CAMPAIGN CRAFT: FORUM - What is the best way to represent UK-based directors overseas?



It is important to recognise that each director has different needs and

different market potential in each overseas territory. With this in

mind, it is essential to consult with and involve directors in the

process of working out and expediting a plan for international

representation. Major markets for Concrete are the US, Europe and Far


Europe has its own set of problems ranging from a thriving black economy

to cartels which exist to serve the ’national interest’.

Furthermore, there are hundreds of production companies in Europe with

large libraries of out-of-date, fifth-generation, dubbed directors’


These are presented without our knowledge or consent to advertising

agencies for scripts we have not seen. Some people make a good living

via this process, but it’s not in the long-term interests of a director

who is aiming high in the career stakes. An exclusive relationship with

a production company may go some way to policing the latter.

The US requires a relationship with a local production company. In an

ideal world it is great to find a like-minded company to handle all of

one’s directors. The cherry on the cake would be a US production company

that has directors who one would wish to market in Europe.


There is much more to representing directors today than there was ten

years ago. They demand a level of involvement in their careers that

makes the relationship much more than just one of ’selling’ them like a


The relationship you have with a director is comparable to one in your

personal life - nurture it or they’ll leave you for someone else. It is

built entirely on trust and shared values. If they feel that you

understand and support them, they will support you.

Until recently, there was an attitude prevalent among English directors

and creatives that the only good work came from London, and that

’foreign’ jobs were rubbish creatively but good to do for the money when

you weren’t busy. That view is now history. Excellent work comes from

all over the place, and our directors are aware of that fact.

Reps are not the way for us because they are only involved in the sale

and do not take responsibility for the results.

We have signed a co-representation deal with Public Works in the US

because it shares our outlook and ambitions and is intimately involved

in the process of creative work.


In an ideal world, companies would represent their directors themselves

in all the key international markets. In reality, of course, there is

neither the time nor the resources to realise this approach.Therefore,

entrusting a third party is the most common option. When selecting a

representative, the most important point to be addressed is that it

should be a reputable outfit, whatever the market.

Secondly, the maintenance of a decent level of communication with the

head of the company and not Giorgio, the office boy, who asks you to

speak slowly and repeat the name of your company each time you call, is


For us, the representation of our directors abroad is simple: we’re a

genuine multinational company with stature in each of the markets we are

present in. By joining radical, whether it be in the UK, US, Australia

or France, directors will be covered in all the crucial bases

Consequently, the headache of finding an appropriate form of

representation overseas is eliminated.

Of course, there are places where signing an exclusive deal is not


In Italy, production companies have relationships with clients rather

than agencies. By limiting yourself to one or two, you limit yourself to

the number of clients you work with.


The ideal situation is for me to represent directors overseas on a

one-to-one basis. Sometimes I can do this in a burst but it’s obviously

impossible to do every day.

If you have an active role in overseas markets, you need to work with

production companies that share your views and want to make good


The danger in some markets is that you get involved with people who just

want to make a quick buck and aren’t interested in good work. This

doesn’t do the director or yourself any good in the long term.

We have hooked up with Omaha in the US who have the same philosophy as

us and most of our directors are represented through them. This is ideal

as we have one point of contact and therefore greater control.

Everyone makes a big deal about the US but you have to be careful. UK

directors are in great demand over there and if you are with the wrong

company you may find yourself pressured into accepting every job that

comes along.

In Europe, we don’t actively seek representation for our directors. In

Germany, The Netherlands, Scandinavia and Switzerland we work directly

with agencies who call us about jobs. France, Spain and Italy tend to be

a law unto themselves.