Four Hundred Films
’What is needed is
a Terry Venables, well-liked and respected by all, who is good with the
media and has bags of experience’
The difficulties in choosing a new Advertising Film and Video Producers
Association head are similar to those in choosing an England football
manager: most of the best-qualified candidates such as Jo Godman and
Mary Francis are already gainfully employed. It can also be a thankless
position that attracts flak from all sides.
Aside from the negotiations and meetings with the unions, a lot of the
most sterling work of Cecilia Garnett, the former head of the AFVPA,
went unreported, such as mediating in disputes between companies and
agencies, organising training schemes and monitoring new legislation
This work must continue, but there is also an opportunity for the next
chairperson to improve the association’s image and present its arguments
in a more favourable light.
For numerous reasons, production companies have had to change and adapt
in recent years and will have to continue to do so. If the association
is to remain relevant, it too will have to adapt alongside its
What is needed is a Terry Venables, well-liked and respected by all, who
is good with the media, has bags of experience and is in between jobs or
semi-retired. John Hackney?
executive producer Arden Sutherland-Dodd
’Somebody who the unions respect. Somebody who the agencies respect. A
confidante and trusted advisor’
A strong negotiator with the unions.
A strong negotiator with agencies.
A debt collector.
Somebody who the members respect.
Somebody who the unions respect.
Somebody who the agencies respect.
A confidante and trusted advisor.
A catalyst for ideas.
A head full of common sense.
’The individual should have a positive nature, have good team skills and
be committed to win-win solutions’
I believe that a key objective of the AFVPA is to raise the reputation
of production companies as responsible business partners of agencies and
clients. As a result, the AFVPA will need to demonstrate that production
companies are not only creative contributors, but also responsible
custodians and investors of their clients’ budgets. This will mean the
AFVPA negotiating effectively with third parties, training production
company staff to work professionally and improving business
relationships with agencies and clients.
What qualities will the AFVPA head need?
First, broad experience of the business, ideally including spells in
both production companies and advertising agencies. Such direct personal
experience of both sides will give the AFVPA credibility in its dealings
with all of its associates. Second, the person should be enthusiastic
and committed. This will encourage maximum participation by members in
identifying goals and helping to achieve them.
Third, the individual should have a positive nature, have good team
skills and be committed to win-win solutions.
Finally, administrative skills are key to ensuring that worthy
programmes are translated into tangible results.
managing director Focus on Film
’Working producers will always be at a disadvantage when faced with
their agency clients across the negotiation table’
The answer is Paddy Ashdown. No, really. Think about the similarities
between the Liberal Democrats and the AFVPA. For a start they are both
small groups that are outgunned by bigger parties/trade associations and
so they have to use greater guile and political skill to achieve their
ends. Cecilia Garnett’s house style was confrontational and this could
make negotiations difficult. Her departure, for whatever reason, is a
chance to make a clean start.
What are the requirements for a successor? You don’t need someone
full-time - if you were to cut down on Ashdown’s European adventures he
could still keep his day job.
Yes, it would help to know the industry but working producers will
always be at a disadvantage when faced with their agency clients across
the negotiation table. That is why the head of the AFVPA ends up being
If it is a professional politician then try to get one with no sleaze -
not always easy. Ashdown’s training as a Royal Marine is not a bad start
and then there is the bonus of being able to front a recognised
Finally, wearing my cost hat, when you look at what MP’s get paid, the
guy’s got to be cheaper than his predecessor, so why not make the call?