Thursday, December 18, 2008

Digitally Exposed

Q: Introduce us to yourself and your company.
I'm Nik Traxler. I'm an integrated producer here at Leo Burnett. I produced broadcast and print before I migrated into the digital world and now I do everything.

Q: Interactive Producers come from all walks of life, they are a hybrid of talents, tell us about your background and how you got interested in digital production?
I went to school thinking I was going to become an account executive but landed an internship as a production manager. The department was only me and the head. He was fired a week into my internship and I was left running the department alone. After it ended, I went back to school and a recruiter found me and brought me on board after graduation. The biggest digital exposure I had was when I tried to teach myself C++ back in the 90s.

Q: How do you stay on top of emerging technologies and keep your team informed and motivated?
Surf the web and read the trades and share kick ass sites to keep people motivated.

Q: What does your ideal client/project look like?

My ideal client is a client that cares about the work and understands what we do as producers. Someone who at least shows interest in the production process and thinks outside of graphs, excel sheets, and powerpoints. Someone who understands that broadcast and digital supplement each other and that both can be very powerful ways to advertise.

Q: How do you educate your clients and set realistic expectations for a project?

Write a very long production memo at the beginning of the project which details every aspect of the project.

Q: What was the best project you have ever worked on?

Best project I worked on was the 2008 integrated Hide and Seek Pop-Tarts campaign. I produced 2 :30 broadcast TV spots, 4 :30 webisodes, 2 broadband spots, print, and a website where you could create an avatar and search for Pop-Tarts online.

Q: How many projects are you comfortable producing at one given time?
Depends on the scope of the projects. The status sheet right now is extremely busy.

Q: What does your dream production team look like?
My dream production team is a team that is very collaborative and a team that genuinely cares about the work and the end product. Also, a team that provides value to my client.

Q: How do you ensure that your client's best interests are met?

By not being afraid to say no when it's necessary, to also know when to stick up for an idea and fight for it.

Q: What is your vision of what the next phase of our industry is going to look like?

Next phase of the industry I think will be utilizing vendors in different ways, not seen before. Building sites, but needing different ways to drive them to the sites. Advertising through iTunes video downloads, more preroll videos, as well as your continued broadcast spot. As I said before, I think the two need each other to really thrive.

Q: Please share a snippet of wisdom that you would like to impart on our readers.

My advice as a producer is bend, but don't break. Every project has it's ups and downs, but it's our job to make sure that at the end of the day, everyone is happy. Regardless of the stress and the long hours, we are producing creative work, and we should try and have fun while we do it.

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