When considering industry awards, many production companies, post houses, editing facilities and music and sound companies are under the belief that if an agency enters their work, there is no reason for them to enter the work as well.
It may make some practical sense in theory – no need to duplicate if the work is already submitted, right?
The world of advertising awards was built around celebrating the idea, not the execution. But today the way in which ads are made is so advanced, and the ideas so reliant upon creating the impossible, it takes many individual skills and expertise to make each campaign a reality.
“When agencies enter LIA, they don’t necessarily enter work into the categories from which other companies from production to music and sound would most benefit, instead choosing product and service categories that aren’t judged at all for the craft or specific technique,” explains Barbara Levy, President of London International Awards. “What these companies might not even be aware of is that LIA has two completely separate Juries, one for Production, Post-Production, and Music Videos and a separate jury for Music and Sound. These juries are made up of the world’s best production and post-production executives, from top executive producers and directors to agency heads of TV, chief production officers and music and sound designers and composers.”
So, why should production and post-production companies bother to enter their own work into LIA?
Laura Gregory, Founder of Great Guns and past LIA juror explains, “The quality of [LIA’s] world-class juries who give their time and passion to this work is staggering. It would be smart to enter so those judges are aware of the work. A craft entry is exactly what it says on the tin – craft, judged by craft.”
LIA has no mandatory creative credit fields, so even if a piece of work wins big in any category, this doesn’t guarantee a production company proper recognition for their part in it. Time and time again the agencies do not credit any company or creative individual except for those within the agency.
“The entrant company is the only one that receives a statue, as well as any credit in press releases,” explains Barbara. “The TV/Cinema/Online Film Jury, which is where most of the agency work entered ends up, is looking for new ideas and creativity, not at technique.”
The Mill London accepting the 2015 Post-Production Company of the Year Award
Neil Davies is ECD of The Mill, who were named Post-Production Company of the Year at LIA 2015. “It’s important for all areas of the creative process to be recognised, from the sheer brilliance of an initial idea to the craft involved that helps bring the idea to life,” explains Neil. “Whether it be created by an agency, production company or post-production studio, it’s great to be able to celebrate everyone’s individual contributions as well as to appreciate the piece of work as a whole.”
As both a juror and a production company owner, Laura would love to see more production and post-production companies entering their own work – especially in LIA’s technique categories. “Frankly, a great idea will be entered into relevant award categories by the agency, but craft will often fall out of their budget unless they have a sure-fire winner. With budgets for award shows crushed globally, it’s often the production, music and post companies who miss out on vital recognition for the team who’ve fulfilled their role to perfection.”
Whilst finding the money to enter an awards show like LIA may seem daunting to craft companies who lack the big-budgets of network agencies, Laura has a possible solution: “I think more production, editing, post and music companies should pool their funds to enter more work, collaborating on the strongest categories.”
Laura Gregory in the judging room at LIA 2015
The subsequent recognition from this collaboration could only benefit all involved. “Being acknowledged in this way really is the highest accolade we can receive,” says Darren O’Kelly, MD at The Mill. “Like the directors and production companies we partner with, we care passionately about what we do and our role in creating truly memorable work.”
“LIA recognises creativity in all forms, celebrating skill and artistry across all disciplines,” adds Neil. “To be acknowledged by peers is an award in itself, but it’s about the teams who work so hard on projects being recognised for their achievements. For us at The Mill, an award is testament to the team's restless pursuit of brilliance, and keeps us pushing to make every job better than the last.”
Barbara emphasises companies’ risk of missing out on the credit they deserve for their part in campaigns. “From singing animals, to underwater cinematography, to outdoor activation - so much work goes into making these great ideas a reality, we have a duty to honour the craft."
Concludes Laura, “A carefully entered piece of work will find gold if its craft is exceptional and, while I can’t give you any tips, you all know when the work is exceptional.”
The LIA 2016 Entry System is still open for new entrants and for additional entries from those who have already entered. Judging will take place in Las Vegas from 6th October to 14th October. The shortlists will be announced as each judging session concludes, with Winners being announced 2nd November. For more information on submissions and eligibility, please visit the LIA website.