Introducing Maria, our Head of Business and Talent (Europe), who offers a glimpse into her life in the production industry. From navigating the challenges of getting started to managing difficult relationships and being the calming force, Maria has seen it all. Having discovered her love for production in London 14 years ago, she never looked back and knew this was the path for her.
We recently caught up with Maria to gain valuable insights into relationship building in production. Her answers to some of the most pressing questions are sure to provide the invaluable knowledge & truths you've been seeking!
How did you first get involved in the production and what appealed to you about it?
It first started 14 years ago, when I was an office manager in a post-production company while I lived in London. Later on, when I moved to Madrid it became very natural to start as a talent rep as I already knew the industry and its peculiar jargon.
What about your personality, skills and experience make this position such a great fit?
Besides the general knowledge that this industry needs, I believe it's crucial to possess an empathetic personality to grasp the needs of clients/brands. Luckily, I naturally possess this trait :)
What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting their career in production?
To avoid getting overly caught up in the tumultuous nature of this industry, I would recommend not spending all of your energy on it. Instead, prioritise engaging in enjoyable and creative endeavours while also selectively choosing meaningful projects to take part in, as they will help make your journey more manageable.
Thinking back to some of the most challenging experiences you’ve had in your career, what do you think tends to lie at the heart of the more tense or difficult client?
Well, there's been a few, the worst one involved a poor relationship between the agency and the client, making the entire process much more excruciating than it should have been. I think taking the time to get to know each other, and building trust and respect would help hugely!
And what are the keys to building a productive and good relationship?
Being sympathetic to other people's situations. Never take things personally, when someone does something wrong, even if you feel it was directed at you, they usually have their own struggles.
What’s your view on disagreement and emotion - is there a place for it and if not, why not? If so, why - and what does productive disagreement look like?
There’s always a place for disagreement, otherwise, there wouldn’t be a place for productive conversation. It is important to put everyone’s needs and limits on the table to have a better process and better end result.
These days, agencies and production companies do so much beyond traditional campaigns. As a producer or account manager/sales manager you do so much to put all the pieces together - and that complexity can often be mirrored on the client stakeholder side too.
What’s the key to navigating (and helping the client navigate) that complexity?
As an account/business development manager, the key is to truly listen to everyone’s needs. Paying attention to all creative and practical opinions will help find a balance within all of them and integrate them into a funnel to materialise the best out of it.
What recent projects are you proudest of and why? What was challenging about these projects from a sales/production perspective and how did you address those challenges? What was so satisfying about working on these projects?
It was a huge campaign for Facebook and the production process was complex. The process was painful but in the end, the campaign was a huge success ;) It was incredibly rewarding to see all of our efforts come to fruition and to know that we had played a significant role in achieving our client's goals.