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Are you ready to get a handle on the ever-evolving world of commercial and film production?

In the latest pulse of the industry, we delve into the transformative trends that are redefining the role of the producer and the essence of producing captivating content.

The Industry's Metamorphosis

The production landscape is transforming before our eyes, and as producers, we're at the epicenter of this creative quake. Clients' needs are evolving, and with it, our approach to content creation and influencer marketing must also progress. It's not just about crafting the perfect 32-second commercial anymore; it's about nurturing every piece of content with the same dedication and finesse.

Adapting to the Winds of Change

Sean Owolo, from Art Class, joined us to shed light on the challenges and opportunities this new era presents. With a background in producing commercials, shorts, and branded content, Sean understands the necessity of adapting to the preferences of broadcast TV and streaming clients. The rise of platforms like TikTok has revolutionized the way we communicate and consume content, and it's imperative for us as producers to grasp these new dynamics.

Directors Taking the Reins

A significant takeaway from our discussion was the expanded role of directors. No longer confined to traditional commercials, directors are now pivotal in shaping social media strategies and content creation. Their involvement in conceptualizing and scripting is crucial in reflecting the industry's evolving nature.

The Producers Boot Camp

Exciting news for those eager to master the art of commercial film production: we announced an upcoming in-person producers boot camp. This immersive experience promises to equip you with the skills to produce top-tier content and thrive in this dynamic environment.

Beyond Commercials: The Future of Storytelling

The Influencer Paradigm

The era of influencers and user-generated content has ushered in a direct-to-consumer revolution. As we discussed, understanding and embracing this shift is non-negotiable. Influencers have redefined marketing, and their ability to connect with audiences is something we can't afford to overlook.

AI: Friend or Foe?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making waves in production, but it's not without its limitations. Sean shared fascinating insights on AI's role in generating visualizations. However, we all agreed that technology still falls short in capturing the essence of human emotion and creativity—elements that remain irreplaceable in storytelling.

Intellectual Property Challenges

The conversation wouldn't be complete without touching on the intricacies of intellectual property (IP). In this new landscape, understanding the ownership of creative content is more important than ever. It's a complex issue, but one that offers both challenges and opportunities for creators.

Embracing the Future with Creativity and Emotion

As we wrapped up our discussion, one thing was clear: the heart of storytelling—human emotion—remains at the core of our industry. Despite the rapid changes and technological advancements, our ability to evoke feelings and connect with audiences is what truly makes content resonate.

To all my fellow producers, directors, and creators: let's embrace this new terrain with open arms and creative minds. The future is ours to shape, and I can't wait to see the incredible stories we'll tell.

Stay tuned for more insights and join us at the producers boot camp to become a maestro of modern production. Until next time, keep creating, keep innovating, and keep inspiring!

Read the Transcript!

Sister Christian: So what do you think about when you hear the word content? How about influencer? I know these terms. Paint a picture. Believe me, the picture's clear in my head right now. But the industry is changing and these things are becoming the norm in our industry. So today we're tackling the burning question how can producers like us adapt to the ever changing needs of our clients? What should we be doing to give the same amount of care and attention to the content aspects of our shoot, as you would the 32nd spot? I know it's hard. This is Producers Happy Hour, and on this episode, we unravel the secrets to staying ahead of the curve and thriving in this dynamic environment. We're chatting with Sean Owolo, Head of Broadcast TV development at Art class. Stick around till the end and we'll share valuable tips and strategies that will elevate your game as a producers. Grab a drink and roll the intro.

Lawrence: You're listening to Producers Happy Hour. I'm Lawrence Lewis and I'm.

Sister Christian: Sister Christian.

Lawrence: And we're here to help you unravel the complexities of film and commercial production.

Sister Christian: Whether you're a seasoned producer, a production executive, a bitter, or a key part of the production team, we're here to equip you with the insights that I know Lawrence and I wish we had when we started out.

Lawrence: So you can navigate today's production challenges, conquer those demanding clients, and unlock the magic to seamless production.

Sister Christian: All with a cocktail, of course. So grab a drink, say goodbye to the gatekeepers, and let's dive into the art of producing Sister Christian.

Lawrence: Another episode. Another excuse to get a hang out with you. How are you.

Sister Christian: Doing? Well, just fresh off of a job and it's feeling good. You're feeling like maybe this year is picking up a little bit after last year's strikes?

Lawrence: I hope so, I've been keeping myself busy, but I am hearing from my production managers here in LA that it is maybe still, we're still having a little slowdown, but hey, we've got a great guest interview Shauna Willow from art classes here with us. Hi, Sean.

Sister Christian: Greetings.

Lawrence: Welcome. Thanks for joining us. Are you enjoying happy hour?

Sean Owolo: I am, I've converted to the way of non-alcoholic thinking, but good.

Sister Christian: Nice.

Sean Owolo: Still a flex. I have a gravitas from Bravas Brewing, which is a bourbon oak aged brew. Probably the only one in North America, and you can only get it as a drop the day after Thanksgiving. If you hop up early on their website and quickly like hit order, you're allowed to wear a max of three. This is my last one. oh. And then it's wait till next year.

Lawrence: Wow.

Sister Christian: I feel honored. And that's it's non-alcoholic.

Sean Owolo: Non-alcoholic. Non-alcoholic Bourbon aged stout.

Lawrence: Oh, amazing.

Sean Owolo: And it tastes like the real thing because that's always the thing. I know it's not alcoholic. What does it taste like? Tastes like the real thing.

Lawrence: You know, I'm just doing a little classic today. Little Tito's and soda. Keep it simple with some lemons from my friend's garden. So how about you, sister?

Sister Christian: Oh, you know me.

Sister Christian: I love a seltzer, so I'm having a high noon.

Lawrence: grapefruit. Wonderful. All right. Cheers, everyone.

Sister Christian: So. Yes. Cheers, everyone. So have you ever listened to one of our episodes, but wanted more than what we could fit into a 30 minute show?

Lawrence: Picture this. We dreamed it up, so dream it with me right now. Close your eyes. All the resources and links and info on current industry news, industry happenings, the topics we're talking about in these episodes, plus bonus insights that maybe we didn't even get a chance to mention. All delivered into your inbox for free.

Sister Christian: For free. Absolutely free. You don't have to pay for this. That's why we created our episode guide. It gives you more insight into each topic, each interview, guest, and each industry happening that you need to stay on top of. It comes out every other Tuesday, the same day our new episode drops.

Lawrence: So to get it, just click the link in our show notes or go to Producer's Happy Hour Comment Code Guide and we will send you all the goodies.

Lawrence: All right, let's dive in. Sean Owolo is the head of broadcast development at an amazing production company called Art class. Founded in 2018, Art class specializes in commercials, shorts, branded content for such clients as AT&T, Amazon, ESPN, Kellogg's, State Farm. Too many to list.

Sister Christian: With more than 20 years of experience in the music, television and film industries, also joined Art class in February 2021, where he helps the company's TV network and streaming clients with their many marketing needs, from launch campaigns to branded partnership projects. They do it all.

Lawrence: Welcome to the show, Sean.

Sean Owolo: Well, thank you for having me.

Lawrence: I want to set the stage and I want to know a little bit more about this TV network that's at art class or you're, you're you're putting together. What exactly is it that you're working on over there?

Sean Owolo: Art classes has been around and really just kicking ass in the commercial side of the world. That traditional agency model with, you know, reps and regions. And when I was brought on board, I was coming from working at companies like Big Machine, where I was at for for a majority of my career at that point.

Sean Owolo: And then Roger, where I was able to meet, Christian, as a matter of fact, on a couple of projects. In both those instances, those companies dealt primarily on the broadcast side of things. So dealing with networks, dealing with Netflix and Disney as clients, and it's a little bit of a different world, because even when you're doing a promo spot or an integrated brand spot, there's usually not the agency component. It's a little it's it's in essence, basically direct to client. Yeah. So it's been interesting because I came on board to help build that part of the business out for art class, while also being an extra piece of bandwidth for, for the traditional agency side as well.

Lawrence: Got it. And so a lot of promos or, you know, what kind of work are you doing for the streamers out there?

Sean Owolo: For the streamers, it's probably light on the promo side. I wish it was a little more, but it's not, and certainly not last year with with the strike, you know, as a matter of fact, we kicked the year off doing a huge promo campaign for NBC universal for a show Mrs. Davis even had an AI component that we did for online and love.

Sister Christian: That show.

Sean Owolo: And was was a great show, right? It was awesome. Yeah, it was like many of us, I thought, okay, this is a great way to kick off in January. It's going to be awesome. And then, you know, a couple of months later strike and and and there's no promo work. So that being said, then the only game in town is, you know, from the broadcast side really was integrated work. And even that became interesting, right, because some of that work involves talent. And so for a little while into the year, that was fine. And then the actor's strike happens. Now there's no talent to to to help, you know, marry the integrated work with the networks apps. And then there's no work on a regular day in a non strike year. I'm probably still doing more integrated brand work, which honestly and sometimes it's the same product like so it'll be State Farm, it'll be a State Farm with ESPN and their sports center talent, as opposed to a regular agency State Farm job that we would do, which is with, you know, Jake, with State Farm and, Patrick Mahomes.

Sister Christian: Well, so, what I think is fascinating these days, and I've seen my, especially in the last five years or so going from, you know, you're just doing one commercial with this amount of money to you need everything on that commercial. You need to have a social media shooter. You need to have a behind the scenes person doing stuff. Not only are you supporting the main brand marketing campaign that you're doing, you are back here filming all the things that need to push the marketing campaign too. So not only are we rolling out a regular old commercial, we're rolling out the hype for the commercial and all the things around the commercial and how it was made. And it's a campaign. It's not just a commercial.

Sean Owolo: Second screen stuff. Yeah.

Sister Christian: Oh yeah. You no longer have two 30s and a 15 in a couple of. You have 400 deliverables, but need to go six second lead ins for YouTube and and TikTok. And yeah, you have to think about everything.

Sean Owolo: And not always reflected in the budget.

Lawrence: Yeah.

Sister Christian: We have to pay for that. Can't you just cut it from the shit you're getting? Right. Well, this is something that I've not quite seen yet, but I'm ready. I'm ready to see if this is the future. So do you feel treatments are going to start to reflect how this particular job that we're doing this, you know, commercial, straightforward commercial? Is there going to be a page added now, like how can we also support this social media wise? What else can we do to fill out the rest of the campaign?

Sean Owolo: I think I think they already do. To the agency's credit, they've kind of caught up. And so it is an active dialogue now where it's not sort of like this is this is an afterthought. It's like, okay, here's the brief and it's in the brief and you know, where you stand. There's going to be a 30, there's going to be 215. There's going to be, you know, here's the digital component. So a lot of times I'm going in sort of knowing, probably 75% of the time I know what we're up against.

Sean Owolo: And then we just, you know, put it in the treatment accordingly.

Sister Christian: Yeah. No, but it's true, because if you don't have the expectations laid out, how can you appropriately meet them if it's underfunded?

Lawrence: Right. The 32nd broadcast TV commercial that this industry is founded on is honestly the grandfather of it. All right. Like it's on its way out, the dinosaur of it all. So and like you said, second screen earlier, but second screens really turning into first screen now. Right. How do you see this the industry shifting in that direction.

Sean Owolo: Yeah. So it's interesting. I remember when the iPhone came out, you know, I remember when cell phones I was in the music industry in New York when cell phones first became a thing that executives had. And so we have a group of executives, Jeff, filtering into industries who, for the most of their life have grown up with the smartphone. If you're talking to an agency executive or a media executive that's, you know, 25, 26, 27, 28 that's the reality.

Sean Owolo: And so conversely, with that, that individual also has spent their formative years high school senior through college years with TikTok, with this format of delivery that is not only content, but often a way to communicate that is all about short form, quick communication. And for those of us that are older, you have to recognize that, because when I talk about that's a form of communication, that's how they communicate. That's what their mindset is when you're talking to them and presenting to them in a bid in a boardroom, and you can see it, that part of their language and I guess to some degree part of my language too. But let's be honest, for me it's more of learned. Yes. Yeah. So, Lawrence, I think that's a big change. I think that's a big paradigm shift, like, and it affects everything. It affects the content that you're thinking about because you know that that's what their head space is and it affects even how you have to how you have to communicate with them.

Sister Christian: Affecting that. Now, I, I've been around long enough as well to have seen when BTS or social media asks were starting to get added and directors would lose their fucking minds, they'd be like, that's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to do this big thing over here. Just hire somebody for that. But in turn, now it seems like there is this desire for the director to say, no, no, no, no, no. I'd like for the entire creative to be for me to be a part of the entire creative. So I'm happy to have a hand in the other stuff as well. Are you seeing it gravitate towards that?

Sean Owolo: And it's interesting because I think when I came over to art class, they had this really prolific director's roster. I think like 20 directors, a lot of them really sort of that sought after that, that nice scenario where the phone is ringing for them and it's less about bidding and more scheduling. And so my thought was, are these guys even going to be interested in doing some of my broadcast work? And, you know, directors want to direct.

Sean Owolo: They always want to tell a story. They always want opportunities. What the nice, pleasant part of the broadcast side of it is? A lot of times the idea is not completely baked, you know, and I'm sure Christian, you can you can attest to that. So the directors love that they because they're so used to the agency side where the boards are here, the boards and sometimes the script is even already fully written. And so it's it's about you bringing your execution game to it and your vision for execution. And while that's exists in every format, the nice thing about broadcast is that they have the ability to sometimes help shape the script, shape the concept. And, you know, Nickelodeon might sort of have an idea, but they don't have a full idea and they all love that. And I think that's the same with the other elements. Right? Is that. Their creative, their artists at heart. And so any way they can express that art is is a win for them. So like it's all part of that main creative.

Sean Owolo: So I would love to be a part of it. I almost think they they hate it when they're not.

Lawrence: Yeah.

Sister Christian: that's so refreshing because I can tell you that that's not always been the case.

Sean Owolo: Yeah. No, you're right, it hasn't. You're right. There was that like oh you're trying to get extra from me. No no no no no no. But like I think is right. I just think as time is going on it's become more than normal. And I suspect that part of what that is, is, you know, directors talking amongst their community.

Sister Christian: Realizing.

Sean Owolo: Realizing like, hey, some people in our community are digging it. So I maybe I need to reevaluate.

Lawrence: So that kind of point, you know, we typically rely on agencies for for strategy. And obviously they're the ones looking at the data. And when it comes to social media and all that, the data is so important and easy to attain. Is there any sort of thinking from the art class side or the production side of the director's side, about a little social media strategy about how to take whatever the main story is, the main messaging we're trying to sell, and how to creatively get those into a TikTok able message in a in a new, creative way.

Lawrence: Because when you look at TikTok, there are 12 year olds who understand the strategy behind those social media platforms and can all of a sudden over a month, you know, get, you know, 500,000 new followers. Is any of that thinking starting to come from the production side, or are we still kind of relying on that from the old agency model?

Sean Owolo: We are still relying on that from the old agency model. That's my overall answer. From an art class perspective, I don't feel that that's 100% the case. And this is coming from one of the founders of art class, Vincent Pony, created 73 questions with Vogue. Right. And we get asked to recreate that all the time. We used to see all these people say, you know, it would be nice. We have this brand. Is there something we could do this 73 because that was this, you know, here, here are your three minutes of content with a celebrity, you know, answering 73 questions. And I think that organically there have been these, these times at art class where it certainly wasn't designed, but we fell into developing that type of content during the pandemic.

Sean Owolo: Ryan Reynolds, who is friends with a couple of of the art class founders, had an idea to sort of do something where he was teaching himself different things. It was, you know, Ryan doesn't know and enlisted art class on the production side for that and that, you know, ended up taking off, I believe it was on Snapchat and, you know, went viral. And so there are these things that we've kind of fallen into that, that, that have gone viral. And so I don't want to claim that we're experts in that, but we've seen it upfront enough and been a part of it to, to be able to be a part of the conversation. Yeah. But I still think that conversation has to be led by agencies, not so much because agencies are in the know, but because it takes the agency maybe hiring an outside company or outside forces that do know. Right. Like at some point someone should hire that 12 year old. If that 12 year old knows how to get you 500,000 new viewers, hire the 12 year old.

Sean Owolo: Let's be smart about this. I don't need to be the be all and or and the wheel that moves everything. I certainly cannot sit here and tell you I know how to instantly get you 500,000 viewers.

Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Sister Christian: No. In fact, when they used to remember when it was 2008, when it was like, we need this to go viral, do you guys know, like there's a viral thing and we needed to go viral. So if we could just make it go viral and you're like, it's not.

Sean Owolo: It's not a button, right? Right. Oh, pay me $50,000 more. And I have the viral buttons right here. I'm just not pressing it because you're not paying me. So yeah, no, it's not a meme.

Sister Christian: And we've now realized that it's all based on.

Sean Owolo: People, right? Based on people based on algorithms. Yeah, yeah.

Sister Christian: Yeah, like we know that now. Have you ever wanted to take your commercial film production skills to the next level?

Lawrence: I always do, based on that, we've got something special for you.

Lawrence: We want you to join us for our very first in-person producers boot camp.

Sister Christian: That's right. It's super exciting. You're hearing it here first on Sunday, April 28th, 2024, coming up very soon in Santa Monica, California. We, Lawrence and I are hosting a half day immersive deep dive into the art of commercial film production.

Lawrence: I mean, talk about community and mentorship, right? We're finally got someone kicked us in the ass. His name's Jordan Brady, and he's like, just fucking do it. So we're doing it. We're gonna be in person and we're gonna, we're gonna. All of our knowledge into your brain's limited spots are available just to make sure that everyone gets personalized attention. It's going to be a very small group, so grab your seat now.

Sister Christian: And we're so fortunate to be presenting alongside Jordan Brady's commercial directing bootcamp. This workshop is your ticket to mastering the intricacies of producing stellar content at top tier levels. That's right.

Lawrence: Elevate your filmmaking skills with insights covering everything from deconstructing director's treatments to negotiating agency and client relationships, all from the producer's point of view.

Sister Christian: This course runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for solid hours, and is only for 95. Hell, that's a bargain. Plus, it's the day after Jordan Brady's Director's Bootcamp, so you can make it a weekend of learning and growth.

Sean Owolo: And as.

Lawrence: A special bonus, we're offering a $100 discount to everyone who is participating in Jordan Brady's commercial directing Boot.

Sister Christian: Camp. Head over to Producers Happy Camp to secure your spot today.

Lawrence: Now sometimes you know when the freelance community over here, producers and whatnot hear the term content. Sometimes it can be thought to be a little low budget or scrappy or less important than a Super Bowl spot. Big misconception of the importance of what we're producing is shifted by the label it's given, whereas the reality is everything's moving towards content, everything's moving towards storytelling. If kids on TikTok can give a bigger ROI to a brand by mentioning their product than a 32nd broadcast commercialism, and then we're seeing where the importance actually is. So what do you think producers need to do or production communities to do or understand, to kind of make it through this shift from our traditional broadcast commercial to content?

Sean Owolo: It's going to happen with or without you.

Sean Owolo: Exactly. Exactly. This can open a whole can of worms. I'm going to touch on the philosophy of it, and then we're going to leave it alone, because it's a whole nother episode. But it's the same argument everyone's having with AI right now. It's Genie is out the bottle. It's coming. Like there's no like, you know, let me try to figure it out. Like, you better jump on board real quick and figure it out real quick and decipher it because it's coming whether you want it or not. So I think it's the same thing with content, and it's been that way for a while. However, the other side of that coin, and this is what I found last year, especially during the strikes, is that I don't think that there is really a shift from commercial to content. I just think that there are more avenues now and more outlets that demand something longer than a 32nd spot, right? That demand. Right. And why do we do that all the time? And when we shot a basically a TV show that was completely branded almost in the old school sense, how you used to have like, Lucille Ball's like one sponsored, you know, like it was very much sort of like, yeah, it was very much sort of like that.

Sean Owolo: Those opportunities are there, but commercials are still around. And as a matter of fact, during the strike, like we were actually really busy last year and the shift was that we just didn't have any content opportunities, but we still had plenty of opportunities that were just traditional agency, in some cases, traditional agency. And you have really good production talent that was willing to work because there's a strikes, right? Yeah. So that's really when I it was weird because people were like, you know, on the contents of everyone was like, oh, it was doom and gloom and it was and it was bad. And they knew eventually it would catch up to the other side of the business, too. Probably, but it never did. And so, like last year, it was I felt guilty at the time because I was like, well, on the commercial side, I'm actually like, I got three shoots next weeks. Yeah. And so yeah, that just got me thinking that like, yeah, I don't know if it's either or.

Sean Owolo: It didn't really feel like an either or. It just felt like a, like a seesaw and all of a sudden content wasn't there and commercial was there. But you know, as we get back to normal, it's just playing in both sandboxes. And I think they're both fun. I think that from our standpoint is producers. Right. The person that wants to work on like a ten day content shoot is the same person that wants to work on a on a 60 day movie or a television series that's a different person, usually, at least for me. Then the person that wants to hop in and be doing art on a shoot for a week and then be on to the next, you know, and it's funny, because I was just having this conversation with someone on set and really, really talented art department person. And yeah, that's what they were saying. They're like, oh man, I'm up for this movie. But like 30 days with this director, I'm thinking, I'm over it. I don't want to do it.

Sean Owolo: Sean, if I can just continue doing art class stuff where it's like, you know, where it's like you have you in and out in, like, you know, ten days, and it's always fun and, you know, and I was like, yeah, it's interesting. I could see that appeal. Yeah.

Sister Christian: The short form content world is. Around that. You know, like a lot of us who would would prefer short form over long form because you get to pick and choose who you work with. But then the jobs are over pretty quickly, and then you get on to the they're exciting because you're not day in and day out the same thing over and over.

Sean Owolo: So my long winded way of just saying that, I think one of the differences is the team you're putting together when you're doing content is sometimes different. A little bit different can be a little bit different.

Sister Christian: I think IP is a very exciting direction that way content is going. What can we expect as a shift in this? Because I do again see the traditional commercial route just dying soon.

Sean Owolo: When you talk about IP, you know you're talking about intellectual properties. I'm excited about that. But there's a lot of problems there. And so really what it comes down to is, you know, it's the word right. That's it's intellectual property. Someone has ownership over that. And right now the problem is figuring out who has that ownership. And a lot of times who should have that ownership is actually the artist. But that's not always the case. And so to me, when you start talking about brands creating IPS, once again, nothing new. The business already exists. It's already out there. You know, one of the things that I dealt with, which was, you know, it was it was crazy, to be honest, is, you know, I have I have a partnership with my cousin who's a pretty prolific comic book writer. And so there was a project we were working on is a TV show based on a character that he created for DC comics called Naomi, and became a TV show that Ava DuVernay was, was producing.

Sean Owolo: And there was a battle around the IP because it's like, well, David, as a writer for, for DC, like, like Marvel writers, is a work for hire yet and still he created that character, right? It's the same argument Marvel had with Jim Starlin and Thanos. And Thanos was part of the cornerstone of billion dollars worth of films. But it's like you got you got to pay the artist. You got to pay the writer that created that, that that's his IP. I'll be honest, you it's pretty rude and shocking that some of these big media companies are literally sending out like, well, created is not quite the word. And I said, well, what is the word like? You know, if David did it in my mind, if David Walker and Brian Bendis sat in a room and said, you know, what we're going to do is create this black girl superhero to highlight, like, black girl magic. That wasn't any corporate lawyers in Warner Brothers thinking, you know, this is what we're going to do.

Sean Owolo: It was two guys. It was two creative writers sitting down at their at the kitchen table before they started doing, you know, the comic book that they were hired to do. So, you know, I just think that that's a question we have to ask all over the place, because the same mistake we made on the agency side, the same mistake will be made by just your mom and pop brands out there that want to develop IP and owned IP. And my question is like, just do it naturally, right? Like just the other day I was thinking about I think about Jake from State Farm, and I was like, it's crazy how certain brands will fall into, you know? And I'm like, is it, is it by design? Is it just lightning in a bottle that, you know, I think with Jake from State Farm, it was more lightning in the bottle because I know from having done stuff with him, he'd never thought it was going to be this long career that would make him a millionaire, you know? So it was like I booked a gig.

Sean Owolo: Oh, great. Now you know. But I also think that now they're more conscious of it because of IP. And I think that's great. Like, to me right now, what I'm the one I'm really vibing on are the Wendy spots with the staff. And there's the guy who's like, you know, that's a bad boy, bad boys. What are you going to do when we bring you food? That guy cracks me up. Every time I watch that spot. I just start laughing because it's just his demeanor. And I was like, oh, Wendy's got one. Yeah, they could almost build a sitcom with these, with these three guys, you know? I mean, like like like they got one right here.

Sister Christian: As they could, like then they put on their YouTube channel and on their website. Then they have episodes and people go and watch for three minutes. Yeah.

Sean Owolo: 100%.

Sister Christian: 100%.

Sean Owolo: Yeah. So I think that's where it works is like it's like just go about your business and then.

Sister Christian: Opportunity.

Sean Owolo: Opportunity will happen and then drive down and drill down into it.

Sister Christian: Well, to a certain extent, some of this was knowing that I did music videos in the New York City, you know, like hip hop heydays between, you know, 98 and 2005, the labels owned all that shit. The artist was the one paying for that million dollar music video out of their profits versus not. And it's very much feeling grosser than that now.

Sean Owolo: Yeah, I think music figured it out, right. I think the artists did figure out where the power lay and and they said they started saying, and it's great because they started saying no to those music videos and doing cheaper ones. And there's a guy right now you check out Tiso touchdown. And he is like, his music is so dope. But he did a ton of music videos, just like in rural Texas where he lived. And they're not great videos production wise. But the music is great and he's great as a personality. And I was like, yeah, that's all you need to know.

Sean Owolo: And now you've got to. Yeah, now. Now he's got a big record deal. and he can do a little bit of a cooler video, but like, I loved it. He built a career doing these small videos that seem like he just shot himself with with a friend.

Sister Christian: I do think that Howard does lie with the artists and the individual, and I do like as a producer, the urge to protect the smaller person or the individual is there for a 100%. I'm. Yeah, like I'm glad that people are starting to be hip to that.

Lawrence: I want to ask about I don't know how involved art class has been with any of this, but influencer and user generated content. Have you seen that play a bigger role in, you know, the level of commercials and content that you guys are creating?

Sean Owolo: Certainly it plays a big role. There's no doubt about it. For us, those instances have been strictly on a project by project basis. You know, like we did a spot with Addison Rae, you know, so, so, so then we're touching an influencer.

Sean Owolo: And obviously the agency brought us in to execute. And Addison Rae is there to to boost whatever that brand is. My probably first year at art class, we had a friend that was working at FaZe clan at the time. And, and so I, we shot a web series with Little Yachty and FaZe clan. It was an eye opener for me. Even as a gamer. I was like, oh my God, I can't believe the numbers these kids are putting up. You know, I've been as much a spectator as anyone in that we're not really driving that conversation. We love working with influencers and I recognize their value, and I'm still wrapping my mind around the control and the paradigm shift that an influencer has.

Sister Christian: It's direct to consumer, basically. Like with TikTok, it's insane who you can reach. You just reach around everybody and you get to the people that you want.

Lawrence: Yeah. so I want to know what you see coming in the future for us. I mean, all of our audiences, basically producers and production people and freelancers, and the industry is constantly shifting.

Lawrence: And I know it makes some people a little nervous and afraid, especially with AI and everything turning into content, which, you know, as we've learned from this discussion, it's still an important and valid thing that we're producing. What do you see coming down the road? What should we be looking out for as as we navigate these waters of of live action production?

Sean Owolo: I think content's king. Right. And so I think that that's not going anywhere. And you probably see more brands figuring out IP and figuring out how to live in longer formats. And then like I said, it's probably such a longer conversation. But on the AI side, you know, it's coming and we all need to figure out how to how to work with it. And you are starting to see piece of that too, right? Like you're starting to see the, you know, development of treatments can sometimes be a little bit easier. I mean, I was I was with the director and we did a traditional treatment because I still believe you have to do that.

Sean Owolo: But we were on the zoom talking to the client, and he was asking like questions to them and then typing it into his generator and then showing them like, yeah, so we could shoot it. It could sort of be like this. And it wasn't perfect. It wasn't anything that you would put into a treatment. But for a zoom call, just to illustrate something, it was a heck of a lot better than the old school way, which would be a director with a chalkboard or a pen.

Lawrence: Yes.

Sean Owolo: Well, if we shot it this way from this angle, it would look like I was like, yeah, there we are.

Sister Christian: It's amazing. Holy shit. I mean, like, no, I get it. Because, you know, I can picture an apple and you can picture an apple, and they could be two vastly different apples. Do you know what I mean? Yours could be animated. Mine could be real. Mine could be green. I know, but like to actually give them a visualization of your thoughts in real time is kind of insane.

Lawrence: That's where we're at. And even even beyond that, you know, when you start going into Unreal Engine and those kind of things where you can literally be building worlds in real time and putting in a camera and changing the lens and looking at angles. I mean.

Sean Owolo: I'll leave you guys with this last thing. So one of our directors, Paul Trillo, he's one of the real preeminent people in AI right now. And he works, you know, with the sources. So he is one of 20 people right now with a Saw license globally outside of the company as of the beginning of this week. So I am really stoked. And he's a director so he knows the challenges. He's not like he's like he wants to continue to direct. So he's not like, I'm trying to make my own replacement. That's what I love about Paul is like, we, you know, everyone trusts him. I think that's what a lot of people globally react to is they know Paul is an artist, he's a director, and he wants to use this to enhance that, not to replace that.

Sean Owolo: It'll be interesting. Maybe if I'm on again in the future, we'll be able to talk about what that ended up being. But yeah, absolutely. Is is going to be a game changer.

Sister Christian: It looks it's fascinating and it looks very interesting. And a lot of people in our positions are on all the boards are nervous that it's going to replace us as much as that is a tool that can be used. If humans aren't going to connect with it when they're watching it, it's not going to replace us.

Lawrence: It's not going to work.

Sean Owolo: It's it's not. It can generate a bunch of real cool locations. But like, you have to take talent and you're going to put them in the virtual world. I mean, that doesn't completely always work, just like The Mandalorian stage doesn't always work. So and then there's just no replacing a human emotion. We haven't we haven't figured it out. We've seen really cool CGI that looks really realistic. And it's still not Leonardo DiCaprio acting in the what you're going to get out of him in killers of the Flower Moon.

Sean Owolo: Or, you know, the looks on Robert Downey Jr's face in Oppenheimer in the end, when he knows he's been duped and it's like, yeah, you're not getting that. The saw can only do so much, you know, like like the, the look where you all get like, oh, he knows he's cooked. You know like so yeah. That, that that emotion is exclusively human. Everybody. Yeah. For now.

Lawrence: Sean, thank you so much for spending some time with us today.

Sean Owolo: Oh thank you. My pleasure. Yeah.

Lawrence: This was a wonderful conversation. Yes we will. We'd love to have you back once. There's more to talk about on in terms of Sora and I.

Sean Owolo: It could be fun. We could even bring Paul Trillo on and. Yeah, figure out. We'll figure out what we're doing.

Sister Christian: But maybe it'd be nice to have him on to, you know, like, tamp down some of the fears out there because the fear is real. I'm seeing all kinds of.

Lawrence: Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 4: Are, like, very afraid it's gonna replace us.

Sister Christian: It's like it's not replacing us tomorrow. So let's just take a deep breath and, you know, go forward with ethics and common sense and figure it out.

Lawrence: Yeah. Sean, thank you so much. If people want to get Ahold of you, how can they find you a.

Sean Owolo: Wallow at art class is the best way.

Lawrence: Great sister Christian.

Sister Christian: Sister Christian I'm there 24 hours. Florence, if people want you, how do they get you.

Lawrence: 24 hours a day? Lawrence T Lewis com see you next time.

Sister Christian: Thanks for joining producers happy hour.

Lawrence: If you got value from this episode, please don't keep it to yourself. Spread the love by rating and reviewing us on Apple Podcasts.

Sister Christian: And let's be honest, we wouldn't have the show without you. Your feedback helps us to keep making this amazing content.

Lawrence: This show is brought to you by our editor, Brent Russell at Potlatch.

Sister Christian: Com and Christopher Daniels, who is our branding expert and one fabulous treatment designer.

Lawrence: So until next time, always remember making.

Sister Christian: It is hard.



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