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Producing Tomorrow's Producers: Why Directing Is Not Democratic with Dominik Meis


Hamlet Berlin's managing partner and executive producer on going through the world with open eyes and hearts, wearing comfortable shoes and why a film production is a concert of many specialists

Producing Tomorrow's Producers: Why Directing Is Not Democratic with Dominik Meis

Dominik was born in Münster, grew up in Hamburg to a certain extent, and gained experience all over the world, including honest work. Even though he always liked Hamburg best for staying, Dominik was able to get to know different cultures, countries and their people on all continents through his job. Today, Dominik lives in Berlin and still enjoys commuting to Hamburg.

Dominik has spent most of his professional life at Markenfilm. There he learned very, very, very much and worked even more. It became almost 14 years together with many extraordinary projects and encounters all over the world. In the five, six years after that, Dominik helped two film productions to complete their business models, sharpen the portfolio, professionalise the production department and develop a specific directing offer.

In the last two years, Dominik has expanded and managed the production department at Rekorder. During this time, he has been responsible for very large projects such as the o2 'Pizzabotin' campaign (Serviceplan Bubble), Jägermeister with Post Malone (la red), the 10 exceptional BMW XM launch films with JvM and a Mini prototype campaign, as well as the complete launch in film and photo for ORA and a very nice, individual Rimowa production.

Dominik has mainly worked on automotive, food, beauty, technology, pet food, finance, pharma and retail. There have been so many projects over the last 25 years for all the brands, clients and advertising agencies you’d know.

LBB> What advice would you give to any aspiring producers or content creators hoping to make the jump into production?

Dominik> Wear comfortable shoes.


LBB> What skills or emerging areas would you advise aspiring producers to learn about and educate themselves about?

Dominik> As simple and obvious as it may sound: to think in a targeted way. In fact, most people hardly know how to do that - and it is essential for our profession. It will also always remain important and true to go through the world with open eyes and hearts, to be inspired by art, culture, countries, people and opinions - to see it as enrichment. Stay flexible. And yes, AI is of course an important and exciting topic that will have a strong influence on our profession as a tool. In writing and image.


LBB> What was the biggest lesson you learned when you were starting out in production - and why has that stayed with you?

Dominik> Directing is not democratic.

That I say this as a producer may seem unusual. A film production is a concert with many specialists. I am therefore deeply convinced that in my role I should be a facilitator, someone who creates space for others to develop and do their work in the best possible way. We producers or production companies should also be given the space we create for others. Then the project, all of us together and also I can be successful. 


LBB> When it comes to broadening access to production and improving diversity and inclusion what are your team doing to address this?

Dominik> I have (almost) always had the good fortune to work in companies that did not see this as an additional task, but as an integral part of their culture and success, as an enrichment. Hamlet is the best proof of this: with its beating heart in Belgium, different nations, cultures, languages, people and their experiences work together with a common understanding, across several countries, to put together the most suitable teams, to create the best possible atmosphere and energy, to do really good things with fun and sweat, or maybe sweat and fun. That's the only way!


LBB> And why is it an important issue for the production community to address?

Dominik> In principle, every production we plan and carry out is like the famous little Gallic village. Or, in our case, like a Hamlet. If we bring the most diverse people together in this place and spend our time together well, then everyone can also take something away from it for their lives and their dealings with people. Advertising, filmic communication, can't and won't - and doesn't want to - save the world. But our job life together is often successful, inspiring, also funny and respectful under the most adverse conditions. These are not bad prerequisites for one's own heart formation.


LBB> There are young people getting into production who maybe don’t see the line between professional production and the creator economy, and that may well also be the shape of things to come. What are your thoughts about that? Is there a tension between more formalised production and the ‘creator economy’ or do the two feed into each other?

Dominik> There have always been the most diverse designs (not only) of products. A raft that is supposed to hold for exactly one passage and does exactly that. A boat that is designed and built for a more extensive task and does it superbly for many. The raft can be the more interesting object, or the boat something that can only be created with experience and also the constant will to change. Both should learn and profit from each other. Being against each other in principle and in the long run has never worked.


LBB> It seems that there’s an emphasis on speed and volume when it comes to content - but to where is the space for up and coming producers to learn about (and learn to appreciate) craft?

Dominik> I think it really comes with time and repetition. Always a lot and fast is tiring. It gets boring and doesn't stay. In the end, it's often a waste of resources (how many tons of sweatshop t-shirts break and get thrown away every day? And why do you have to have 50 of them?). It is precisely for these reasons and the observation of one's own self that the desire for something thoughtful that stays arises. Everything that one recognises oneself, one internalises best anyway.

LBB> On the other side of the equation, what’s the key to retaining expertise and helping people who have been working in production for decades to develop new skills?

Dominik> I think that especially people who have been working in production for decades can be very helpful to others in developing new skills. They know best what works and what does not, what has worked and what has not. But again, everyone learns from everyone. That's why I also believe, for example, that a generation house is the ideal of living together.


LBB> Clearly there is so much change, but what are the personality traits and skills that will always be in demand from producers?

Dominik> Curiosity, diplomacy, humour, responsibility, resilience, being interested in everything first, humour, tolerance, structure, flexibility, respect and a good sense of humour. To be able to sleep well and everywhere.

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Hamlet, Wed, 19 Apr 2023 09:55:48 GMT