In March Neil Williams, Head of Film at the Havas Lynx Group, attended the 'A to Z of Commissioning Award-Winning Video Content' event hosted by Maker Projects. He joined a panel of experts to discuss the dos and don'ts of turning video briefs into brilliant films. In this blog, Neil describes his experience of the day and shares his thoughts on commissioning video content.

I was really pleased to be invited on the panel for Maker Projects’ ‘A to Z of Commissioning Award Winning Video Content’ event held in Manchester.

The purpose of the event was to chat through best practices, learnings and experiences when commissioning video content. The sold-out event was attended by 50 or so people from various digital and advertising agencies as well as a multitude of video production companies.

Joining me on the panel was the brilliant Laura Thomas from Media.com and Michael Lewin from Nowness. Laura showed us an industry first campaign she had worked on for Misguided and Love Island (Channel 4) that has recently picked up multiple awards. Michael showcased his brilliant choreographed dance piece for the foundation of Louis Vuitton featuring Lil Buck. An extremely elegant film that was commissioned to promote the ‘icons of modern art’ exhibition in Paris.

Maker Projects facilitated the event highlighting the A-Z of the commissioning process. Although the Havas Lynx Group, Media.com and Nowness have very different target audiences, it was fantastic to discuss the learnings and experiences of collaborating with production partners to produce fantastic work.

I showcased a film called ‘The Engine’ that we commissioned director Carl Prechezer from Maker Projects to work on late last year. This for me was the perfect collaboration between the Havas Lynx Group and an external production company.

In the forum we discussed the A-Z of commissioning video and how partnership was a key part of getting great work done. One of the questions posed was ‘Is commissioning video a dark art or a craft?’.

I am a firm believer that it is a craft. Once a film brief is received from the creative team the directors approached should be the best fit for the brief. The successful director should then be commissioned on the merit of their treatment and value they can add to the creative. The synergy between the creatives and the film director should always be the key deciding factor when awarding a commission.

It is vital that the creatives and the director work in harmony to achieve the best results. The next part of the ‘craft’ is a good relationship between the agency production team and the external production company. If they can pull together and split the workload you inevitably get the most value out of the budget.

In the case of ‘The Engine’ we worked in sync with Carl and Maker Projects throughout the pre-production and filming stages and then used the Havas Lynx Group’s internal resource for all post production elements. This maximised the client’s budget and gave the best touchpoints for the creative team and film director to collaborate during the edit stages.

I would like to thank Maker Projects for hosting such a productive and insightful event. We look forward to further award winning collaborations with you and our other production partners!