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Dmitriy Glazyrin, CEO at Mondlicht Studios - Production – The Future Path Forward

09 December 2020

DMITRIY GLAZYRIN

Art Director / CGI artist / Creative Retoucher
CEO at Mondlicht Studios

Dmitriy has been working in the advertising industry for more than 12 years.
 
He has worked with creative agencies such as Platinum FMD (Brasil), Lightfarm (New Zealand), Cream (Australia), RecomFarmHouse (UK), Western and Jack (Russia) to name a few.
 
During his time at these agencies, Dmitriy has worked on projects for household brand names including Coca-Cola, Wacom, Netflix, Toyota, Ford, Lexus, Philips, Nestle, Lego, Adidas and many others.
 
 
 
 
 
PRODUCTION – THE FUTURE PATH FORWARD FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF DMITRIY GLAZYRIN
 
This year brought us a lot of changes that influenced both big and small players in the marketplace. Experience shows that smaller studios and production companies faced changes earlier and had to react faster to stay afloat. One of the key factors for this is pricing policy. Many clients have to look for new opportunities, to meet their new needs and deal with heightened economic pressure. The more global the crisis, the more dynamic the relationship between clients and production companies. Some big clients who were working with an agency for years will now look for a cheaper and faster agency. Others are trying to handle production directly. These processes provoke inevitable changes.
 
You may think that it’s much easier for smaller studios to navigate the crisis. Yes, smaller studios need less money to maintain their business. However, they don’t have that great safety margin that bigger studios have. Bigger production studios can always reduce costs and survive - unfortunately sometimes also at the expense of their employees. For smaller companies, it’s a more significant challenge. At the same time, any crisis opens new doors and creates new opportunities. For smaller companies, it’s easier to grab these opportunities because they are able to react faster.
 
COVID-19 influenced not only one specific sphere but the market in general and every person on the planet. Any crisis, global or private, represents the ending of habitual processes and the beginning of new ones. During the crisis, one of the most crucial things is the ability to redesign and adjust the processes in your company to the new rules of the market. I’ve noticed several tendencies, which will affect the way we work and communicate.
 
Industries
 
Production studios are working not only in advertising but in movie and gaming industries. The most exciting fact is that every one of them uses very similar instruments, so they can easily switch between the sectors.
 
Because of COVID-19, a lot of processes in the movie industry were frozen, and a lot of people were let go. Production studios had to think about how they may deal with the crisis, and many of them chose to switch industries. Many of them turned to the gaming industry for now. However, some chose advertising over games.

Pipeline
 
Software and its costs are essential for production studios. With the crisis, many of them started to look for new opportunities to reduce costs. A great example here is Blender, which finally got the chance to fit into the pipeline because it’s free. One may notice more and more projects on Behance created with this software.
 
Any changes in the pipeline can be quite a painful process because they affect the speed of the work and may ruin established practices. COVID-19 became a trigger for many productions to review their pipeline and transform processes. Especially in Germany it has pushed the speed of taking on digital improvements of processes. Again, for smaller companies, it was much easier to integrate new tools.
 
New roles
 
To make the changes smoother, a lot of teams changed the way they work and tried new roles to help their company. When the crisis began, our lead artists also took on responsibilities of the sales department to find new clients. This step allowed us to get several massive projects, and when others were experiencing empty schedules, we were, very luckily, buried under projects.
 
The most interesting change in terms of customer acquisition that could be made is connected with producers. Often, a very skilled producer can share the work of an art director. It’s interesting because she or he doesn’t usually have hard skills to create the project, but has a strong vision and experience to direct artists
 
The smaller the company, the more flexible team members should be to discover and use their talents. This identification process and the resulting shift of duties will help to improve productivity and success
 
Remote work
 
The trend towards remote work is a distinctive feature of COVID-19. The changes I was talking about are more or less noticeable in every crisis, but remote work is something new to discover. Before the pandemic a lot of companies were strongly against any remote work, now they had to experience it. And it turned out that the world hasn’t stopped.
 
It wasn’t easy for every studio to switch their work to a remote basis, some companies had to redesign their pipeline and management system. For us, it was an almost invisible process. We have been an international company with specialists all over the world talking five different languages. The best thing for us was that every member of the team had a vast experience in freelance and remote work.
 
If you look at the situation from the position of a company, you’ll realize how many changes it’s going to provoke. First of all, companies understood that it’s not necessary to look for a workforce in the city where the office is located. This allows people and small studios from different regions to enter a bigger market. Secondly, it could affect the prices, because regional companies are ready to offer a lower price. And finally, it will influence megalopolises. For decades people were leaving regions looking for a chance for a better life in New York, London, Moscow, Berlin and other big cities. Now you don’t need to go anywhere to look for a big project or a new job. What’s more, high-skilled specialists who evaluated all the benefits of remote work are not ready to come back to the offices. This will inevitably lead to the reconsideration of the role of the offices.
 
International clients
 
Before COVID-19 you had to be located in a specific city or, at least, travel to meet new people and build new connections. Now a studio from a tiny European town can easily connect with a big New-York agency and work together on a project.
 
It’s fascinating to see how the global quarantine made us more international. This process creates a lot of opportunities for small productions that were locked in their regions. However, to succeed these companies will need to invest enough efforts to build international connections and understand business processes in different countries. There are cultural and language borders to overcome, but with an open mind this will be way more fun than hard work.
 
New formats
 
Shortly after the quarantine brands and agencies face a lack of content. The restrictions influenced the amount of options, and a lot of clients switched to CGI stills and animation. Production studios with skilled CGI departments had a lot to offer and, as a result, got a chance to become a part of big projects that otherwise would have stuck to old habits instead of exploring new possibilities.
 
It’s hard to say for how long this trend is going to continue, but with the beginning of the second wave, we are sure that the amount of CG-content will grow in the near future.
 
Collaborations
The most fulfilling trend born during the quarantine is connected with the amount of free time. Every studio and every artist had a number of personal projects they wanted to develop. However, tight deadlines and a lot of routine rarely leave enough time for that.
 
During the first wave, a lot of beautiful non-commercial projects were born. Right now, we are finishing a big collaboration, which combined 12 artists all around the globe. The project will be released in December, so I can’t tell you much about it. Stay tuned!