DS: As a Producer, what do you think is the most important aspect of your job?
DV: There are two broad aspects to the job. Firstly, to bring the brief / story to life what is needed — I always ask myself what can I take from my world and put in this idea to make it real, to deliver what is required and go beyond. The second aspect is managing the processes and bringing the different departments in sync. Making sure we get the best crew. Without this delivering what I ‑‑‑ paid for becomes difficult.
I also think there is one aspect that is critical and so elementary — asking questions and getting insights. You might laugh but without asking the right questions, there are so many things that could go wrong. It’s the starting point. Most agencies and clients, and even writers, have lived a while with their ideas before a producer is invited to join the party, and it’s the first time ‘an outsider’ is allowed to comment on the ideas. Once everything is clear, delivering on time and in budget become fathomable.
DS: How do you see the changing media industry?
DV: There is enough out there to prove that we are approaching a brave new hybrid frontier with multiple media coexisting. But this also has a huge impact on how content and communication is created and consumed. Now more than ever we are seeing a stream of content creators, while in the past this bastion of content creation was held by a few (well resourced) creators, with multiple formats emerging in media, independent creators have as much power, if not more to tell their stories. YouTube content creators is an example of this at one level, and Netflix is another.
DS: Give us an insight into your operations in Dubai and the GCC?
DV: Our workflow is pretty varied at the moment. 70% of it is TVC-approach production including still photography projects. Regional work is becoming more and more Saudi focused, whereas smaller (budgeted) content ideas are increasingly being created for targeted groups. At the same time there is a constant demand for low-cost videos. To address this need we have launched a video production division that specialises in quick turnaround videos.
DS: What are some of the collaborations Milkshake Media is currently working on?
DV: We are constantly collaborating with international and regional directors on the different scripts coming in. For example, we are working with Emmy award winning Director David Ward on a project for the federal government after the success we enjoyed on the Nat Geo show Made in UAE. We also just finished a major project for Bosch Middle East with German / Swiss Director Dirk Meister which was a great success.
DS: What next for Milkshake Media and yourself?
DV: We are a beehive brimming with ideas. There are three broadcast / OTT projects in development (mini-series), while we continue to consolidate with our current clients (commercials). We continue to strengthen our relationships with PHs in Europe, and writers / directors primarily from the US and UK. For me? I’m going to watch Once Upon A Time In Hollywood for the second time!