Monday, May 14, 2007

Listen all of y'all it's an arbitrage!

First up, this guy DID win “last year's overall CIPS Supply Management Award” which sounds so Straight-outta-Slough I can barely wrap my head around it. So he is “good” at his job, which apparently entails being a major tool.

Check out the photo accompanying the fawning article, he seems to be auditioning for the BBC version of “The Shield.” He is Bob Brimson and he is the guy that makes sure Universal UK spends as little as possible on everything. Now I certainly understand that record labels are businesses and they want to save money – just like I try to save cash by drinking Keystone beer instead of the pricey MGD.

I understand why Bob’s job exists, and there are probably people like this in the States as well. I also get that this article is from a trade paper and is written for purchasing types who must see dude’s gig as “sexy” – he does know Terrence Trent D’Arby. Reading this you might feel like a cow discovering a copy of “Slaughterhouse and Butchering Illustrated” – but it is not meant to be taken personally. All this being said –

He is not wrong. Check out this quote:
"The creative industry is shrouded in mystery because it suits them," he says. "But it's all baloney. When it comes to managing spend in creative services, it's about calling their bluff. Once you hear a creative person going on about creative integrity, that's when they are losing the argument."

I think that is completely true. No one should ever negotiate on the basis of creative integrity. If the label wants to cut out the steadi cam, three hours of shooting or the post effects – they need to understand that the video will look LESS good because of the budget cuts. It is not about the director’s feelings or integrity – it is about the video being the best it can be. If they want to spend less, it is their dollar - just convince them why it is not in their best interest to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Using "creative integrity" and other artist-speak on business types is about as effective as I was in high-school trying to impress cheerleaders by explaining how to roll-up a new Halfling Thief character with Agility +1.

The charismatic and enticing Brimson – or people or policies like him – are everywhere in today’s MV marketplace. Lots of prod cos took advantage of videos being a seller’s market for years – and soaked the labels in the process. This dude is their revenge.

Read the article and try not to think in terms of how it “should” be – but rather think of the way it IS. It makes it sound like commissioning an exciting new video is about as creative as ordering reams of paper – but the commissioning and budget negotiations aren’t supposed to be the cool, creative part – the video is. So deal with a guy like this, get the monetary ducks in a row and make a killer video. Just try not to laugh when he tells you how he partied with Mott The Hoople.

Bob Brimson profile from

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Just explain that a budget increase will really add to the overall Mise en scène of the video.
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