20 August 2007
Production companies come in all different shapes and sizes as well as varying visions for their futures. Nothing is more aptly true than for MRB Productions which initially entered the advertising arena through the promo fray, but who is now quickly making headway as well into the more traditional commercial market.
Owned and operated by Matt Brady, MRB flourished from the beginning with network promos. With a bit of further investigation into the advertising marketplace, Brady quickly assessed the field and noted, after speaking with an array of directors, that a vast majority of production companies were turning down low-budgeted projects. Already well versed in the tighter budget scenario (promos are traditionally kept to a much smaller scale), Brady felt as if he had found another niche to showcase his talent. “My fact finding mission proved beneficial,” states Brady. “We continued to shoot our promos as well as larger-budgeted jobs, all the while picking up projects hovering around $100K, thus allowing my directors to further enhance their reels.” Applying his expertise from the promo world to all levels of the commercial realm, Brady was able to capitalize on expanding his repertoire. “I guess my attitude in general,” says the producer, “is that even when the budgets are small, they give MRB great opportunities.”
Moving forward – and as the advertising community encompasses other high tech avenues to hark its wares, MRB appears to be ahead of the curve. “We’ve been very fortunate” says Brady, “in that we’ve been able to increase our reel with a varied spectrum of projects. Not only do we have promos and commercials coming through the door, we’re now doing virals and pilots as well.” Adverse to being stuck in one direction, Brady sees the potential in his talent to transcend all advertising means and to excel in all arenas. Thus it is because of his eye towards the future that the producer is always looking to develop his directing pool. “When I started out, we were in demand for sports and comedy. Now my contacts are looking to me for cars. It’s ever-changing, and never dull. Through my experiences you pretty much have to have a good showing of talent in order to secure the boards.”
With the viewing audience having more pull than ever before over the direction of advertising, Brady admits that that fact alone is also helping him assess the evolution of the industry. “The public is helping advertisers tool their ads to what they want to see. Every popular commercial is popping up on YouTube – which in itself is a great measuring stick – advertising’s own Nielson rating for spots, so to speak.” No matter the level of manipulation, Brady’s team understands the value of getting people to talk about their ads. “If you get a buzz about something, whether a promo, commercial, or film, you’ve definitely delivered a finished product with legs.”
Case in point is the promo for ESPN starring 2008 president candidate Barack Obama. A very formidable Obama addresses the camera in a piece that would lead one to believe that the message is all politics. What a delight to find out that in the end, the same metaphorical rhetoric can be applied to football. “The Obama spot received a myriad of opinions from the press – both good and bad. But then if you look at the new measuring stick you’ll find that it got over 80,000 hits on YouTube. That’s a prime indicator of what the viewing public wants to see.”
To accommodate said audience, MRB Productions has armed itself with a diverse roster of talent. Directors such as Rico Labbe, Mark Teitelman, Mike Wang, Jeremy Haft, Gary Califano, Brian O’Connell, and Branson Veal, along with a reel sporting clients ESPN, NFL, DirecTV, Foot Locker, Heineken, NBC, Precor, Krispy Kreme, and ABC Sports, just to name a few. (And it should be noted that MRB walked away with two Sports Emmys earlier this year from the National Television Academy for Outstanding Production Design/Art Direction for NBA Finals and Outstanding Open/Tease for NBA Basketball Hall of Fame, both directed by Mark Teitelman.)
With so much at stake in all things advertising, what direction does Brady see for his bunch? “I want to kick butt! I have a great team now and almost a complete roster. I know I’d love to expand it to include one director in every possible genre. Just so that each time an opportunity came our way, we could excel by catering to their every need. Bottom line, I’m looking at getting it perfect.”