Posted by Jason Lau on Jan. 27, 2015
From my last article, “Do you need a Rep?” there was a particular topic that could help an artist go far with editors and buyers in the industry. Can a photographer rely on their creativity/work alone?
I’ve been able to work with some A-list photographers in my career and to be honest, one can only rely on their creativity for so long. Sure there are artists who have made a name for themselves with only their work and with the evolving industry, artists, especially photographers, have a good run for their money. Today’s photographer does not necessarily need to be trained at the best art school. However, the best photographer is the person who’s been able to evolve with the fast changing industry. Creativity will get your foot in the door but it’s your ability to network, collaborate, listen to your client and be mindful of the business side that keeps that door open – allowing your career to flourish.
As a buyer/producer, you hope the production and bidding process will be as carefree and stress-free as possible. It should flow smoothly so that time isn’t wasted and the creative doesn’t suffer. The best part of my job is when I get to work with some the most talented people in the industry and they’re a pleasure to work with because of their work ethic and business sense. This creates a fun, collaborative and exciting production that’s successful for all involved.
There have been a handful of artists that I’ve worked with directly who have been exceptional because of how they deal with the business aspect of the job. It’s essential when you’re bidding on a job or when you’re awarded, to make the client feel as if they are the most important client. This seems like it would be basic knowledge but you would be surprised how many times that vital piece goes missing. There have been times where it feels as if the artist was disengaged. This always sends up red flags with me and it certainly gets noticed by the client – which usually sets a poor tone from then on out. Simple things like answering emails and/or calls in a reasonable amount of time and being on top in each aspect of the creative/production is just as important as the style and creativity an artist brings to the production. A true collaborator takes the time to make sure his client is informed and being heard while making their ideas come to life. These are key in making your client feel more at ease and truly why you’d be the best person for that job.
In this day and age, talent in your art will only get you so far. With endless artists at buyers/editors fingertips, we need someone who will be the best person for the job overall. Not just creatively, but a person who can engage with their client, bringing the creative across the finish line with both a piece of art they can be proud of and a client who’s had a great experience.
The 2016 award season awarded Jason's first Cannes Grand Prix for Good including 4 additional Lions for the films he produced for UNICEF while at 180. Amongst other notable awards included the Brand Film Festival, D&AD, The One Show, Radio Mercury Awards and Clios.
Over his career, he created and curated the Team One Art Gallery, which exhibited professional and emerging artists. While at Team One he also received the agency’s annual “Slash Award.” An award given by leadership to employees who exuded and went beyond the agency’s CORE values. Jason also has experience managing associated art producers and out of scope projects as needed.