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You’ve probably heard of Production Paradise, the online directory connecting visual media professionals worldwide. We got the chance to interview Andreas Von Estorff, CEO and his amazing team.

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Production Paradise was funded in 2002, right at the beginning of the digital revolution. At that time, social networks as we know them today were not even existing, yet you’ve come out with the idea of a global network of visual media professionals. Could you tell us a bit about your beginnings? How the idea was born?

We knew the industry very well and saw how art buyers were using a couple of very popular printed resources at that time, like LeBook, Red Box or Select Magazine. All those printed editions were very beautiful but extremely difficult to produce, send out and update. I had an online background and worked on Internet projects at a very early stage.
I created a digital agency that I sold to the BBDO network in 2000. So it was only logical for us to transfer this business from print to digital and that’s how we started. I would say that we disrupted the classic way of finding talent and services in our industry by offering a lot more transparence and real time information to art buyers. We have been able to also make it more affordable to showcase creative work from creatives and service companies to the perfect audience, which is why today we are the leading international resource for the commercial photography and film industry.

Since then, how has the competitive scenario changed for visual media professionals?

It has become easier for visual media professionals to access the gatekeepers of their potential clients, whereas in the past it was only the privileged few providers that reached the decision makers. This means quality and consistent visibility has become key to get jobs. You have to create a digital brand and show recent work and projects regularly to be present in the mind of the buyers when a new opportunity comes up.

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One could say that today professionals can promote themselves independently, via social networks and nice looking websites. If this is clearly true, we must also mention that personally taking care of a social media presence can indeed represent a challenge for someone that doesn’t have the necessary skills, or simply doesn’t have enough time. What does the “something more” that you can add to a promotional strategy consist of? How is your expertise in the industry used as an advantage?

Visibility is key and anything counts if it’s well done. You have to do a good mix that fits to your or your team’s budget and skills. Social media is one more touchpoint for the buyer to see and recognize your work, but it’s not easy to get on the buyer’s screen if you don’t have the knowledge and budget to do that properly. Sometimes it can work via word-of-mouth, but who knows who sees your work. It is definitely a way to create more opportunities. The major differences between showing your work on resources like Production Paradise or in your own Social Media channels are the context in which art buyers see your work and the simplicity of managing it. It’s not the same when an artist or company talks about their own work and when a credible source endorses them. Also, social media management can be very time consuming if you have to build and maintain everything yourself.

Which kind of visual media professionals can benefit from your services? Are your promotional services limited to photographers and filmmakers?
Our directory is open to professional artists and companies who are involved in any aspect of a photo or film project, from the location scout to the producer to the retouching company but also featuring make-up artists, fashion stylists, set designers, catering companies, illustrators and many more creative professionals.

One of the usual struggles for a photo or film production is in finding a suitable location for the shoot. You’ve recently launched Location Finder, a tool exactly aimed at making this process faster and easier than ever before. Could you tell us more about how this tool works and how professionals can take advantage of it? Have you already got some good feedback from your users?
What’s the first thing you need before you start your photo or film shoot? A suitable location! For the past 10 years we’ve been featuring leading production locations in our Spotlight Magazines so we could directly show off some incredible shoot spots to our audience of subscribers worldwide. Since we had so many amazing locations already in our database, we decided to create a searchable location tool, to make it quick and easy to find indoor and outdoor locations by keywords or by regions/cities. Our library has now almost 10,000 locations and receives an average of 1,700 monthly searches. The feedback has been very positive so far, art buyers love the new tool and some of our newest locations have already received enquiries for global shoots.

Over the past 15 years you must have collected many interesting stories from the industry. Could you tell us a success story that really made you proud of your work?

We’ve collected a lot of testimonials from both our subscribers and our members over the year, here are a just a few that really makes proud.

From our subscribers
Cara-Anne Specker, Art Buyer, Agency Producer, Havas Worldwide, Zurich
Production Paradise is one of our favorite creative research tools. We are able to locate foreign production facilities and international, creative talents, whom we can rely on. Knowing that these are trusted and listed by Production Paradise provides an excellent reference for us and our clients.

Andrea Guimet, Saatchi & Saatchi, Dubai
Thanks for making such a great tool for us! Recently your website was very helpful when we were looking for a lifestyle photographer for Head & Shoulders. On Production Paradise we found and worked with a German photographer on a great shoot in Dubai. I use your site on a weekly basis when looking for new talent for a specific type of photography. I also use it as general inspiration, to see what is out there and to keep up to date.

From our members:
Darren Capp, Photographer, Sydney
I must say that over the course of the last four years or so, I’ve had the pleasure of placing my work on the Production Paradise website through various Showcases & Spotlights. I’ve found the reach of Production Paradise through their vast data base of active art directors, key agency personal and photo agents around the globe as exactly what my business needs to grow in a tough market. I’ve picked up clients in places such as China, India & the USA and I have also solidified my standing within the local market in Australia. The personalised service I’ve received through Production Paradise’s team such as reminders to update work and some very appealing offers is just first-class. I’d challenge anyone to find a better website/blog to place their work on for maximum exposure within our industry.

Gina Hole, THEY, Production company, Vancouver
I am happy to say that the very next day after THEY Produce signed up with Production Paradise, and we were launched on their site, I immediately received a call about helping produce a location shoot in Tofino, BC, for let’s just say a ‘very large fashion shoot’, for a ‘very large magazine’ publisher in New York City. When I asked the photo editor how she found my production company, she replied quite bluntly, “Oh, I only source through Production Paradise”. Nice work, Production Paradise!

In conclusion, why should a visual media professional should choose you? What’s your big competitive advantage?
In this industry, visibility and credibility is key. Production Paradise allows some of the leading creative people out there to directly show off their best work to key creative buyers in areas they wouldn’t be able to reach on their own.
There is only a handful of online resources that agencies use to look for their creative talents/services, Production Paradise is definitely one of those, so being listed and promoted with us as well as the others, gives you the certainty that you won’t miss out on being found and seen by any of your potential clients out there.
If you’re visible, you’re credible!

We’d like to thank Andreas Von Estorff, CEO and Catherine Delaloye, Sales and Marketing manager for this interesting conversation. For any further information, we invite you to check their website and get in touch with their team.

Check out Baliprod on Paradise Production

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