The film production company that creates over video
Ricky Plows is a creative director at the film production company Tatata Studios, where he directs and creates videos with talent around the world. All through video meetings.
“Filmmaking is a fast paced industry and any tool or device that can simplify and streamline the process is worth its weight in gold.” says Ricky. “Talent is not unique to London and it would be negligent to disregard the world that we now have at our fingertips. This is something that we encounter a lot and embrace.”
It all started at the University of Gloucestershire, where Ricky and his friends found they shared the same creative vision and ambition for the industry. After university, they went their separate ways to gather all the experience before starting their own agency. Ricky worked across multiple digital and social agencies around the UK and is now the Creative director at Tatata studios. For three years, Ricky and his colleagues have embraced the perks of working flexibly so were better placed than most when the world shifted to remote collaboration earlier this year.
With the arrival of the pandemic and lockdowns taking place all over the globe, travel was no longer an option for the Tatata team. Instead they were encouraged to find the right tools for their projects. “We entered an unknown as an industry and we had to take appropriate steps to ensure a safe and compliant environment.” says Ricky. “With live shoots there was an obvious fear around safety and control. An obvious solution was finding alternatives to studio shoots and shooting people in their own homes. This required a lot of directing, briefing and short rehearsals over Whereby.”
"Each project that we are managing has its own Whereby room, uniquely labelled and named. Because the barriers of entry are removed on Whereby (sign ups, linking social accounts, downloading software) you can quickly enter a discussion with your film makers and solve the tasks."
Ricky has certainly noticed a shift in the creative production industry, where creators are finding new and innovative methods. “With the resources available, like Whereby, it is inevitable that production projects will be approached in new and innovative ways.” says Ricky. “We have seen many successful examples of this type of work made recently. Malcolm & Marie was a film shot over 6 days during lockdown, streaming platform Quibi remade the fantastic Princess Bride with a whole host of A listers self shooting remotely and of course David Tennant starred in the remotely shot series Staged.”
One of the main challenges Ricky sees for the future of the industry is the full adoption of remote work. “The production industry, in some respects, can be stuck in its ways. It has had many successful formulas and ways of working but to innovate you must be willing to take risks somewhere.” says Ricky. “We are starting to overcome this and some big players are working remotely but it isn’t quite a norm yet.”
The hands-on skills that are necessary for creative production such as lighting, sound and directing will be difficult to adjust to remote work, but Ricky sees the great potential in technology. “What will happen is a balance will be struck between the teams that can work remotely and those that cannot. The tech in things like home computers has moved forward so aggressively that you can conceivably edit a feature film from your home. We aren’t that far away.”
The Tatata team will continue to embrace the flexible way of working. “We will always have an aspect of remote working in our team, this especially applies to our extended network of talent.” says Ricky. “We have a flexible attitude to work and make ourselves available to chat and work with a global talent pool. There is no other way to do it but being available.”
“There is talent that we have worked with for over 10 years and we have never met them face to face!”
A tip from Ricky to all creatives out there
“Keep your communication channels open and available! Be ready to jump on a call and chat things through. Switch your video on and make it face to face. It’s a much nicer experience when you can see who you are talking to. Emails are good but having a conversation more often than not is more effective and personable.”