What Does an ECD from Goodby Silverstein & Partners and a Producer from Leo Burnett Want You to Know about the Creative Call?

A short time ago, a friend and former agent, Melissa Hennessy, reached out to me about the idea of contributing to our blog.  She was teaching a class and the conversation about the Creative Call was one that the students were very interested in continuing.  Seeing how interested her students were, she offered to work on post about it for our blog.  And, to make the post that much more compelling, we decided to reach out to two highly respected friends/colleagues for their insight.  Neither Ken Zane, a Producer at Leo Burnett or Margaret Johnson, an Executive Creative Director & Partner at Goodby SIlverstein & Partners, hesitated as they both totally agreed that the creative call is of the utmost importance.

Here is what they shared with us.

1) Do creatives want to hear the artist’s own ideas about a project or do they prefer to hear only how the artist would approach the approved concept?  

Ken Zane/Producer/Leo Burnett                                          

They absolutely want to hear the artist’s idea about the project. It is a collaborative effort and if they are interested in working with a specific photographer they would love to have his or her personal voice in the work.

Margaret Johnson/Executive Creative Director & Partner/Goodby Silverstein & Partners                                   

Once a project is approved it is just the jumping-off point. Any good creative wants to hire a photographer who’s going to add dimensions and make the idea better.

2) If the shot list is aggressive do you want to hear if the photographer has any concerns?

Ken Zane/Producer/Leo Burnett                                                   

I do.  I am working on a project like that now and I am very interested if the photographer has any concerns. That way, if there are any, we can work together to find solutions.

Margaret Johnson/Executive Creative Director & Partner/Goodby Silverstein & Partners                                     

Yes and no. It’s good to know if what you’re asking for is unrealistic in the time that you have, but you also want a photographer who’s hungry and enthusiastic enough about the job that they’re willing to push to make the unthinkable happen.

3) If the photographer is a 2nd or 3rd choice, how likely is it that he/she could ever become 1st choice after the call? (or vise versa). What factors would contribute to that?

Ken Zane/Producer/Leo Burnett                                                   

I have experienced that a couple of times where a third choice became the recommend based upon the creative call. If the photographer brings a fresh vision/approach to the call it can be very influential.  Also, asking questions shows a genuine interest in the project and that can sway the decision.

Margaret Johnson/Executive Creative Director & Partner/Goodby Silverstein & Partners                                     

If I don’t see something that I love in the book, I’m hard pressed to believe that a good call could make the end shot sing.

4) If the photographer didn’t do a good job on the call do either you or the art producer let them know that and offer specifics?  Why or why not?  What would make it easier for a creative or art producer to offer feedback?

Ken Zane/Producer/Leo Burnett        

I think if the photographer or their rep asked for feedback on the call it could be given by the producer, and he or she can offer the specifics if it is appropriate.

Margaret Johnson/Executive Creative Director & Partner/Goodby Silverstein & Partners                 

Usually, the creatives report back to their producer if they think a call didn’t go well and the producer then reports back to the agent. It’s important to offer up feedback. That’s the only way we all get better.

5) What’s one thing you wish photographers did or didn’t talk about on the call?  

Ken Zane/Producer/Leo Burnett        

I would say DO talk about what you will bring to the project and share your enthusiasm.

Margaret Johnson/Executive Creative Director & Partner/Goodby Silverstein & Partners                                 

I think you’ve got to be realistic. Know your budget, talk with your photographer about it and make something visually stunning with the money that you have. More often than not, restrictions create freedom.

6) Some agents prefer not to be on the call since it is primarily a creative call and many believe that too many people on the call takes away from the energy, which do you prefer and why?

Ken Zane/Producer/Leo Burnett        

Most of the creative calls I have been on do not involve the agent. I think that some photographers feel more intimacy when just speaking with the creative team and Producer. It keeps the call less formal.

Margaret Johnson/Executive Creative Director & Partner/Goodby Silverstein & Partners                 

That first call is kind of like a blind date. I definitely prefer fewer people on the line so that you can get to know one another, kick ideas around…dream a little.

Our most sincere gratitude to both Ken & Margaret for their time & professional input!  

 

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One thought on “What Does an ECD from Goodby Silverstein & Partners and a Producer from Leo Burnett Want You to Know about the Creative Call?

  1. Pingback: Need a Reminder About How to Handle a Creative Call? Consider These 8 Points. | Notes From A Rep's Journal

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