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February 26, 2013

Industry Experience

Although my Tax Return says “Producer,” often when asked what I do for a living I instead say, “Corporate Anthropologist.” And although that sounds made-up, (it is – technically) it is perhaps a more accurate description of what we do at Moxie CCA and the true value of the skills we have honed over the years.

Wikipedia explains, “anthropology has been distinguished from other social sciences by its emphasis on in-depth examination of context, cross-cultural comparisons, and the importance it places on participant-observation, or long-term, experiential immersion in the area of research.” This is without question what we do for our clients. We learn their business inside and out. We immerse ourselves in the content; work to truly comprehend specific goals and audience; and use that knowledge to craft and deliver compelling stories. Every business is different, has a unique personality and culture. Our experiences have proven this time and time again.

Recently, Mike Schrader and I were having a conversation (I really should change the title of this Blog to “Meetings with Moxie Mike”) about the breadth of our team’s combined experience: feature film; broadcast television; national commercial spots, independent film and theatrical documentary with international TV and DVD distribution; corporate B2B, B2C, internal communications, training, sales presentations…the list goes on. We have been communicating on behalf of world-class businesses and brands since the 80’s.

Like the famed Tootsie-Pop Owl, we can’t even begin to count the number of on-camera interviews we have conducted over the years. It is a learned and applied science, vital to the success of effective content gathering and storytelling.

What does this mean for our clients and their projects? Experience = Smart. Tested. Proven. We don’t have to experiment – we’ve done it. We’ve seen it, we know the guy who invented it… We’ve survived the pitfalls, overcome the challenges and lived all the “fine-print” of creative, production and post. A valuable asset for every project is the team’s ability to seamlessly employ an effective “Plan B” that is indistinguishable from “Plan A” in terms of outcome.

A huge misconception in the creative world is that you can only be fresh if you are fresh. If that was true – you could only ever be fresh once. We are not produce – we are producers. Production takes practice. Ideas get better. The system becomes smoother. Fresh ideas and approaches must be created over and over and over again. This is where experience is essential and it is what seasoned professionals bring to every project.

At Moxie there are two kinds of experience that differentiate us. Not only do we have on the job experience dating back to the days of splicing, pagers and neon leg warmers, we have experience working together. We have experience being a team, having worked together for over decade and in some cases, more. This is truly rare.

It’s a well choreographed on and off-set ballet. It’s Kimman knowing my glance meant “roll camera” so we don’t unnerve an already tense on-camera participant with the call to ROLL; Kevin anticipating the technical requirements for every deliverable; Mike boiling down the details and owning the creative direction; It’s Susan’s ability to dissect the game plan and add an efficiency to the process; Using only a few descriptive words and having Todd take a design concept to the next level; Being secure in the knowledge that not only will Lisa bring burritos to that breakfast meeting but she always knows exactly where to find the answer to that archaic question about insurance, payroll or account log-ins; and that Dave will always find a way to squeeze more into his packed edit schedule, never leaving anything on his list at the end of the day.

There is tremendous efficiency and comfort in always knowing when and how your team will zig and zag. “Well-oiled-machine” doesn’t begin to cut it. It is synergy at its finest. It is an ecosystem of productivity, creativity and respect. It’s a team – no a family – of which I am very proud to be a part. “Corporate Anthropology” may not be a real science, but we sure have it down to one at Moxie.