How things work - a brief explanation as to how jobs are assigned.

Before an agency presents a final storyboard to a client they will begin to ask some production companies for ideas on who the right director could be. In the past we we would see a maximum of 3 or 4 companies pitching on a job, now this can be considerably more. Recently we have pitched on projects that originated from London, where we have received the board from 11 different companies, across 3 continents.

Jobs are won by:

a) Getting the best director

b) Giving the best price (this is probably the most crucial factor nowadays)

c) Having a good relationship with the agency

d) Having a good relationship with the client

Each production company will try to find somebody new and exciting to help them win the job. The board will be emailed all round the world. If the idea clearly points to a certain director, he or she will almost certainly receive it from several different companies. Our rule in this case is first past the post gets the director.

A good production company will make an initial presentation of reels to the agency, to get an idea of whether or not they are moving in the right direction. Only then should they start contacting directors. Unfortunately it doesn't often work this way any more, because another less scrupulous company will have blocked all the available talent. We firmly believe that you shouldn't take a job seriously until you talk to the agency or have some very serious feedback from the production company. Beware of production companies who continually send boards and never give you an answer.

Treatments are another thorny subject. Our rule has always been: no treatment without a conference call and the appropriate length of time to write it. We used to work on the premise that an agency couldn't do 10 conference calls per job. In other words, by reaching the conference call stage, a director would have a reasonable chance of winning. This is no longer a guarantee on some pitches but is still a good rule of thumb to work by.

How do we see the future of advertising? We are eternal optimists. Those of us who understand that our world is a series of compromises will keep on working. If a director or DOP has a great reel, is competitive on price and production requests, loves to travels and accepts to do it as comfortably as the budget allows, is open to suggestions from the agency and from the production company, does a great treatment, is open-minded and a pleasure to work with, then the future looks good!

We are happy to give advice, particularly to young directors with brilliant reels who are looking to expand their horizons. We have a wealth of experience in how to win jobs . Our 'Treatment School' has helped many of our directors improve their treatment writing skill and launch them into the international market place.