Grown-Up Young Directors

February 28, 2013 / Signed/Unsigned

By Alex Reeves

Past winners of the Young Director Award evaluate the fifteen-year-old event.

We know. Becoming a successful director is hard. It’s a tough old industry to break into – you’ve to elbow your way in past the hordes of people who think they’re the next Kubrick to prove that you really are a talented director. That can be difficult, but if you have the skills, there are people on your side.

The Young Director Award, by CFP-E and Shots, celebrates talented directors at the beginning of their careers. It takes place every summer on the fringes of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and, now in its fifteenth year, the ceremony draws in the biggest crowd of any fringe event at Cannes.

Over the years the YDA has proven its worth. From the get-go it has launched directorial careers of some calibre: Peter Thwaites, Daniel Wolfe, Kim Gehrig, Martin Krejci. In its first year it awarded an aspiring director called Ringan Ledwidge, setting him on a trajectory that has led to his winning seven British Arrows, 11 Cannes Lions and a Yellow Pencil at D&AD. You might have seen some of his work.

Ringan remembers how difficult making that first splash was. Before his YDA win he was working hard to make waves in directing. “I was trying to find ways to get work by either shooting things I thought creatives would find interesting or by bugging them to meet me,” he says. “I made a real pest of myself, phoning and emailing creatives, directors and so on in a bid to get a foot in the door.” But winning a YDA was a turning point.

Even back in 1999, the YDA had the power to transform someone’s life. “Winning the award was pretty fantastic to be honest,” says Ringan. “It was like being ‘made,’ like they do in the mafia!” Understandably, this recognition was a massive confidence boost, but it also meant, importantly, that the industry knew his name. It’s not one they’ve forgotten since.

Showcasing their best work in front of so many clients, agencies and production companies, the award can bring opportunities that can become threshold moments for young directors. “Obviously, those don’t last forever,” says Ringan, “but if you take them it really gets your career going.”

Karen Cunningham, who won a YDA in 2008, experienced these opportunities directly. “I got instant work from people in the audience,” she remembers. They phoned her immediately after the ceremony and gave her a script for Electrabel, which she went on to direct.

Having moved over to directing after years of wearing a producer’s hat, Karen had a hard time proving herself in her new role at first. “I made myself a bit of a target, really,” she admits. But winning at the YDA was proof that she was up to the change. “It’s affirmation when your peer group says it’s good. What more can you want?”

Accolades like the YDA are vital to making progress as a director. “Awards are really your only currency,” says Karen. “That’s it. If you win an award, you don’t have to start at the bottom of the pile.” It worked for Karen, who has directed films for clients like Dove and The Daily Mirror and gone on to set up her own unique production company, Pop-Up Films, with executive producer Julia Fetterman. She even directed the trailer for last year's ceremony.

Product: Young Director Award
Title: The Light Is Your Friend
Production Company: Pop- Up Films
Director: Karen Cunningham
Production Company Producer: Julia Fetterman
Director of Photography: Vincent Warin
Ad Agency: BETC Paris
Creative Directors: Damien Bellon & Stephane Xiberras
Art Director: Damien Bellon
Copywriter: Damien Bellon
Editing Company: Stitch
Editor – Max Windows
Sound Company: 750mph
Post Production House: MPC

Tell No One, a directing duo who’ve known each other since they were six and seven years old, won the Video Art Europe category in last year’s awards. “We’re not sure what’s being said behind closed doors but we have been quite busy since,” they say. In the few months since their victory they’ve worked with Sienna Miller on a film for Matthew Williamson and made a striking, reality-bending commercial for bookmakers Coral. They’re currently on the Good Egg roster “mainly thinking about umbrellas” – they can’t say anymore than that. They say “it’s top secret.”

“It’s lovely to be recognised at such an important event,” they say. And they approve of its tech-savvy nature, which suits its young audience. “Unlike most awards the YDA successfully utilise the internet, YouTube and contemporary communication to broaden its scope and audience.”

Japanese director Kosai Sekine won a YDA in 2006 and notes one of its defining points is its high standards. If the entries are not up to scratch then categories have been known to go without winners. “Because of its strict regulation,” says Kosai, “it focuses to select the best fresh talent.”

As a director from outside of the Western world, Kosai sees the YDA’s international character as a great benefit. “Not so many Asian directors have chances to become known internationally,” he says. “But Cannes is where every international advertising market gathers.” After he won a few years ago the effects were clear. “I started to receive offers from international production companies immediately after the YDA,” he says. He’s currently signed to Stink, who represent him in London, Berlin, Paris and Shanghai. Some of the work this led to has been successful, like his short film for Adidas, Break-Up Service, which won him a Silver Film Lion at Cannes.

French directing duo We Are From LA won a YDA last year for their Tetris-inspired Eastpak commercial. They were already represented by Somesuch & Co. in the UK and Iconoclast in the USA and Europe, but in the months since they won they’ve been pretty busy creating commercials, web films, a music video, a photography exhibition and an interactive experience.

They point out one important point about the YDA in Cannes – that it’s a great party with all of the advertising industry. “The super cool thing,” they say, “is that you can celebrate after the awards on the Croisette with all your friends until the early hours of the morning. The hardest thing is not losing the award before dawn.”

Ringan agrees that being held on the French Riviera works well for the ceremony. “Well, it’s sunny, there’re some great parties and if you haven’t done it before you’ll be amazed at how much rosé humans can consume,” he aptly observes. “It also means that as a young director you’re exposed to a worldwide market and talent. That’s worth its weight in gold.”

The Young Director Award is calling for entries now until Friday 19 April. Submit your work at their shiny new website, re-launched to commemorate their fifteenth anniversary, www.youngdirectoraward.com. See you at the beach party.

 

Note: This article was originally published in 2013. The 2014 deadline is 5 May.

Unsigned: Emile Rafael

February 28, 2013 / Signed/Unsigned

By The Beak Street Bugle

Our unsigned director of the month has built a strong reel of music videos at lightspeed.

Emile Rafael has honed his filmmaking skills through a producer’s eye.
Having grown up in Prague, he moved to London at the age of 22 to study at the London Film School. After graduating, Emile returned to the Czech Republic and began producing there.

But missing the buzz of London he returned to the UK and found work producing commercials and music videos. He has more recently begun to focus on directing and over the past year has churned out a stream of impressive music videos.

Watch some of his work here:

Weird Ad of the Month

February 20, 2013 / Humour

By The Beak Street Bugle

Wow. Just wow.

This Egyptian chocolate bar is apparently more surprising than a belly-dancing urangutan. Maybe he's in on it and he knows they're just people in monkey suits. Whatever. It's werid.

Post: Traumatic?

February 20, 2013 / Features

By Susie Innes

Post has never been so powerful, but this can be a curse as well as a blessing.

Many years ago, when Virgin owned Rushes and we all got to go to Branston Towers for tea, they launched Henry. In order to encourage us to pay the extortionate price of £450 an hour rate card, we had an incentive. A free CD voucher for every hour, and a trip on Virgin Atlantic to New York if you spent a day in the suite. I only knew one producer who had such a heavy post job she managed the round trip (I remember the commercial, it was split screen – fancy). Through a lot of caveats and demo sequences,  I built up our very impressive music library. Well impressive until we started downloading and reverting to vinyl, but that’s another article.

Imagine if that was the case today? We’d have to take a weekend pad in the Big Apple just to keep up with our freebies.

These days we squirm and bleat and suck in our teeth when, due to budget and/or timing, we are left with only a WEEK IN POST.

Telecine the same. Hands up if you remember (if your arthritis allows you) the days of “quarter grade/quarter transfer”. That, to those of you born in the second quarter of last century, meant you only spent half an hour in TK before retiring to your online edit suite for an hour or so of conforming and adding titles before clocking.

Thanks to new technology, there was suddenly so much more you could do from the comfort of your Soho sofa. And as the new technology developed, of course the cost got higher. So we had to explain to Clients that yes indeed they were having to pay double the rate card but hey, it was sharper faster and better, so the ads would be twice as shiny and would be done in less than half the time so money saved for a better product.

And then suddenly, as Henry grew up as Harry and there was no Smoke without Flame, we all woke up to what we could do.

Now none of us shake our heads sagely when whizz bang SFX appeared in a script. Well we do, but now we say “sure, but it will cost you”.

Find a perfect location for Morrisons with a huge Tesco Xtra slap bang in shot? No problem - “we can get rid of that”. We don’t concern ourselves with clearing two cars through customs, one for UK and one for the rest of the world; we only take one and flip it. We no longer wince when the background extra waves “cooee” in the perfect take; we just cut off her arm. Wanna shoot in the shanty towns and make it look like uptown LA? Not a problem. Cleaning up those fences virtually is a lot less stressful than taking a bucket and a mop.

And extra joy. Those nice folk who used to be all pale and hunched behind their consoles, the guys you were embarrassed that you only recognized by the back of their heads, they get to come out to the shoot too. Just remember to include their meals on your side.

There will always be the script that is “cinéma vérité, wobbly camera, really easy to shoot, it will be cheap” that your creatives assure you will be do-able. But it also includes babies, talking goldfish (“they don’t have to look perfect, that’s the gag,”) and all for a client who hasn’t yet designed the toothpaste tube, so back to the miracle of CGI.

But a little like cosmetic surgery, we still like to deny the heavy hand of post, and still beam when we can say, “yes, it was all in camera.” Yes in camera we got the one giraffe to swing their neck once, then spent twelve weeks to get it to do it on repeat and get his mates to join in.

Our commercial worlds are now perfect for our needs, customized frame by frame. So much so, that we also have the option to build in imperfections when we think it is all too antiseptic, we can create some wobble, add some noise. Just to make it “real”.

Oh imagine the horrors that went on air before the Soho equivalent of the Harley Street surgeon cleaned them up.  Dreary ideas, no clever twists, dirty streets and out of control eyelashes.

Only that is not the case. Good old ads are good. Cool old ads are cool. Effects worked. Gags were funny. Animation animated. The time and effort spent on them was distributed differently is all.

My son and I are currently going through our DVDs, trying to make sure he is up to date on all culturally relevant movies, which to him is pretty much anything that has been referenced in the Simpsons. And we ask ourselves “How would they do it if they made this now?”

Would Roger Rabbit be a CGI model made to look 2D? Would he blend in better? Is it accident or design that he is not fully integrated in the live action and therefore never quite forgettable as a toon, which helps the plot?

The effects in The Shining are really clunky, but nothing, nothing has scared me more or since than the old lady in the bath and the terrible terrible twins. Imagine them in 3D coming at ya.

And in the case of Jaws, its genius lies in the fact that they couldn’t make the shark work. From a technical nightmare was born the original and best suspenseful soundtrack, a tight and clean script, and the unimaginable fear of the unseen. Think how blah a remake would be if we could “put the creature in later”. Would Roy Scheider, God rest his soul, ever consider reeling in a bit of green screen?

So it seems production values haven’t changed, it is just how they are applied. We make the best of the tools available. And use them to their best effect. If you can have three months to shoot 60 seconds of footage, you can clean that wall of graffiti, design that costume, train that cat and grow those nails.  If not, you can fix it in post.

Post is a marvelous thing and we need to use it wisely. The worry is not to use it as a salve for dull scripts, poor planning and sloppy art direction.
Perhaps now that we know that pretty much anything is possible, have we stopped striving for the impossible? When art department issues are insurmountable, we need to at least think about ways round it that don’t involve masses of hardware and banks of boys with headphones and pens and tablets.

And beware, it can also happen that an idea, or a concept, or a USP can be completely overshadowed by the heavy-handed technique.

Take the current Crunchy Nut Cornflakes ad. It is pretty impressive the way the dinosaurs come into the kitchen (as it was in Jurassic Park… years ago). The spot is fine, and in keeping with the campaign. But the whole thing, with all its excitement, feels weak. Crafting the gag is lost to some swishy tales and slimy scales.

Lets make it so all the hard work is not done at the back end (ooh er missus). Pretty much anything is possible in post. But lets pretend it isn’t.

High Five: February

February 15, 2013 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Our favourite commercials this month are a bit cinematic. Grab some popcorn.

We’ve made it out of January feeling all shiny and new, obviously having stuck to our New Years’ resolutions to the letter. The advertising is upbeat and positive and we’re generally feeling like 2013 is going to be the year it all comes together. We’ve been spoilt for choice when it comes to quality advertising too – the industry seems to be starting the year as they mean to go on. It’s all very inspiring. We’re just hoping clients have some money left for the rest of the year.

Product: Virgin Atlantic
Title: Flying the Face of Ordinary
Production Company: Partizan
Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
Production Company Producer: David Stewart
Directors of Photography: Andre Chemetoff, Damian Morisot
Ad Agency: RKCR/Y&R
Agency Producer: Jody Allison
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Post Production House: MPC

Virgin Atlantic, Flying in the Face of Ordinary
Directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Partizan

It’s hard to pull off glossy without seeming pompous, but somehow Virgin Atlantic ads manage it every time. As the travel sector cashes in on the dreariness of January we’ve been swamped by cut-price holiday commercials with breathy voiceovers; we don’t normally get slick two-minute X-Men trailers that turn out to be advertising flights. So when a brand has the audacity to put one out, we pay attention.

Product: MoneySupermarket
Title: Astronaut
Production Company: Independent
Director: The Glue Society
Production Company Producer: Jason Kemp
Director of Photography: Don Burgess
Ad Agency: Mother
Editing Company: The Playroom
Editor: Adam Spivey
Sound Company: 750MPH
Post Production House: The Mill

MoneySupermarket, Astronaut
Directed by The Glue Society, Independent

It’s all too easy to compare this campaign to its catchy-yet-infuriating competitors – the meerkats and their comrades. But not only is this less annoying, it’s also built on the clever promise of making us feel “epic”, which roughly translates as “smug”. The Glue Society have completely nailed that The Top Gun/Apollo 13 feel here, too, rounding off a neat piece of work that ticks a lot of boxes.

Product: Lynx
Title: Fireman
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Tim Godsall
Production Company Producer: Rick Jarjoura
Director of Photography: Jess Hall
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: David Kolbusz
Creative Team: Wesley Hawes, Gary McCreadie, Diego Oliveira and Caio Giannella
Agency Producer: George Ancock
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Richard Orrick
Sound Company: Phaze
Post Production House: Framestore

Lynx, Fireman
Directed by Tim Godsall, Biscuit Filmworks

Astronauts seem to be in vogue. Like the MoneySupermarket commercial, this ad is just so Hollywood. Explosions and Die Hard-grade action all over the place. Lynx have a pretty impressive track record for delivering both visual spectacles and blokey comedy and this ad justifies their reputation. Its tone is spot on. Gone are the beer-and-pizza, Nuts magazine days of lad culture. These days Lynx’s alpha male has a PhD in astrophysics and a radiation-proof suit.

Product: Guardian
Title: Own the Weekend
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Tim Godsall
Production Company Producer: Kwok Yau
Director of Photography: Daniel Bronks
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: David Kolbusz
Creative Team: Wesley Hawes, Gary McCreadie
Agency Producer: Chris Watling
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: Factory
Post Production House: The Mill

Guardian, Own the Weekend
Directed by Tim Godsall, Biscuit Filmworks

Another gem from the BBH/Biscuit Filmworks partnership and another ad that borrows from the Hollywood we know and (occasionally) love to get laughs. It’s good to know that the Guardian can take the piss out of themselves (that couple are well-observed caricatures of the paper’s readership) although the dystopian future it shows us does have a worrying hint of prophecy to it. Hugh Grant might be an unnecessary evil, but we suppose he’s relatively harmless.

Product: Diet Coke
Title: Gardener
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Rocky Morton
Production Company Producer: Chris McBride
Director of Photography: Nicholaj Bruel
Ad Agency: BETC
Executive Creative Director: Neil Dawson
Art Director: Neil Dawson
Copywriter: Clive Pickering
Agency Producer: Karen Egan
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Post Production House: Finish

Diet Coke, Gardener
Directed by Rocky Morton, MJ
Z

The women in the office have confirmed that this works for them. This gent’s not quite an astronaut (in fact, on the basis of this little sketch, he seems a bit of a dullard) but he’s certainly easy on the eye. It’s a resurrected classic with all the ready-made hype that comes with that and with Rocky Morton directing it’s a suitably vivid objectification of the male form. And what a form it is.

Signed: Guillaume Cagniard

February 15, 2013 / Signed/Unsigned

By The Beak Street Bugle

This Frenchman’s arty eye joins the sett.

Guillaume Cagniard is a man of many skills. London production company 15 Badgers recently signed him for representation as a director and artistic director, but he’s worked in all sorts of artistic fields before, including designing acoustic furniture with his brother Timothée.

Having originally started his career as a creative at TBWA in Paris, he built up a strong understanding of advertising. He later moved on to become creative director for French street artist JR, with whom he worked on projects like the controversial Women are Heroes,  plastering huge images of women on the walls of the Seine.

More recently he has moved into the realms of music videos and he’s got off to a pretty good start as a director, creating a striking art video for Mercury Prize winners Alt-J.

Watch some of his work here:

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February 7, 2013 /

By The Beak Street Bugle

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Breaking the Roster

February 6, 2013 / Features

By Alex Reeves

Seven reasons why independent directors’ representation is hot right now.

For decades, the British commercial production company has remained a two-headed beast, serving both as a group of specialists with film production skills and as a corral for the creative talents that bring magic to these films – their jealously coveted directors.

But as things change at a blinding pace in this creative, tech-driven industry, people have begun to question this system. Companies have started bringing directors out of the production companies’ dominion and dedicating their entire business to selling these talents. Reps have been turning independent.

Various business models are knocking about. Some offer a roster of completely independent directors, leaving the choice of who produces a film up to the client. Other independent directors representatives sell the talents of directors from several small production companies, building a sizeable roster out of smaller ones. Others are more about breaking down boundaries between commercials, TV, film and online.

Breaking away from the rigid yet tried-and-tested model of directors tied to their production company, this approach seems to be gaining momentum, with companies like Las Bandas, Soho Pantry, Enid, McQ, Tangerine and Talent Hungry coming onto the scene. So what has driven this change? We spoke to a cross-section of the industry and broke it down to seven factors:

 

1. Everyone’s a Director Now

Now we’ve all got sci-fi technology in our pockets, any idiot with the audacity to call themselves a film director can use the filmmaking processes that used to take years of training to master.  And in a culture where we’re encouraged to believe that we’re unique creative individuals, just like everyone else, there are quite a lot of those. “Everyone in the world thinks they’re a director now,” says Jen Herrera, who reps directors independently for Las Bandas. She’s only half-joking.

Inevitably, some of these are genuinely talented and, with production companies fighting over jobs, they can’t sign them all. Some independent reps pick up this slack, meaning production companies can borrow these directors. As Lise McQuillin, Managing Partner of McQ, says, “some struggle to understand why a director would ever want to be represented by anything other than a production company. Some see it as a great creative and cost-effective resource, as they can have an extension to their existing roster and need never turn a project down.”


2. The Rise of the Boutique Production Company

We’re living in an entrepreneurial age, where it’s become perfectly acceptable for twenty-somethings with wild ideas to become their own bosses and, sometimes, build something impressive out of nothing. So it’s not surprising that London’s production community has burgeoned in the past decade. The Advertising Producers Association (APA) now has over 150 member production companies, but the vast majority of these are cosy boutique operations, with just a handful of directors and only a couple of permanent staff.

“There are lots more smaller production companies,” says Colette Crespin, who runs Tangerine. “The amount of money a full-time rep might want isn’t necessarily within the budgetary constraints of what a smaller production company might have. This [model of representation] is just being savvy and cost-efficient.”

Even if they could afford it, employing a dedicated directors’ rep would probably be overkill for these companies – talking about three directors over and over could be extremely tedious. It makes sense for several rosters to unite under one banner, saving the small companies money and giving them more clout when it comes to fighting past agencies’ fortified gates.

The one problem with this is that these companies are effectively competitors, so they need to be wary of clashes between similar directors. John Doris, Managing Director of Mustard would worry about this if he ran a smaller company. “They’re going to push the directors that are going to get them a script,” he says. “There’s got to be a pecking order within that amalgamated roster.” This sort of repping comes with delicate politics that can be difficult to balance, but for many companies it’s still a compelling option.


3. There’s No Money

In the production industry’s eyes, budgets have never been big enough. A bit more money could always be put to use somewhere. But since the economy took a nose-dive these challenges are more threatening than ever. And with cost controllers scrutinising every expense, clients wonder exactly how much they should be spending on a director.

While it’s no longer the jet setting 80s, there are still big jobs, but these are thinner on the ground, meaning even the top directors are less busy. “I don’t think there’s as much trickle down as there used to be,” considers Bradley Woodus, a producer at Dare, “because the busy directors aren’t as busy as they once were, when jobs might have been passed down to someone younger.”

Without this serendipity to rely on, newer directors need as much exposure to agencies as they can get, and since independent reps started taking on small production company’s rosters, being a small fish in a small pond can often be better than getting lost in a big shoal.


4. Video is Conquering the Internet

While budgets shrink, the quantity of video content being commissioned is rampantly growing. This is another boon for the less-experienced directors out there. The top-level directors pick up the few big-money TV ads still floating about, while the rest have a vast gamut of online content to direct.

“About two years ago digital became a serious thing,” says Jen, “which meant that budgets were going to be less. But there’s more content, constantly needing more people. Everything I shoot now, there always needs to be a making-of video.”

Independent reps are well suited to servicing this low-budget, online-only sort of work – jobs the big production companies might not see as worthwhile, if a production company is involved at all.


5. Everyone is Having a Go at Production

Production companies no longer have a monopoly on production. In an age where any kid with an iPhone can make passable video content, everyone’s having a pop. Brands and agencies are trying to bring some production in-house, and even a few post production houses have started dabbling in the physical world.

If brands are doing things differently, then Lise thinks the production industry, including independent representation, needs to step up too. “We should at least match them,” she says, “if not lead the change in the way we create and deliver productions. Using independent directors is just one small step forward.”

Understandably, production companies are a bit miffed by this, so they’re unlikely to let their directors swan off and direct films in these new arrangements. Independently represented directors are much more flexible though, and their reps are much happier to speak to the new types of client this shift in the industry has created.


6. Agency Time is Precious

Nobody likes being sold to, particularly in Britain. So it’s understandable that agencies often resent the endless stream of reps banging at their portcullis to show reels.

The problem is that it’s important for producers and creatives to know what talent is available to them. They know this, but it’s never quite as urgent as the other stuff they have to get on with, so it often doesn’t get the time it deserves.

The big production companies will get past the gatekeepers relatively easily – agencies know they need to keep up with the work they’re doing. But independent directors or those on newer rosters don’t have a strong brand to lubricate this process. A good rep can provide this lubrication.

“The role of the rep has had to change,” says Colette. “Agencies don’t have time to see every rep from every company coming in and showing them 20 pieces of work, so an independent rep with a few companies on their roster is more of a resource.”

With the right address book and enough kudos in the industry, an independent rep can get their directors quality airtime in front of the right producers and creatives. “As an agency, there’s no difference between an independent representative coming in or a representative who looks after one company, as far as I’m concerned,” says Bradley. “It’s talent, it’s directors and it’s just trying to keep abreast of what’s going on in the business.”


7. The Internet is Big

The APA website links to the websites of the vast majority of production companies in the UK. Through portals like this an agency looking for a director has access to hundreds of directors reels.

With such a big catalogue at their fingertips, why would they want something as anachronistic as a person physically coming to their office to show them films? Surely the directors’ rep has gone the way of the switchboard operator and the typesetter.

Actually, no. Reps are as relevant as ever, but for different reasons. Sifting through hundreds of director’s reels searching for the one? To quote internet sensation Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” What this ultimately means is that agency producers searching for the perfect director will check the companies they know and not much further.

It’s all too easy to click away from a website after watching one less-than-perfect video, points out Bradley. “If someone comes in to show you some work it might not be until spot three or four that you see something relevant, whereas online, if you watch one spot and it’s not ticking the box, there’s every chance that you’ll click away.” What a rep can do is make sure the right producer sees the right work, picking the perfect pearl from the vast sea of unfamiliar directors.


Independent repping is a sign of the times. If these seven factors continue to influence the industry then we could be seeing a lot more of it.

But it shouldn’t be seen as a paradigm shift. The traditional model of dedicated reps will continue as long as the big companies have regular work and, as fickle as some directors may be, if a company lets them direct Nike and Guinness ads then they’ll be safe and sound.

The independent model may continue to grow but it shouldn’t have too much trouble fitting alongside its predecessor. “I’ve got no qualms bidding against independent representation,” says John. “If an independent rep is personable, professional and knows their business, there’s no reason they can’t go on a board like a production company.”