Blacklist Creative is a creative agency and production studio. We spoke to Head of Production and co-owner Lola Gamester to find out more about her role.
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Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Lola Gamester: I’m Head of Production and co-owner at Blacklist Creative, but I tend to work on a bit of everything. I work directly with clients whilst managing resources, acquiring new business and keeping up with the latest market trends. As a TV, film and video production company, we look after the whole process of delivering creative visual content across broadcast, commercial and digital; from concepts, scripts and storyboard through to live action filming, character animation and motion graphics.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
LG: I am one of the company directors and my responsibilities include strategically overseeing client projects in order to actively engage and inspire audiences.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
LG: An important skill that any Head of Production should have is a pragmatic problem solving attitude. Project briefs vary from client to client which means effectively articulating ideas and understanding what really resonates with a particular target audience. This requires an in-depth understanding of the market and current trends. Having the ability to effectively multi-task and prioritise your work load is another must-have skill in such a fast paced industry.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
LG: I start around 8.30am going through emails and catching up with the other directors to plan the day ahead. A typical day could include project planning, client meetings, pitching, attending shoots or recruitment.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
LG: I love facilitating the creative process and I also really enjoy working with the business co-founders, as we have all been friends for 10 years, so working with them is straightforward and no drama. The thing I love most is getting feedback from happy clients that we have taken away their headaches and instead, replaced it with amazing pieces of work that everyone involved will hopefully remember for a long time.
Timelines can be really challenging, and it can be frustrating to feel like we could have delivered more if only we had a more time.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
LG: The fundamental KPI for measuring success for us is repeat business – we are pleased that our clients return to us again and again and it’s crucial that our long standing clients get the same service as the new clients that we’re keen to impress. We recently completed some work with a beauty brand, which we would love to do more of. And there are still broadcasters we are keen to crack. We have doubled in size since I started and I’d love to find we’ve outgrown our office again in another year.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
LG: Microsoft Excel every time. Nothing makes me happier than getting stuck into a juicy spreadsheet. I use it for everything!
E: How did you land in this role, and where might you go from here?
LG: I joined the company as holiday cover and never left!
E: Who is using video well at the moment?
LG: Kids viewing habits are rapidly changing which means kids’ broadcasters are having to be really creative with how they reach their audience. I love the Let’s Create series on Boomerang’s website and YouTube which gives genuinely valuable and entertaining crafting content to kids and parents with show tie-ins that feel fully integrated and unobtrusive.
E: Do you have advice for anybody who wants to work in your field?
LG: Work hard, be nice. Personal relationships are the most important aspect of my role, so always find a way to resolve a tricky situation that leaves everyone smiling. I get a lot of applications for production roles where candidates see the job as a stepping stone to something more creative but I’m a big believer that production is an essential part of the creative process – we make things happen – so make sure you value your logistical and organisational skills.
By immersing yourself in your client’s brand, you will feel better able to understand their brief and talk their language.