Today’s guest is Daniela Berther, she is an amazing producer with lot of experience, she made more than 40 featured films. Daniela, I think you are more than qualified to tell us, what makes a good producer?

A good producer is someone who takes care of people, of the content he/she would like to create, of the screenplay, of the storyboard and whatever it needs. He needs to find the right director for the right storyboard, and find the right director for the agency – because sometimes there is an agency involved as well, which make it sometimes harder. Then you have to find the whole team. To find for example the right makeup artist, or stylist to fit within the need of the director.

Directors have great ideas and they want high quality and high standards, but then you have to squeeze it back in the budget. A director organises the shoot, the location, the styling with the help of stylist… The key possession is holding the budget together.

Since you started, the market has changed a lot. You now have the same budget for ten commercials that we used to have for two. Is it all about squeezing the creators or how do you find your happy medium?

As I work a lot with clients directly or as a consultant, I try to first do it when the creators start thinking, I tell them “These are your borders and within the borders you have to create your content”. Because that is a goal, to make good content in the financial borders that we have in the industry at the moment.

When I started in the industry, for a music clip for example, we had not a lot of money, but today you have nothing. Today a music clip is for free, at least…

You also have now many different formats to fits with Facebook, Instagram and all the different digital channels. It makes it so completed to all of us. You want to have quality for your clients on all different channels but you can’t, I mean it’s impossible today.

They ask for campaign which cost you at least a million and their budget is fifty thousands. The gap is so big, it’s hard to bring clients back to « normal » in a way. In the normal advertising world, or in the TV driven world, you have some nice budget left, and then you have to squeeze in whatever works. It’s not squeezing the creators, it’s more about finding the best balance between creation, budget and the needs of the client.

In this world of moving fast, would you still say quality is important? Quality of pictures, quality of storytelling, quality of sound?

Quality is the key for everything. If you are a passionated filmmaker, passionated producer, you need your work to be seen as quality. The quality is coming from the storytelling, from the pictures, from the camera. Everything together makes the quality of a commercial or of a movie. 

But it is harder as things do not last so long. Everything is shorter. Terms are so short now, you have something roll out for 3 weeks and then it’s gone and you have the next thing. So the people are not happy to invest a lot. This hits the quality, badly, mostly, and as well the timing. Timings are so short, which is not good for the quality. 

When I started in the industry we said a good advertising piece needs at least 3 to 4 months to create, to think about it again, to present it to the client and then to execute it. The execution was in the first 2 months. Now you have to execute things within 3 days. That’s a big difference and it makes it harder.

As well as we don’t spend so much money anymore in online, for example on SFX. We now try to make everything on camera whenever we can. Creating is easier nowadays because you don’t have the big machines but it definitely hits the quality. The time hits the quality and the money hits the quality. 

I think it’s very important to keep a high level of quality because otherwise we lose our faces in the industry. On the other hand, we have to fight a bit for that too. We have to fight with our clients, we have to fight with the agencies and with have to fight with ourselves, our restrictions of budget. Sometimes you have to give as a producer a bit more money in a project to make it alive and to make it bigger. You have to find the right balance. 

I would define you as quite successful at what you are doing. How would you help somebody else if you could give 3 steps to success?

Be nice to people, try to build up a big network wherever you can, in all countries. Be strong, try to force your creative team to their best quality, to their best solutions and to their best results.

Why is having a big network so important?

Let’s say for example you need a special piece for a film, if you have a big network out of different people, you can find it easily.

Lastly, you work a lot, what gets you up in the morning? What drives you to do what you are doing?

I love what I do, I do it with passion. That’s what motivates me all the time.

Daniela Berther Interviewed by Xaver Walser