When you tell people that you work in b2b public relations in the media and entertainment (M&E) industry, they often think of the Hollywood glitz and glamour. They think you work with actors and actresses and go to fancy parties. Sometimes that’s true, but most of the time (unfortunately) it’s not.
However, working in M&E tech can be just as exciting, because we often get to see how the Hollywood glitz and glam comes together. Whether it’s how the scenes of a film are cut, the way sound is mixed for a TV series, or the process of delivering large assets for a film, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes action that the general public doesn’t always think or know about.
So, if you’ve ever contemplated a career in b2b PR working in the M&E industry, you’ve come to the right place. We recently met with Framestore’s marketing manager Martin Izzard. Framestore is a visual effects (VFX) company based in London with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Mumbai and Montréal, which Martin joined after spending several years on the agency side of PR. In our chat, we find out how Martin started out in PR, his thoughts on in-house versus agency life, and his predictions for the M&E industry.
How long have you been working in public relations and what was your first job?
I’ve been in communications since 2012, kicking off my PR experience at Wimbledon Studios, a film and TV studio in London.
So, you started out in the M&E arena – what do you like best about working in this sector?
I’m a huge fan of films and watch a lot of TV, so I’ve always loved surrounding myself with the people, organisations and technology that make programming and movies happen, whether it’s the latest TV service or the biggest international blockbuster. Not everyone gets to work on something that has such huge global appeal.
Can you tell us a little bit about the types of projects and campaigns you work on at Framestore?
The idea a lot of people have about a VFX studio is steeped in what they knew several years ago. But, Framestore does so much more than just provide VFX work to Marvel or Disney — which of course I still love. A key part of my role is showcasing the range of projects we get involved in.
I work with the commercials, television and immersive teams, the latter of which are working with consumer or entertainment brands on location-based entertainment; from new theme park attractions, to VR experiences created to promote upcoming TV shows or films. The projects in this area in particular differ wildly and will see us creating media for OOH (out-of-home) displays in Times Square, or teaming up with a theme park operator to design new rides. The marketing campaigns that support these projects need to flexible to ever-changing requirements.
You’re working in-house at Framestore, but you’ve also worked on the agency side as well. What would you say are some of the similarities and differences?
At a company as big as Framestore that works on such a wide array of projects from film and TV, to advertising and immersive experiences, there are people leading projects who need support from the marketing department. That could mean PR or more traditional marketing. As their projects get to certain points, it’s almost as if they become clients and priorities need to be managed in a similar way to how they would be at an agency.
The biggest difference would be the wider appreciation of the industry that you get in an agency environment. In-house, it can be easy to just live in one world and forget that there’s a whole industry working around you. So, you need to carve out a bit more time to keep up to date on what’s going on outside of your particular organisation.
Is there anything you miss about working at an agency?
Getting involved in new business pitches and doing a few weeks of intense research on a particular technology or product is something I always enjoyed and don’t get to do now.
According to a PwC report, revenues for the global entertainment and media industry are expected to reach 2.6 trillion by 2023! Where do you see opportunities for growth in the industry?
Without a doubt, there’s more opportunity than ever for people working in the sector. As Apple’s and Disney’s streaming services have now gone online amidst plenty of excitement, there are still plenty more challengers who are launching services and that’s what’s pushing the boundaries and expectations of episodic programming.
Do you see any particular markets emerging in the M&E sector?
There are a few different markets that have become part of the sector in recent years that I think we’ll see more from. For example, delivering media for theme park attractions is now commonplace for creative studios like Framestore. As immersive technologies like mixed realities become better, the demand for this is only going to increase.
What are your predictions for 2020 in the M&E space? Any trends you see taking off?
I think experiential viewing is going to become bigger; it’s something we’re seeing in demand from clients here at Framestore. Our clients – whether they’re consumer or entertainment brands – are looking for new ways to connect with audiences using consumable content that’s increasingly being done in virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).
Lastly, what advice would you give to those interested in working in marketing and PR in the M&E industry?
If you watch something you like, then do some reading on how it was made. Whether it’s a drama series, a sitcom or a live sports broadcast, the publications in the M&E space usually do great work covering how recent shows were produced or created. Knowing if they used some innovative technology or technique is great for widening your knowledge base, but also helps you speak to clients, potential new business contacts or the journalists themselves. If you’re getting into the industry because you love film and TV, you should always be learning about how it all comes together.
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