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From Super Bowl ads to Covid edits: Interview with charlieuniformtango

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With a history of more than 35 years, charlieuniformtango has a solid trajectory full of exceptional work. The boatload of awards charlieuniformtango have won are the best proof. Today we are honored to talk to Lola Lott, the co-founder and principal/CEO of charlieuniformtango. Let’s see what she will surprise us with.

Lola Lott, the co-founder and CEO of charlieuniformtango

Production Paradise: At the very beginning, what was the inspiration to start this company?

Charlieuniformtango: In 1989 Jack Waldrip, a very talented video editor, and I developed a post production process that became the model for modern editorial facilities by integrating all facets of the process. Combining AVID (one of the first non-linear computer-based editing systems), online editing, graphic design, and audio under one roof we created an optimal post production environment. The dream was to bring together the best talent for each discipline and thus create a team of specialists–all working in tandem for the best possible results. The system proved phenomenally successful, and by 1995, we knew it was time to open our own place. We named it charlieuniformtango…CUT, the military radio call letters for charlieuniformtango (editing is called cutting, hence CUT).

Production Paradise: What’s the key to running this successful business?

Charlieuniformtango: I think other companies would say it’s their people that are the answer but it really is for us. Our employees are our main recruiters of new talent and no one wants to let down their friends in the business. That has proven to be hugely successful for us. The average employee tenure is over 15 years- that is saying a lot with only 40 employees.

Alfa Romeo – ”Beauty in Motion”

Production Paradise: What was the biggest challenge charlieuniformtango ever encountered?

Charlieuniformtango: Our industry – making commercials and commercial films – is strongly influenced by the state of the economy. During the recession of 2009, many companies slashed their ad spending, and that affected us. But, by offering single-source production, we were able to make the most of our clients’ budgets, and that approach continues to pay dividends for them, and for us, today.

Production Paradise: We know that you are innovation oriented. Are you currently working on any innovation?

Charlieuniformtango: Our innovation is our creativity. Recently we were able to work remotely at the flip of a switch. We invested in virtual editing and collaboration software very early. Technology is a tool that needs to be there, but not in the way of creativity. Our clients will respond to tech, but their response depends upon the creative ways we use it.

Production Paradise: What has been the most memorable campaign that you did in the last five years and what made it special?

Charlieuniformtango: In the last eight years we’ve been privileged to work with FCA on so many Super Bowl ads. Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Dodge and RAM are some that come to mind. Some were crazy turn arounds in very short time frames and others were just a blast creatively.

If we have to stick to the last five years, we’ve had fun with AA doing the 2016 safety video that everyone in the world (at least if you flew AA in the last five years) has seen.  And almost everyone who has ever seen it likes it!  We’re also lucky to have worked on the newest safety video that hasn’t been released yet, too.

Wonder Bread – ”Race Car Driver”

Production Paradise: How has the current pandemic affected the way you work? What changes did you have to make to adapt to this situation?

Charlieuniformtango: As for us, we’ve all been working from home and somehow… we’ve gotten a lot done.  We did A LOT of Covid edits, as well as, quite a few graphic spots in the early weeks of shelter in place. We were shooting right up to shelter in place which had us shooting with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer before we actually knew what all would happen. We’ve been growing and changing the last couple years to include more capabilities, but who knew we’d be so busy during this time and need to utilize all we had learned – and then some – so quickly.

We’re all now used to the new way of working. It’s not as fun as it was, but it works. We have been going into the studio for edits as of late. We have TONS of sanitizer and masks and have a new way of getting lunches and snacks. It is soooo good to get back in the same space with people, even if it’s six feet apart with a mask.

Pre and post production are all about communication. The pandemic forced all of us to communicate so much more through all means possible. Text, basecamp, phone, email and smoke signal if necessary. It was harder and took longer to get things got done, but, it also has made us closer in a way…. Like millennials, on our tech all the time.  Lol..

SEC – Southeastern Conference

Production Paradise: You have a big anniversary coming up, can you tell us more about it?

Charlieuniformtango: For a quarter of a century, charlieuniformtango’s award-winning work has generated results for regional, national, and international clients. This year’s 25th-anniversary celebration marks the beginning of tango’s next generation.

It was almost exactly a year ago this month that Jack Waldrip and I started planning what the future of our company should look like. Talent has always kept us a step ahead, and we knew it would take talent to lead the way into our company’s next generation. So, late last year, editors Deedle LaCour and James Rayburn, and Flame Artist Joey Waldrip – who have all been with the company from 18-20 years – became partners.

Deedle, James, and Joey will continue with their work responsibilities. I will remain principal/CEO and Jack Waldrip will continue as senior editor/co-owner. During a three-year transitional phase, I will retain majority ownership of charlieuniformtango – which will continue as a woman-owned company – and its current team of executive producers, producers and artists will remain in place.

Alfa Romeo – “Dear Predictable”

Production Paradise: What’s next in store for 2021 for charlieuniformtango?

Charlieuniformtango: 2021 will continue to be a challenge for everyone. We don’t really know what’s in store for us, but we do know we will get through it together. Jack, Joey, James, Deedle and I are committed to carrying on the legacy of integrity, excellence, and industry leadership charlieuniformtango has always stood for.

We would like to thank Ms. Lola Lott, the co-founder and principal/CEO of Charlieuniformtango, for taking the time to speak with us. If you want to see more about them and their works, check out their member page on Production Paradise and their website.

If you want to present and promote your latest work to the industry in the next edition of Production Paradise’s Spotlight or Showcase magazine, please do not hesitate to contact us now!

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