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Opinion and Insight

Production Without Borders: How to Take on The World

Production Service Network digs deep at their AICP panel on what it takes to get the money-shot abroad

Production Without Borders: How to Take on The World

Production Service Network, the eponymous worldwide production service company, recently hosted a discussion with key producers during AICP week; focusing on the trials and tribulations of shooting overseas and how they approach it in partnership with PSN. 

In this interview, PSN in conversation with Shelby Ross, EP at Sibling Rivalry; Dave Saltzman, EP and partner at M ss ng P eces; and Nic Barnes, senior content producer at The Mill+, dug out some not-home truths straight from the production trenches...

Click here for the full unedited panel.


Panelists from left to right: Nic Burrows, Michael Moffett,Shelby Ross and Dave Saltzman

Q> Why do brands so frequently want to leave their ‘home’ countries to shoot abroad?

Dave Saltzman> For us, we’ve had the opportunity to work with global brands such as Google and Starbucks who have really wanted to show off their deep international understanding - highlighting how broad they are as a brand and how connected they are to their local and global communities.

Q> The 2018 PSN survey ‘What Matters Most Shooting Overseas’, showed that creatives are more often drawn to shooting in unique locations. How can production companies make that a reality?

Shelby Ross> The biggest conversations are about budget, talent and brief. How far does the client want to travel? We could recommend a Romanian solution, a Mexico City solution, or, at the end of the day we might just shot in Minnesota because it’s the client’s backyard. We weigh those options all the time and we try to offer the best budget for each option. We want to identify the smart solutions, appealing to the cost consultant whilst also speaking to the client and the job at stake. Creatively or budgetarily, we always have to ask what other reasons are there to make the project viable. 

Dave Saltzman> There are realities to travelling around the globe; timewise, consumption-wise if you’re conscientious about the planet, and logistical considerations regarding the product. It’s not only about money or talent - I think people forget that sometimes. 

Q> Shooting in far flung places, really does require extensive pre-knowledge of the area and support from local resources. How does partnering with PSN help you achieve this and avoid certain risks?

Shelby Ross> The word ‘network’ really does mean something in PSN’s case. I think the question you’ve solved for a lot of people is how we find reliable, pre-vetted sources that we can just pick up the phone and carry on a conversation like they’re family. 

Nic Barnes> The risks are very real. We recently shot in Morocco and because of the volume of projects shooting there at the moment, resources fell through at the last minute - the local support we had confirmed chose to take the 30 day long shoot instead, and they didn’t really care because the chances of working together again is slim.

Q> Shelby, you recently wrapped a global project in partnership with PSN partners - can you tell us a little about the job? 

Shelby Ross> Yes, we did 55 days in 15 countries. It was a travel, prep, shoot, travel, prep, shoot kind of thing. Having pre-vetted partners in places we've never been to, really was the saving grace. 

Q> How do you communicate the reality of shoots to clients to make sure there’s no unpleasant surprises? 

Nic Barnes> Most clients and agencies appreciate the transparency. If there are going to be difficult times ahead, such as location moves or holidays, a lot of people will take that on board. For example, no one wants to be working through the US holidays and they don’t really expect people to do it in other countries either. So, I think that most of the time people appreciate the transparency and you can usually find a workaround. 

Dave Saltzman> As long as it’s said in the right way, you can say whatever you have to say. But you have to choose your words wisely… 

For the complete and unedited panel moderated by AICP Board Member and PSN Production Liaison Carolyn Hill, please click here. Click here for a look at PSN Partner TVC work filmed worldwide.
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