The way the industry works is rapidly dividing and evolving. As a result, traditional agency and production company models no longer serve all of the client's needs and opportunities.
My experience working as a Sr. Art Director and in-house producer/director at various ad agencies, from boutiques to titans like BBDO NY, has allowed me to develop new ways of working rooted in my experience.
I formed an S-corp ("AGBK") to make it all work. AGBK has a blanket production insurance policy and payroll to pay me and any crew I hire. The company also maintains a cadre of digital tools that serve my clients and me as needed.
The fully formed S-corp, along with the diversity of my skills, allows me the flexibility to serve in both traditional roles and capitalize on a variety of new opportunities that classical systems cannot take advantage of.
I work with my agent and manager to pitch jobs to production companies. I play the traditional director role that we all know in this scenario. AGBK works as my loan-out company; the client pays directly.
In this scenario, agencies hire me to produce their project. AGBK functions as a production company. The agency pays AGBK to make the project. I work as the EP and director, filling the other roles with freelancers paid via my payroll. As stated earlier, the number of freelancers and their roles are determined on a project-by-project basis. AGBK also handles all necessary production insurance and protocols.
This scenario is the same as above. However, mid to small-size agencies without much video experience ask me to review their creative before presenting it to their client. This consultation encompasses reviewing the creative work's viability and ensuring it will be produced within the predetermined budget and scope.
Small and boutique agencies that do not have video production capability will ask me to act as an employee of their company, giving me an email address and free reign to manage their clients directly and develop creative concepts. These typically start with one-off projects and develop into long-term relationships that span years.
In this case, the agency and AGBK have a vendor agreement. The agency secures the business, and I take over the project from there. I develop the project's creative with the client. When it is time to produce the work, AGBK takes it from there, but from the client's POV, it looks like an in-house production.
In this scenario, AGBK is a hybrid creative agency/production company. I'll work directly with the decision makers on developing the creative. I will also create all the visuals. If the brand has an in-house design team they want to use, I function as the Creative Director overseeing the design team's efforts. Once we go into production, AGBK handles it from there.
Key to my work is trust, earned through years of experience in advertising working at agencies and in-house as a director for Amazon, Alnylam, AXE, Bakkt, BBDO, Chobani, Citi, Cloudera, Convera, Crafted, DePuy, DHL, Digitas, Disney, Dove Men, Dove, Dubai Tourism, Dutch Masters, Edelman, Emirates Airlines, FedEx, Fluent, Genentech, Gillette, Greater Than One, HCL, Heineken, Heinz, HP, HPE, LSI, Marchesa, Marriott, Organic, Tane. Unilever, Visa, Weber Shandwick, and Wunderkind.
My skills, professionalism, and flexibility combine to successfully produce work for the most influential trillion-dollar brands in the world.
When I take on a project as a full-service production, I am highly cognizant of timelines and budgets. Typically I will receive a lump sum covering the production costs and my fee. Because every dollar wasted is one less dollar in my pocket, it gives me an acute awareness of spending and being efficient on set.
This is the future of work in our industry.
The opportunities are boundless.
I look forward to exploring them with you.
Axel Gimenez is a commercial director that specializes in comedy and lifestyle.
I also direct episodic+film in various genres, including sci-fi, horror, and the absurd.
I like my commercials funny and heartfelt. And my narrative dark. Very dark.
It's like Yin & Yang—Fire & Ice.