This week Vivid Minds Vivid Futures interviews Jason Archer of Attitude Productions. Jason has been a content maker for over 20 years, producing several award-winning short films and documentaries, television and radio commercials, and increasingly, content designed for social media.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My life has always been around media. Dad was a journalist in radio, but I always wanted to be in television.
Professionally, I have worked at TV stations for over 20 years, starting in Alice Springs making content and broadcast television in the mid to late 90s. I have done that professionally ever since, working with almost all the major Australian TV stations, mostly in regional areas, as well as Canberra and Darwin.
I can’t remember not making creative content. I was one of those kids running around with a camera making little videos and bits of video and film in my background. I’ve always been a storyteller.
When I was in Darwin, I also made some personal projects, short films and such, and won some awards.
What brought you to Tamworth?
I grew up in Tamworth, returning after travelling around the world in 2006. I moved here with my partner and my young daughter – who has just turned seven – and we have been here ever since.
What does Attitude Productions do?
I am a content maker, mostly video, broadcast commercials and social media content. Creatively, I try to make interesting connections in a visual way.
I work with account managers from TV stations, creative agencies and directly with clients. Mostly we make TV, radio, any type of commercial that you need, and social media content for Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok.
When working directly with a small business client, my approach is to work with them to identify what they want to do and how it fits in with their branding. If they don’t have an established brand, I’ll work with them to develop what they need.
The needs of creative agencies are diverse. I work with them developing ideas and new approaches to help them achieve their clients’ objectives.
When hiring a content maker, how do you get maximum value?
When clients make commercials, it’s an opportunity to take an integrated approach. If you are doing a television commercial, it is only a little bit extra to have a script suitable for radio as well. You only need to shoot a few extra bits of film suitable for use on social media. They are very small add-ons in terms of cost, but the return is extremely effective for customer engagement.
When did you start your business?
Officially I kicked off in Tamworth in 2007. Attitude Productions existed prior to that while I was working elsewhere as a producer/director at a television network. I started the business to complete creative productions outside of work. Under that umbrella, I made a few feature-length documentaries, such as Last Ride of Tex Morton, and the Buddy Williams Story, which I made with my father, Graham Archer, for the Tamworth country music market. While in Darwin, I also made a documentary on UFOs, shooting at Wycliffe Well – one of the UFO capitals of the world – among other locations around the country, which was fun to do.
Where can we see your work?
If you watch free to air TV, you probably already have. Many of my commercials and longer corporate video work are on my YouTube channel. You can also connect to my work through LinkedIn and Facebook.
What were some of your challenges in starting a business?
When I was setting up in Tamworth in 2007, it took a little while to establish myself, even with extensive television industry experience. I was freelancing for other TV stations for the first couple of years. I had already worked in TV, so professionally it wasn’t a new industry, but it was a new facet. It was about making my own income and running a business. Once it was off and running, I’ve never looked back.
What do you like most about running your own business?
Flexibility is the best part, but also the diversity. If I worked for a social media firm or just broadcast television, it would just be about those mediums. The way my business operates, whatever is most appropriate for each client’s needs is what we create – there is always a creative answer. No matter what the budget, you can make something that will work and will be interesting, it just depends on how creative you are prepared to be. I love finding creative solutions to solve a problem.
What advice would you give a business just starting out?
Don’t think about your business, think about the end user of whatever you are producing. So many businesses look inwards rather than looking from the perspective of their client. It’s not about us, it’s about what our client wants and needs.
The world is becoming more niche; you don’t have to appeal to everyone. Think about marketing to specific businesses. People are so scared of focusing. Don’t be.
What is your secret for success?
It’s about connecting with people and helping them find the best possible approach to their branding content.
As a content maker of video and images, I go out of my way to make sure the process is not only enjoyable but also straightforward. It’s summed up in the phrase, ‘Thinking smart is the ability to make the complex simple’. It’s the KISS principle.
What inspires you?
Besides my family, creativity inspires me. People who can think outside the box and come up with innovative approaches to production. Steven Soderbergh or Robert Rodriguez not only film technically but really challenge themselves. The level of innovation and creativity with some people is amazing and inspiring.
Pop culture also inspires me – like Jack White when he was in the White Stripes. I saw a great documentary that showed that even when they became big, it was always drums, guitar and singer. The limitation gave them maximum creativity. You can’t always solve a problem with a money hose to wash away problems. Having limitations can often open up creativity and innovations. I love uber-creative people and that real DIY approach, where you go out there and do it yourself. I love to create content that fits the brand, is interesting and has cut through.
There’s a lot on the cards at the minute, but the future looks bright. Besides commercials for broadcast television, clients have really embraced the power of branded creative video content for social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and TikTok. We’re living in a time where every business is a story, and those stories connect to their clients through innovative story-telling digital platforms. I feel very confident that the future for me is to continue to help businesses and individuals navigate this path through commercials, branded video content and hopefully in the near future, content creation workshops.