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Interview with Christian Bengsch from 7 Seas Production

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Since 2006, 7 Seas Productions have been reaping the benefits of a collaboration with Production Paradise. With an appearance in 3 of our city directories – Buenos Aires, Munich and Antibes, and an array of magazine features collected over the last 6 years, 7 Seas have found “a guaranteed way to make themselves known.”

We had a chat with owner Chris to find out just how this partnership has helped him along the path to success and to learn all about his experience in the world of photo production and location services.

When did you start with your business, how long have you been in the production industry?

I started 14 years ago in Cuba under the name of “Take me to Cuba”. That was the cradle of 7 Seas, because I was only afterwards that we opened our little offices in Argentina and France and just recently Colombia.

How did you start doing what you do, what inspired you?

I knew and know Havana very well and invented what eventually was called Production Services myself. I was a Spanish and Sport Major in University, studied and worked in Spain, but my heart always beat for Latin America. I had already travelled Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador in the 80s. Architecture always interested me, also outdoor activities. Add to that a good eye and true interest for the country and its people. Is it helpful for a photo shoot to be an erudite in the country’s history? Most unlikely, but it doesn’t hurt either and some people in the business look beyond the day to day routine and show interest in where they are. Take TIME magazine a couple of weeks ago: The cover says The Colombian Comeback, the article itself reads: Colombia Rising. At first sight you think there’s nothing to do, but on closer look you discover that there is a country that has been underrated for the last 30 years and that now is coming on strong. And we are at home in that country.

What part of your work do you enjoy the most?

There a two parts, the moment the client contacts you and shows interest in your production and the moment at the end of the job when she/he says that it was a great production. Everything in between is actually also very gratifying and joyful. It is like the justification as to why we are here and not on a 9-5 job in a grey office tower.

What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in your professional career, or who were you most excited to work with?

That was a Mercedes Benz job in Cuba, a secret sports car, with two photographic and one video team, everybody was ready but the Airline didn’t put the car on the plane. Everybody was waiting, time was money, and then the airline even damaged the car by putting it on the wrong size pallet. Eventually the client sued the airline and hired a Bulgarian charter to bring that single model to Cuba. Meanwhile, Mercedes had to stop a whole assembly line in Bremen, Germany, because we needed a new fender. The production later on was so smooth and pleasant, after a couple of days we were known on the whole Island, wherever we went the authorities didn’t ask for the permits but they said, “Ahhh, yes, you are the Mercedes team”.

What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?

Having survived 2008 – 2009.

What resources do you use to promote your work?

I use internet platforms such as Production Paradise and GoSee, we do direct mailings but not on a monthly basis. In my “white collar years” I worked for DELL, so I have no problems in picking up the telephone and calling and speaking directly to a prospect or enhancing our database. A good way to become known is also by direct reference, a satisfied client tells another, the mouth-to-mouth propaganda.

What have you found most useful about being a Production Paradise member?

It’s a guaranteed way to make you known. You have several possibilities to show what you can do; you use the Showcase for your work and the Spotlight for your location. You can also observe your colleagues and the whole industry, you can try to detect tendencies, new developments, priorities.

Have you made any interesting connections through Production Paradise?

Yes, sometimes people call me up and say that they have seen us in Production Paradise. Often they are members themselves, so there is a certain confidence, they know that you are no newcomer or big mouth, in the end it is all about trust, the client has to trust you because you handle two very important things: his production and his money.

Any interesting anecdotes that happened to you recently?

Yes, but as the Spanish saying goes: in a shut mouth there enter no flies.

What do you think is the future of this industry?

Hard to predict. Except for the photography itself, the whole production industry is so young, merely 25 years old. In the beginning everything was made by film or theatre personnel. Styling, H&M, etc. are relative recent professions. Thanks to Photoshop, more competition and bigger budgets a whole new industry was created. When you look at old ads, you see cars or models in studios or just cropped images, or you see some fine illustration. In fact the illustrations have vanished and been replaced by real or close to real photography.

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