A Q & A with Sherri Potter, President, Worldwide Post Production at Technicolor
This is a time of great change in the industry, perhaps one of the biggest shifts we’ve ever witnessed. What’s driving this change is the unprecedented demand for content, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. The demand is so great, the shift so massive, that it’s virtually changed the definition of what a studio is. This new Golden Era of content finds new entrants – Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Amazon Studios – setting the bar, while traditional studios are announcing their own content distribution platforms. As the demand for more content across all of these platforms continues to explode, it’s blurring the line between feature and episodic content, causing major disruptions in consumption habits, and feeding consumer expectations for the highest quality content – where, when, and how they want it.
Sherri Potter, President, Worldwide Post Production at Technicolor, discusses the evolution of an industry – and how a Hollywood legacy is changing along with it to meet the demands of a new content reality.
Q - As the industry goes through this massive change, what affect is it having on the creation of content – and the content itself?
A - Content is, necessarily, becoming increasingly complex and dynamic. This puts new demands on those providing picture, sound, visual effects, and other services – but it also creates exciting new opportunities for us.
These changes are also blurring the line between feature and episodic content, between long and short form content – to the point where quality expectations and post-production values are the same for all content creators, regardless of distribution platform.
But despite the added complexity and quality expectations, changing industry dynamics are nonetheless fueling shorter timelines and tighter budgets. And despite the increased expectation that technology will make everything faster and more efficient, the number of deliverables required can be up to six times higher than in the past.
Q - What does all of this mean for Technicolor; how are you positioned to move forward with your clients in the midst of this major shift?
A - As home to the world's premiere portfolio of Production Front-End, Visual Effects, and Picture and Sound Post-Production services, Technicolor is ideally and uniquely positioned to deliver on our clients’ needs as they evolve. We are continually optimizing our picture, sound, and visual effects services with our award-winning teams of artists and technologists, as they work with the creative community across film, television, advertising, animation and games to power premium content and bring the universal art of storytelling to audiences everywhere.
From locations that span the globe, we provide service offerings that are tailored to the specific creative and storytelling needs of each project.
Q – Can you give a breakdown of some of the recent highlights across your service offerings?
A - In 2018, Technicolor collaborated on major studio titles and some of the highest-profile, Academy Award-nominated theatrical projects, including Roma, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Mary Poppins Returns, and Ready Player One. This year, the list continues with more high-profile projects such as Captain Marvel, Glass, and Us.
On the episodic side, we continue to see increasing momentum and a growing pipeline of content, with titles such as American Gods, Black Mirror, Campaign, Castle Rock, Frontier, Grace and Frankie, Lore, Seven Seconds, Stranger Things, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, The Romanoffs, This Is Us, True Detective, and Vanity Fair.
Q - You said that the lines are blurring between feature and episodic content, and that quality expectations are the same regardless of the distribution platform. How do you ensure the highest quality content for your clients across these different mediums?
A - The one thing that remains constant through any change is our commitment to storytelling, to filmmakers, to content creators – no matter how fantastic or forward-looking their vision, and no matter where they choose to express that vision. We have the best talent and technical know-how in the business, enabling us to constantly define new and better ways of doing things through a combination of innovative leadership, technology, and creativity.
Where once there may have been silos, we have brought down the walls and opened the lines of communication to provide a more seamless experience for our clients. And, regardless of where our clients need us, the experience of working with Technicolor remains consistent across the globe because of our highly-developed infrastructure and worldwide presence.
Against this backdrop – an established infrastructure that enables us to be responsive in ways other companies cannot – we are best-positioned to align our service offering for the Golden Era of content.
Q - So how is Technicolor Post aligning its business to meet today’s new content reality?
A - Just as we have many times before, Technicolor is evolving how we structure our business to reflect the changing needs of our industry. We are attracting a new talent demographic to provide our clients with the best work – and we are providing that talent with the tools and spaces they need to better meet the needs of our clients.
For example, recognizing that the time is right to double down on VFX, we’ve added Technicolor Visual Effects to our existing family of brands. For years we’ve had visual effects capabilities within Technicolor Post that many of our clients have been able to leverage. By introducing our own standalone brand into the market, we’re now actively promoting one of the industry’s best kept secrets – and positioning ourselves to service VFX projects at a level of complexity and volume not targeted by our other powerhouse brands.
In seeking to complement our broader VFX offering and create greater awareness of our end-to-end post-production capabilities, last year we appointed Rachel Matchett to head Technicolor Visual Effects. She is tasked with bringing together Technicolor Visual Effects from three locations – Los Angeles, Toronto, and London – to create a unified global organization offering clients consistent, high-quality experiences and world class output.
Q – You mentioned attracting a new talent demographic to provide clients with your best work. Can you elaborate on what that means?
A - Technicolor has placed a renewed focus on diversity as part of our approach to hiring top quality talent. As the increased demand for content puts additional stress on the limited supply of talented artists and technologists who play a key role in the creative process, we see it as an opportunity to expand the boundaries of creativity through diversity – and through the cross pollination of artistry across our services and different content types – advertising, episodic, and film.
As such, Technicolor is not only hiring a new generation of talent, we’re focusing on diversity – and not just as altruism, but as the means to meet our bottom-line mission. The reality is that we can only achieve something new and different for audiences eager to escape and suspend belief by activating the greater breadth and depth of creativity found across demographics.
Q – What can these artists, as well as your clients and partners, expect in terms of the environment you provide at Technicolor and their ability to collaborate with each other?
A - With the lines blurring between feature and episodic content, the demands for innovative workflows, and the tightening of global delivery deadlines – we’re seeing the dynamics of post-production and the ways we collaborate with content creators changing dramatically. This is all being reflected in the type of spaces and environments we create for our talent and clients. As such, we not only renewed our lease agreement with Hudson Pacific for our 6040 W. Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood studio location, but we’re taking it as an opportunity to increase capacity by adding multi-purpose suites as well as several open spaces for collaboration between talent, clients, and partners.
With a redesigned space to better reflect our clients’ needs, our goal is to be a place where ideas and relationships flourish – a beacon of artistry where our talent will inspire and be inspired as together, we redefine the expectations of the creative community.