Sunday, March 8, 2009

Show Some Brotherly Love

I want to thank all of our readers who enjoy this blog as a resource of wisdom and experience from the producer point of view.

I have gotten tons of feedback from readers all over the world who find each and every interview a wellspring of inspiration and education and a way to connect through a common role. There is no better way to teach, communicate and educate than through real life experience.

Each profile is a glimpse into the lives of those who are quarterbacking ideas, initiatives, campaigns and projects. A birds eye view of what it takes to manage a team of highly sophisticated professionals day in and day out.

We are all so lucky to be working in a field in which we have a passion and a love for what we do. To work in an industry that offers creativity, excitement and bleeding edge technology being engineered by the most creative professionals in the world.

A field that is young and fertile where we can all sow our collective talents and be a part of the foundation of an emerging industry that creates content for the greatest communications platform known to man.

Up until now I have featured up and coming producers, young guns and seasoned veterans, founders and visionaries who have all contributed to the foundation of where we are today.

But lets not lose sight of the difficult times we live in right now.

In the spirit of camaraderie and brotherly love I would like to point out that there are also many experienced and talented producers out there who are in need of work and would be a valuable asset to any brand, agency or interactive shop.

Our next producer profile is one of those people.

Q: Introduce us to yourself and your company.
My name is Leslie Sink and I am an Interactive Producer who is currently looking for a role in the Philadelphia area. I’ve worked for MTV Networks and AtmospereBBDO. I’ve also produced digital campaigns in the UK for a company called TMP Worldwide. Living and working in a foreign country was a great experience, especially being exposed to another culture’s advertising. The British are known for pushing the envelope and for their satirical and edgy creative, and I came away from that experience with a new appreciation for taking chances in medium and style.

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?
During college I studied art and in my spare time was a musician and writer. I had numerous day jobs after I graduated, from promoting local bands to starting up a small Internet business but all were on a hobby scale. The combination of my experience was a natural fit for interactive producer so I took a production job with a college marketing company on the East Coast and went upwards from there. The majority of producers I know also have creative backgrounds, from comedy to acting to

Q: How do you stay on top of emerging technologies and keep your team informed and motivated?
I do a ton of web surfing and am constantly looking at other agencies to see what work is being produced out there. I also read trade magazines like OMMA, Advertising Age and Wired as well as other publications, not related to my field because you never know what will spark that next big idea. I am a huge believer in emerging technology as long as it’s usable and makes sense for your lifestyle. I keep my teams motivated by being focused on the finish line without losing the ability to have fun along the way. I also have immense respect for each part of the production process, whether its designing a comp or developing flash site, right down to proofreading and QA. Each phase is just as important as the next.

Q: What does your ideal client/project look like?
My most memorable projects had a high level of complexity - user generated content, a gaming element, sound design, 3-D animation, translation or viral marketing. But my ideal client is one that knows how to harness the digital medium for its business goals but also isn’t afraid to experiment.

Q: How do you educate your clients and set realistic expectations for a project?
I think it’s about asking lots of questions and finding out what kind of experience they are looking for online, and also what they would like to come away with. What is their barometer for success? Are they looking to create something totally new or be a part of something established? There’s a lot of information gathering at the start of each project. Sometimes clients know and other times they want you to tell them what’s possible. And if something is not realistic either in terms of time and cost vs. ROI it’s about at least showing them what’s out there and explaining why it might not work for them.

Q: What was the best project you have ever worked on?
Hands down it was a branding project for Citi in 2007. The brand took over eight different Yahoo! Sites around the world and the rich media advertising drove to a cinematic Flash site with animation layered over video. Between all of the various concepts and languages there were literally hundreds of advertising units. Plus the timeline was amazingly accelerated and even the comps were presented in animation format, sometimes developed the night before! It really tested my mettle as a producer.

Q: How many projects are you comfortable producing at one given time?
I break it down mostly by cost. I can handle a variety of projects around $100K – maybe up to 10. And then maybe 2 or 3 that are around $300 to 500K. If it’s over a million dollars then that is probably the only one on my plate at the time.

Q: What does your dream production team look like?

I just have so much respect for people who are experts at what they do, which is most of the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

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

By utilizing whatever research we can to make educated decisions. If there is room in their budget or timeline for a discovery phase with some focus groups and usability testing that is ideal. If not, it’s tapping them for their market knowledge and going from there. It’s also keeping them in the communication stream from the start and not leaving any unwelcome surprises for them to discover on their own.

Q: What is your vision of what the next phase of our industry is going to look like?
More and more I see digital agencies taking on traditional work (like print), especially now that some companies are using the lion-share of their marketing budget online. I also think we’re going to see a clear winner in the next year or two in the battle of the Internet broadcasting companies. Like so many others, I’m a really busy mom and don’t have the luxury of being an appointment TV viewer. Technology has brought a lot of freedom to people with near-impossible schedules.

Q: Please share a snippet of wisdom that you would like to impart on our readers.
Find out what makes other people tick – whether it’s the audience you are marketing to, or even your coworkers on a project. If you can pinpoint what drives them, it can go a long way towards a successful project.

Leslie can be reached at

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