The Art of Production: Maria, Head of Business and Talent in Europe

Introducing Maria, our Head of Business and Talent (Europe), who offers a glimpse into her life in the production industry. From navigating the challenges of getting started to managing difficult relationships and being the calming force,  Maria has seen it all. Having discovered her love for production in London 14 years ago, she never looked back and knew this was the path for her.

We recently caught up with Maria to gain valuable insights into relationship building in production. Her answers to some of the most pressing questions are sure to provide the invaluable knowledge & truths you’ve been seeking!

How did you first get involved in the production and what appealed to you about it?

It first started 14 years ago, when I was an office manager in a post-production company while I lived in London. Later on, when I moved to Madrid it became very natural to start as a talent rep as I already knew the industry and its peculiar jargon.

What about your personality, skills and experience make this position such a great fit?

Besides the general knowledge that this industry needs, I believe it’s crucial to possess an empathetic personality to grasp the needs of clients/brands. Luckily, I naturally possess this trait 🙂

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting their career in production?

To avoid getting overly caught up in the tumultuous nature of this industry, I would recommend not spending all of your energy on it. Instead, prioritise engaging in enjoyable and creative endeavours while also selectively choosing meaningful projects to take part in, as they will help make your journey more manageable.

Thinking back to some of the most challenging experiences you’ve had in your career, what do you think tends to lie at the heart of the more tense or difficult client? 

Well,  there’s been a few, the worst one involved a poor relationship between the agency and the client, making the entire process much more excruciating than it should have been. I think taking the time to get to know each other, and building trust and respect would help hugely!

And what are the keys to building a productive and good relationship?

Being sympathetic to other people’s situations. Never take things personally, when someone does something wrong, even if you feel it was directed at you, they usually have their own struggles.

What’s your view on disagreement and emotion – is there a place for it and if not, why not? If so, why – and what does productive disagreement look like?

There’s always a place for disagreement, otherwise, there wouldn’t be a place for productive conversation. It is important to put everyone’s needs and limits on the table to have a better process and better end result. 

These days, agencies and production companies do so much beyond traditional campaigns. As a producer or account manager/sales manager you do so much to put all the pieces together – and that complexity can often be mirrored on the client stakeholder side too.
What’s the key to navigating (and helping the client navigate) that complexity?

As an account/business development manager, the key is to truly listen to everyone’s needs. Paying attention to all creative and practical opinions will help find a balance within all of them and integrate them into a funnel to materialise the best out of it.

What recent projects are you proudest of and why? What was challenging about these projects from a sales/production perspective and how did you address those challenges? What was so satisfying about working on these projects?  

It was a huge campaign for Facebook and the production process was complex. The process was painful but in the end, the campaign was a huge success 😉  It was incredibly rewarding to see all of our efforts come to fruition and to know that we had played a significant role in achieving our client’s goals.

NERD Productions: Promoting a Sustainable Future for Advertising

At NERD Productions, we firmly believe in the harmonious relationship between creativity and sustainability. We strive to minimise our environmental footprint and advocate for sustainable practices at every stage of the production process, ensuring a better and greener future.

Here are some of our top ideas on how the production industry can actively contribute to a more sustainable world:

1. As a production company, we often influence viewers’ lifestyle choices, so how can we encourage our global audiences to adopt more sustainable consumption habits?

  • Create content that showcases the importance and benefits of sustainable living. This content can inspire viewers to adopt similar practices in their daily lives.
  • Collaborate with sustainable brands and organizations to create content that promotes sustainable products and services. This can create a positive association with sustainability in the minds of your audience.
  • Lead by example and ensure that your own production processes are sustainable, minimising your impact on the environment.
  • Engage with your audience and encourage them to share their own sustainable practices and experiences. This can create a sense of community and inspire others to adopt similar practices.
  • Support sustainable initiatives by sponsoring events, donating funds, or volunteering your time. This can create a positive association with sustainability in the minds of your audience and encourage them to do the same.

By implementing these ideas, we can encourage sustainable consumption habits and make a positive impact on the environment.

NERD Sustainability Advocate & Director: Lucas Borras ‘Arrow’

2. How can we best collaborate with communities and organisations in advertising to promote sustainable initiatives beyond internal production processes?

  1. Offer resources: Provide resources and support to help the community/organisation implement sustainable practices. 
  2. Co-create campaigns: Collaborate with the community/organisation to co-create campaigns that promote sustainability. This ensures that the message resonates with the community and is more likely to be effective.
  3. Look for sustainable opportunities: Look for parts of the story or processes that can be made more sustainable. Highlighting these aspects can inspire others to take action towards sustainability.
NERD Sustainability Advocate & Director Rachael-Olga Lloyd ‘Everything InBetween”

3. How can we entice clients and agencies to invest in making production more sustainable, as this usually comes at a higher cost?

Investing in sustainable production is not only essential for a better future, but it can also bring numerous benefits to clients and agencies. However, it’s crucial to entice them to make the initial investment. Here are some ways to make sustainability more engaging:

Firstly, highlight the long-term benefits of sustainable production. While it may require higher costs initially, sustainable practices can result in significant long-term cost savings. For instance, by reducing energy consumption, waste, and improving efficiency, businesses can ultimately increase profitability and create a positive brand image.

Secondly, showcase the business case for sustainability. Presenting research and case studies that demonstrate the financial benefits of sustainable production can help clients and agencies realise the value of such practices. This can include increased market share, customer loyalty, and an improved reputation.

Thirdly, offer incentives to encourage sustainable production. These can be in the form of reduced rates, additional services, or other perks. By offering tangible benefits, clients and agencies can be motivated to invest in sustainable production.

Lastly, encourage collaboration to identify areas where sustainable practices can be implemented without compromising production quality. Working collaboratively with clients and agencies can also help reduce costs and increase buy-in from stakeholders.

NERD Sustainability Advocate & Director: Brett De Vos ‘World Diabetes Day”

4. How to reduce digital pollution? Our starter’s top tips for everyone:

We believe in constantly reevaluating practices to ensure they are effective and sustainable. Simple solutions like eliminating email signature images and avoiding sending unnecessary emails can significantly reduce data usage and your carbon footprint.

Sustainable web design practices such as image optimisation and file compression can further reduce the energy required to load web pages. Using video conferencing and allowing for remote work can save time, money, and emissions from unnecessary travel.

NERD Sustainability Advocate & Director: Hayley Morris “Charlie Banana”