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Steve Jobs has an astute quote about getting things right: “Details matter.” While it may not be the most radical thing he ever said, it’s surely one of the truest things he said. In filmmaking, it applies nicely. Whether it’s on-set or in post-production, attention to detail can take your project from good to great, letting the viewer know that they’re in not just capable hands, but caring hands.

For Directors Heidi Berg and Felix Soletic, attention to detail was everything when they started dreaming up the dream-like title sequence for Netflix’s The Politician. It’s an eery, fantastical, and entrancing sequence packed with little details the viewer may or may not understand. But, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

In a way, title sequences serve an entirely different purpose than the introduction of a show. They’re most likely compared to a book’s forward, where an outsider offers a rich, unexpected perspective on a work of art. It’s tangentially related but exists in a parallel universe.

For Directors Heidi Berg and Felix Soletic, along with Editor Doron Dor, they live for this moment, the opportunity to give the audience a glimpse into something deeper than plot and storylines. In their work on Ratched, they’re giving viewers a glimpse into madness.

It can be hard to pinpoint what a good producer looks like because the problems they face are never the same twice. If you’re Javier Alejandro, one day you’re coordinating a ballet with tanks, and the next day you’re flying a plane into Bulgaria for a Dua Lipa video. But, behind the facade of these incredible problems, there are few common threads, including having a zen serenity.

There’s a moment in any creative career when you stop trying to fight the unknown and learn to embrace it. It doesn’t make things less scary, but you also lean into that fear, making peace with it. It’s a huge moment and once you get to that point, you can unlock your true creative potential. 

Just take editor Carla Luffe, for example. She got a headstart on this realization by learning to love the most difficult parts of her job which, in turn, makes them a little bit easier. 

“It’s a love and hate relationship. It’s so intense and it’s so multilayered because it never ends. You’ll never be satisfied with what you’re doing,” she told us. “But that’s also the beauty of it, in a way. I think I love it, but I was also scared of it and hated it at times.”

Richard Pearson’s body of work defies any easy categorization or niche. The features he has cut, beginning with the comedy Bowfinger, range from light fare like the Muppets from Space, and Blades of Glory to the drama of United 93, Safe House and The Accountant. Then there’s the bevy of franchise tentpoles he’s worked on, like The Bourne Supremacy, Quantum of Solace, Men in Black II, Iron Man 2 and the MonsterVerse entries Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island.
When we talked with Richard about his work, he acknowledged just how extensive his body of work is: “I’ve been fortunate to delve into childhood fantasies, from dealing with the space program to comic book adventures and the Bond movies, which I loved seeing as a kid. Going on the set of Bond for the first time was pretty cool and made me feel like, ‘I’m ten years old again!’”

With the speed at which advertising is evolving, there’s no room for complacency. You adapt, or you fall behind. Anyone who has worked in the agency world knows the feeling: the nagging inner voice that, even after sleepless nights of working and reworking, never misses an opportunity to ask whether or not you actually took that project as far as you could’ve.

Fear of all-things-average is, at once, the bane of creativity—and the driving force behind it. We wanted to further dig into this idea, so we talked to seven industry-leading creatives on reaching the top and staying there.

Richard Pearson’s body of work defies any easy categorization or niche. The features he has cut, beginning with the comedy Bowfinger, range from light fare like the Muppets from Space, and Blades of Glory to the drama of United 93, Safe House and The Accountant. Then there’s the bevy of franchise tentpoles he’s worked on, like The Bourne Supremacy, Quantum of Solace, Men in Black II, Iron Man 2 and the MonsterVerse entries Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island.
When we talked with Richard about his work, he acknowledged just how extensive his body of work is: “I’ve been fortunate to delve into childhood fantasies, from dealing with the space program to comic book adventures and the Bond movies, which I loved seeing as a kid. Going on the set of Bond for the first time was pretty cool and made me feel like, ‘I’m ten years old again!’”

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta shoot your shot. After returning from paternity leave, Creative Director Danny Hunt called a meeting with the executive creative directors at The&Partnership and said, “I want the Argos account.” And that was that. He went on to create the iconic “Book of Dreams” spot, along with a massively successful installation, that helped catapult his career even further.

When pressed to explain the surprise success of Alan Alda’s 1981 comedy-drama The Four Seasons — which debuted amid a heavy-hitting summer lineup featuring 007, Superman, and King Arthur — a studio executive allegedly dismissed the slice-of-life tale as a ‘non-recurring phenomena.’ As if by its very uniqueness, the film didn’t merit further consideration. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case. In recent years, sleeper hits defying easy pigeonholing have become increasingly common, earning considerable accolades in the process.

“I don’t do nine-to-five.” Mikkel declared to us. “I’m not the usual editor. If I sign on, it becomes ‘The Project’. Every day, even weekends. That gives me the time to try different things, peeling away until I find the balance and simplicity that lets us talk to the audience.”

Nielsen is as dedicated to the project as he is his craft. Having already amassed significant credits with Madame Bovary and Beasts of No Nation, Nielsen was recently awarded a BAFTA for his work on Sound of Metal, as well as winning a Critic’s Choice award for best editing. And to top it all off, the film is currently nominated for a 2021 Academy Award for Best Picture.

We launched our Behind the Work series to feature incredible filmmakers and the skills required to produce great content. In season two, we’re pulling the curtain back on the creative processes that precede the work these filmmakers create. As we spoke with The North Face’s creative team about their short film Lhotse, we noticed gems throughout. In-between anecdotes of avalanches and 8,000-meter summits, there were so many branded content truths that extended beyond the project. It takes a lot of skill and experience to successfully produce a film like this one, and we wanted to share these takeaways with you. Here’s The North Face’s creative team on what it takes to make a film like Lhotse.

Behind the Work is a series that lives at the intersection of advertising and film, and pulls the curtain back to give you a firsthand look into the creative processes behind branded content and ads. Each episode is an opportunity to dive deeper into what makes these projects truly great—the challenges faced, the detail you didn’t notice in the final cut, and above all, the grit and resilience it takes to create brilliant work.

They say, “A bad carpenter blames his tools.” But, if you’re looking on the bright side, the right tools can be made even more effective when put in capable hands. We see it all the time at Filmsupply—creatives license our filmmakers’ incredible work and turn it into something new and incredible. We live for it, but we don’t often get to take a peek into the process behind it, this metamorphosis. Luckily, Michael Quinones and Ian Watt gave us this rare glimpse.

The past year has taught us a lot about what really matters, and the same goes for advertising. As productions were canceled or pushed back, agencies around the world were forced to take a second look at the brief and come up with something they could create with resources at-hand. What they came away with was the fact that you don’t need a massive production to tell a compelling story. You need a message and a creative way to deliver it.

From the time a film is merely a word document on a laptop screen to the second it graces the big screen—a producer’s work is never done. For one, the lengthy process of film production requires a meticulous eye for detail every step of the way. Guiding a nugget of an idea from its inception to becoming a full-fledged film is by no means a small feat.

We spoke with some award-winning producers and production companies, compiling a list of the best all-around tools to set your work up for success. Whether in pre-production, on set, or in post, here are some ways to keep each step of the process as streamlined as possible.

Several times during our conversation, Director Rune Milton Olsen literally jumped out of his chair and started pacing around the room when talking about the production of Life. DP Paul Meyers would laugh, as if this was nothing new, mirroring his enthusiasm. They’re the two minds behind the short film, made for Doctors Without Borders, and to say it was a passion project is quite the understatement.

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