Report on Commercials Production: Production and Post-Production - Production profiles/From capable Nina to crazy Jez and oh-so-slightly paranoid John, everyone will recognise these characters from the production world. Jane Austin profiles an imaginary c
By JANE AUSTIN, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 20 June 1997 12:00AM
Managing Directors Nina and Tim (34-55)
Managing Directors Nina and Tim (34-55)
There seems to be an equal split between male and female production
company managing directors, but the position attracts an eclectic
collection of personalities and management techniques. Generally
speaking, mds are perceived as described here - although there are a few
eccentrics who sport either velvet suits or scruffy casuals.
Production company mds tend to live in Notting Hill, Holland Park or
Fulham and drive Jeeps, Range Rovers or sporty German numbers. They say
no to drugs, although they used to be quite partial to dalliances with
uncle Charles. They drink very good wine but not to excess. Nina and Tim
are regulars at the Ivy and like to eat at 192, the House, Cobden and
Groucho’s where they eat rocket and scallop salads with balsamic
vinaigrettes. They are concerned with maintaining a healthy balance
between health and spiritual needs - and managing overheads.
Tim and Nina have both been married before, to people in the industry,
and each have two children from the marriages at private schools. Now
Tim lives with someone with a creative job such as a fine artist, while
Nina is finding it more difficult to find a stable partner because a lot
of men are terrified of her ’in charge’ persona.
Tim wears T-shirts, chinos and a leather jacket, while Nina wears very
smart but sexy suits from Jill Sander, Prada and Gucci. Their favourite
film is Il Postino and their music tastes border on the
They know everything there is to know about the business, and while they
really respect senior management, they hate to admit that they really
don’t understand the junior creatives. They wish they had discovered
Daniel Barber, Jonathan Glazer and Frank Budgen.
Junior Producer Sarah (26-32)
Sarah leaps into her dark grey Golf GTi outside her flat in Ledbury
Road, W11. She’s been living, on and off, with Carlo, a camera operator,
for a couple of years, but would prefer the man in her life to be either
a creative at Rainey Kelly or a director. He has to be in the business
because she loves absolutely everything about the ad industry. Children
are definitely not on the agenda at the moment; she’ll worry about that
in a few years.
She loves agency creatives; Andy and Richard, Chas and Jim, and Tom and
Walt are her particular favourites. Only it was a bit embarrassing when
she met Tom and Walt in Groucho’s and Walt admitted, after she had
introduced him to her closest friends as Wally to denote extra
closeness, that he didn’t remember her.
She’s 31 and has been producing for six years, although she says she’s
29. She reckons she can get away with it for a few more years but really
should give up the Marlboros. She’s out about four nights a week,
working late on budgets or looking over an operator’s shoulder in a
post-production suite. After work, she likes to pop into the House or
the Union to see some mates and down a couple of Sea Breezes. She loves
Quo Vadis, Coast and Nobu - and Andrew Edmunds for a cheap romantic
night out with her other half. Lots of candlelight there - hardly anyone
would notice Carlo is under five foot four and has three chins.
Sarah wears a lot of black and most of her clothes are from Prada,
Joseph and Browns, with stuff from Whistles and Karen Millen for
holidays. But she might have to start going to Jigsaw soon as First
Direct has become a bit snooty about her overdraft. She loves her
holidays, as she is always stressed and is, consequently, always brown.
She loves Mauritius and the Seychelles and that driving holiday in the
US she went on a few years ago in Thelma and Louise mode.
In a more daring moment, she contemplated going trekking in Madagascar
on her own - but thought again.
She’s growing out the Rachel cut and is not sure whether to go for the
fully-flicked Farah Fawcett effect or the sleek Gwyneth Paltrow
Runner Jez (18-25)
’If that ginger wanker asks me for another cup of bloody tea he’ll be
wearing it,’ thought Jez (aka Jeremiah) about the company’s managing
director, as he lugged the hotshot director’s new David Wainwright sofa
up the stairs to his warehouse flat. Now he only has to buy a bollocking
miniature lemon tree for the workhorse director’s wife and take it to
her at home in Sevenoaks.
He doesn’t mind this bit. The drive, in his clapped-out 2CV, will help
him chill out. He can smoke a bit of weed and listen to Carole King’s
Tapestry. Jez thinks the hotshot director is quite cool really, but also
reckons that he has sold out. When did Mr Bigstuff last make a film that
made people really think?
Jez is more interested in road protesting and environmental issues than
the politics of modern youth - and he looks cool in his Converse
All-Star flip flops, khaki army fatigues and tight T-shirt.
Jez has been working in the business for two weeks now and is already
seriously pissed off. First, no-one has read his
novel/poetry/script/treatment yet. Second, he did not write a
dissertation analysing popular culture to spend all day parking cars
belonging to materialistic tossers.
There are perks to the job, though. The workhorse director will let Jez
take his camcorder to Glastonbury and he’s been on a location run. It’s
the only way Jez is able to get away anywhere, that bloody shared house
in Goldbourne Road costs a fortune - his private income only just covers
it. Most of his spare cash goes on his ever-expanding vinyl
But somehow, Jez always seems to manage to score with the grooviest
model/stylist/on the shoot - much to the hotshot director’s chagrin.
Hotshot Director Tosh (28-35)
Tosh stands outside his two-bedroom flat in Powis Terrace and hails a
cab to take him to his Soho office. He can drive, but can’t remember
where he parked his car or, indeed, what type of car it is. He’s been
away a lot. The runner can look for it. He likes to think that he’s not
materialistic, but shelling out pounds 103.27 a week to the NCP in
Poland Street is ridiculous.
He switches on his phone and adjusts his Agnes B suit over his Diesel
T-shirt - got a meeting today. He rubs his eyes, he’s so tired and
hasn’t really dealt with his jet lag yet. Still, work is great, although
those creative guys in the agency don’t understand - if only they could
take on board what he wants to do with the script. Why do they just want
it to look like everything else he’s ever done?
He’s feeling pretty good since he met some cool creatives in the Cobden
and they suggested he gave up alcohol, coffee and fags and drink crushed
beetle tea instead. Mind you, he does have the odd line when he’s at an
awards do or working late with his editor, and a fag whenever he has
really good sex. It’s vital he keeps his wits about him because work is
the most important thing in his life. Why can’t anyone else
He could do with another holiday, but what if a great job came up and
Trev or Howard got it? He had a good time the last time he went
Where was it? The receptionist booked it - he must ask her. Such a good
girl, he’s almost glad that he got a bit wired and slept with her at
Claudia, the stylist he met on the shoot just before he went away, was
also good company. She went on the holiday with him and probably will
again. If only he didn’t have a girlfriend - why do girls always want to
go on beach holidays? He’d rather stay at the Paramount in New York for
a few days and try out the organic oysters at that new place in
Workhorse Director John (37-60)
John has been pissed off for quite some time and is finding it
increasingly hard to hide his frustration. He tries hard to be
everyone’s mate and be fair, but he has a short fuse and is concerned
people don’t phone him as much as they used to. He prefers Cannes to
D&AD now - it’s a great place to meet Latvian producers. That reminds
him, he must put in a few calls on behalf of that creative duo from
John is philosophical and realises that times change and that new talent
pops up, but he can’t help feeling that he’s been passed over.
He’s still working on some feature ideas, and he believes he could have
made a better job of Jurassic Park.
He sometimes gets the cameraman to film clouds so that he can do a bit
of a Gerard - they like that at Ogilvy and Mather. Another favourite is
to experiment by turning the camera on its side and rubbing a bit of
Vaseline on the lens to do a Michel. But, as far as John’s concerned,
the greatest talents of all time are Roger Woodburn and Hugh Hudson. He
loves agency people. He used to do tons of work for Colletts and BMP in
the 80s, and won a silver at BTAA in 1983 and a gong in 1985 - he’s been
known as an award-winning director ever since. He has picked up a few
trophies at Cannes, Epica, Eurobest and Clio and, consequently, is very
big in the Lowlands.
He is married for the second time to Jo, a former PA, and they have two
children. He has four kids (Robert, Jessica, Simon and Carly) in total
if you take into account the first marriage.
He is as reliable as the Mercedes he drives and always puts his cross by
the local Conservative candidate’s name.
He is still fond of a pint with the crew in the Dog and Duck and his
favourite restaurants are the White Tower and the Groucho. John is
concerned he doesn’t make as much money as he used to, but he’ll be OK
as he made more money from selling his house in Soho than in his whole
He has mastered the look of the middle-aged trendy - leather blouson
jacket, ironed jeans and a grandad shirt. He listens to opera, jazz,
blues, the Beatles, the Stones, Sinatra and Chris Rea. He wonders why
women don’t look like Gina Lollo-brigida any more.
Receptionist Tasha (22)
Tasha is described by her male colleagues as an ’uber babe’ and,
basically, was hired because the managing director of the company was
going through his mid-life crisis. She can’t understand why other people
seem to delight in treating her as if she is dead from the waist up. All
she wants is to be taken seriously and become a PA.
She used to be happy as someone’s secretary waiting for the day when
James - her first and only boyfriend, who does something in financial
services - would pop the question. But working in the industry has made
her realise there is more to life than James, shopping in Next and
eating out in Clapham. She has now ditched James and goes out with a
junior editor, although she dreams of the hotshot director. She goes out
every night, but is so young and gorgeous you would think she was tucked
up in bed by 10pm.
She has a private income and no-one really knows where she lives. She
works in a production company because it is a great way to meet media
people. She wears fantastic clothes and goes on fantastic holidays - St
Lucia, Tuscany, Klosters. She was expelled from boarding school for
something to do with boys or cigarettes and still has a controlled party
Turn up the volume, give her a couple of glasses of champers and she’ll
be first on the dance floor.
She’s great at a party, but fantastic at awards dos. Fortunately, no-one
saw her falling out of a cab with the hotshot director after the BTAA
bash - better still, no-one saw her falling into a cab with him the next
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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