year of expansion and growth sculpted from a balance of strong creative talent, refined workflow practices, and a dedication to the craft shared by all. But to sustain this requires more. It requires an extreme focus on quality, especially in a time when the clients have become increasingly savvy and expect “realtime” results on every level.
The evolution of digital delivery has also revealed a weakness in our industry: there is no definitive standard yet. As we work to create a tapeless environment, we bump up against issues like “center-cut safe” and the multiple flavors that need to be generated to satisfy the networks, broadcast outlets, and Web content portals. Certainly, this is not a new problem, since we’ve been struggling with a myriad of tape formats for decades.
Looking forward into 2011, our industry’s success will rely on collaboration — collaboration between agency, studio, production and marketer. Clients need partners who can provide them with solutions, not just services, and build a confidence over time that allows us to expand with them — sharing in a true understanding of their brand messaging and goals. We must couple this with a sense of humility and respect, filling the voids that have been left in their companies by economic change.
This is an important time for all of us to display our creativity while creating a stronger, more unified, industry. How well we survive depends on our ability to accept a role that is one of “teammate” rather than “vendor.”
Kel Nelson is an Executive Producer Splice Here (www.splice.tv) in Minneapolis, which provides editorial, color, sound and visual effects services.