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AICP Digital Previews Standard Digital Production Contract

AICP Digital Chapter Previews New Digital Standard
Production Contract at Heads of Production Meeting

Board members meet with production heads to review
Standards and Practices  developments and outline
goals and objectives of the new Digital Chapter.

By Anthony Vagnoni


Almost two dozen agency production executives met at QuietMan with a contingent from AICP Digital.

SourceEcreative sponsored a meeting in New York on Wednesday, Feb. 9, of ad agency broadcast and integrated heads of production.  The meeting was hosted by QuietMan, the visual effects and design studio located just above the Art Directors Club on West 29th Street in Manhattan, and the topic of conversation was the new Standard Production Contract covering digital work that's been developed by the AICP's Digital Chapter.
Almost two dozen heads of production attended the meeting, many bringing with them their digital counterparts, to listen to a presentation by members of the AICP Digital Board of Directors.  On hand to present the chapter's new Standard Production Contract (SPC), and to provide the agency production executives with an overview of what the AICP Digital chapter is all about, were Bob Nelson, the newly named Executive Producer of QuietMan and the former Director of Broadcast Production at DDB New York; Chip Houghton, Managing Partner of Imaginary Forces; Justin Booth Clibborn, CEO of Psyop; Mary Knox, Managing Director of Commercial Production at Curious Pictures; David Skaff, Head of Creative for The Science Project; and Max Oshman, Head of Interactive at thelab.  Also on hand were Matt Miller, CEO of AICP, and QuietMan EP and Partner Carey Gattyan.
The major item on the agenda for the AICP Digital team was to present the agency executives with a copy of the newly released SPC covering digital production.  Houghton is on the AICP Digital Standards and Practices committee that developed the contract.  "The existing production contract that we've been using in the past has not evolved since the advent of digital production," Houghton says.  "But it's now become such a big part of what we do."
Houghton noted that when AICP Digital was formed last year, the original intent was to address areas such as visual effects, CGI and motion graphics - all work that was created in a digital environment, with directors and artists working on computers - particularly as it relates to traditional TV spots and web video. Often this work is integrated with live action, but is produced in an entirely different way. Houghton says that for years, digital production companies such as his had to try and amend the live action-oriented AICP bid form to fit the way they worked.
What the chapter has found since they began meeting in earnest last year, however, is that the definition of digital production for agencies has gone beyond these parameters, Houghton continued.  It now includes web sites, apps, mobile ads, software code, scripts, etc. "It's really come to embrace all these new forms of production," he says.  Much of this expanded definition came at the suggestion of newer members to the AICP Digital scene, companies such as The Science Project and thelab, which he described as shops that work with an enormous amount of interactive and digital technology.
Skaff said that everyone seems to be grappling with the basic question of "where does digital begin and where does it end?"  More to the point, he and others noted that major issues revolve around things like deliverables, specs, technologies, intellectual property rights, distribution channels, and more.  Often, he noted, "as vendors, we spend a lot of time documenting what a job requires. Our goal here is to create a more efficient way to delineate what's expected between the client, agency and vendor relationships."
The proposed SPC will be posted on the AICP web site this coming Monday, February 14, 2011.  Booth Clibborn pointed out that the release of the document is a point of departure, intended to open a dialogue with agency producers when working on digital projects. "There is no 'one size fits all solution' for digital production," he says, "but we feel this is a good starting point."
Other initiatives the AICP Digital chapter intends to undertake is to work on educating both its members and agencies on the increasingly complex ins and outs of producing digital work, both that which appears in traditional platforms such as TV commercials and that which is intended for newer media outlets such as apps and mobile.
The chapter board members at the meeting also suggested, in response to a question from an agency executive, that they'd be willing to work to develop a standard glossary of terms for their agency clients and will also consider developing a standardized spec sheet for agencies and production companies to review which technologies (video players, Flash, etc.) will be required on a project before production begins.
The issues faced by agencies and production companies as they move steadily into digital production are lengthy and complex, Booth Clibborn says, adding, "it's important that we work together to find our way through these." He urged the production execs in attendance to turn to production companies as a resource during this time, and, more importantly, "to push to get your producers as early as possible on any digital projects."

Photos from the event appear below.


QuietMan EP Bob Nelson (left) with Merkley & Partners'
Gary Grossman and AICP's Matt Miller.

Loren Victory from Team Detroit (left) and Chip Houghton of Imaginary Forces.

From left, Lisa Setten of BBH, Clair Grupp of JWT, Chris Berger
of Publicis and Justin Booth Clibborn of Psyop.

Mike Aaron of Mother, Nadia Blake of Publicis and
Corey Esse of Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis.

Niklas Lindstrom of BBDO with Dave Skaff of The Science Project.

  Bill Goodell from Arnold in Boston, Keith Johnston of Butler Shine Stern + Partners
in Sausalito and Liza Near from Mullen in Boston.

  David Perry of Saatchi, Johnnie Semerad of QuietMan and Bob Nelson.

    Bennett McCarroll and Kristen Finch of Grey Worldwide.

Published 10 February, 2011

Published 9, February 2011