Building a “reliable and transparent network of production service companies worldwide”: Interview with Michael Moffett, founder of Production Service Network
Production Paradise had the chance to talk to Michael Moffett, an American producer based in Madrid, Spain who – during more than two decades – provided full production service for everything from commercial film and photo campaigns for global brands to TV series and documentaries airing on all major US and UK broadcasters.
By listening and collaborating with traveling producers from around the world, he identified an industry need for a reliable and transparent network of production service companies worldwide – one he could refer his own producer clients to with complete confidence and no added cost. From this thought was born Production Service Network.
Production Paradise: Production Service Network is now on five continents in 50 countries. How did it all start?
Michael Moffett: I launched Production Service Network (PSN) five years ago to help connect producers filming overseas with vetted production service they could count on to deliver comprehensive below-the-line support.
We have expanded from our initial dozen countries in Europe to keep up with the demand of producers we work with. Our boots-on-the-ground Partners in 50 territories are experienced providing top-tier shoot support in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Production Paradise: Who are the Partners and how are they chosen?
Michael Moffett: PSN Partners are independent production service companies at the top of their game – much more than a fixer yet capable of scaling their services to fit a wide range of productions while ensuring compliance with local labor laws and industry practices. We are not cowboys. That’s a differentiating factor valued by well-informed brands and studios.
We choose just one Partner per territory. We do all the homework any good producer with time would do, and more. We spend months reviewing the production service company’s work, as well as their competitors, and talking to producers and directors who have relied on their support. And of course, we talk to the production service company we think would be a good fit. We make sure it shares our vision of a one-stop shop being more useful to globetrotting producers than any production service company on its own.
Production Paradise: Why do producers turn to PSN?
Michael Moffett: PSN is also a helpful resource. We put the collective local knowledge of our Partners at producers’ fingertips for no added cost. Producers can survey a world of possibilities through PSN to determine the most suitable place to film their projects, from TV commercials and Digital Branded Content to Still Photography and Scripted Narrative.
Production Paradise: Can you give us some examples from this year 2018?
Michael Moffett: Commercial campaigns already released include films for Bacardi shot in the Dominican Republic, Toyota in Mexico, Timberland in Canada, Cass in South Korea, Gatorade in Australia and LG in Poland. There is more work to be released soon for campaigns shot in Romania, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. PSN Partner shoot support in Singapore, China, Turkey, France, and Spain paved the way for a Marriott campaign just as a Disney campaign relied on our local shoot support in Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, and Malawi.
In the scripted genre, PSN recently worked with South Korean producers of the dramatic TV series, Memories of the Alhambra, to find a working train station in Europe that would permit elaborate fight scenes. PSN Hungary provided local service for the series that has been acquired by Netflix for global distribution. Meantime, Japanese producers at Cine Bazaar filmed scenes of an upcoming feature film with PSN Mexico while Conspiraçao Filmes captured the essence of Paris for the Brazilian feature, Kardec, with BTL support from PSN France.
Production Paradise: How do you manage the cultural differences inherent to each country – inside the company, but also in your communication with clients?
Michael Moffett: You could ask the same about our clients since they come from around the world to shoot overseas with our Partners! PSN Partners all work in English and adhere to professional criteria that are expected amongst leading production houses, agencies, brands and studios. We work with those expectations daily, so we’re mindful to point out the local considerations that could impact a particular production.
Production Paradise: Production is constantly evolving with every change in the industry. How do you adapt and stay on the front of the stage?
Michael Moffett: We share knowledge amongst Partners regularly in a confidential forum and also gather at major industry events. We’re an exclusive community within the industry that enjoys a worldwide knowledge exchange.
Production Paradise: Since its inception, Production Service Network has grown steadily around the world. What is the next step?
Michael Moffett: Steady growth across genres rather than borders. There aren’t too many more locations we need to be. But projects increasingly require services for motion, stills, social and more all at once. This project in Spain for the launch of the Netflix series Elite is a recent example. We feel fortunate that producers at Netflix Marketing have trusted our Partners to service their multi-faceted shoots in a dozen countries from Latin America to Europe to East Asia.
Production Paradise: As a member of Production Paradise, what do you think are the biggest advantages and how does it help you in your professional activity?
Michael Moffett: The presentation is very visual. That is beyond important in our industry. The other advantage we perceive is connectivity. Producers find us through Production Paradise. It is the crucial first step that gives us the opportunity to meet new industry colleagues. And you’ll forgive me for saying that once they see what PSN can do for them, they may not care to look back.
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