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2019 Production Outlook Survey— Lauren Schwartz

Gazing into your crystal ball, what do you envision for the industry--creatively speaking or from a business standpoint--in 2019?

2018 was a year of stops and starts. Of creative thinking, and anticipating the unexpected. As far as the business is concerned, I have always believed, and feel it even more so now, that relationships are key. To be a trusted resource and partner, a problem solver, and someone who not only has the talent but the ability to execute it well - those are the essential elements for today’s climate - and really a productive and rewarding way to operate in the world. There are a lot of folks using Director or Production Company banners who don’t have the acumen or experience that it takes to do this work well and consistently. And I think some agencies and clients have had their share of bad experiences because of it. That hurts the industry at large, but also reinforces how vital trusted relationships are as the kind of work expands and changes to align with new opportunities. I always like to say that production is easy until it isn’t and when the shit hits the fan, you need experience to calm that storm.

What are your goals, creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint, for your company or division in 2019?

As the EP/owner of kaboom, my goal is to really work on curating a relevant roster of directors and other supporting talent that meet the needs of the current climate. As we all know, budgets are shrinking but the expectations remain the same so our challenge is to align the right kind of talent and partners who help us deliver that content. It is also our responsibility to challenge seasoned directors, who are used to a different time in the industry, to think about creative ways to execute on these tighter budgets. I believe we have the right sort of talent to tackle the needs of our industry right now…but there is always room to enhance and elevate. I am constantly striving to be better and to provide the highest levels of production to our agency and client partners in the most cost effective way. That goal never stops.

Last year’s constant headlines of gender pay disparity, sexual misconduct and worse brought issues to everyone’s attention that were long overdue to be dealt with. There have been industry wide-strides made towards righting these wrongs but there’s a long way to go. Can you tell us what policies you have in place or plan to implement in 2019 to ensure racial and gender diversity, pay equality and a safe/inclusive work environment for everyone in your company or division?

As a longtime women owned and women run production company, I feel fortunate that we have never really grappled with the “headline issues” that have beset our colleagues in the industry. As a female owner, I have always run our company to be fair-- to be a place where everyone has a voice and feels safe, respected and appreciated. Certainly there are many men who have run their companies the same way, but women seem to be taking leadership with parity and respect at the fore. Is it in our DNA? A reaction to experiences? Whatever compels people to create better working environment for people of all kinds, bring it. We will all benefit from a perspective of inclusion and a celebration of what makes us unique.



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