Getting the full picture with Jasmine Jones
Jasmine Jones is a young art producer with a degree in graphic design from the University of the Arts in London. At Breed we first knew her from her time working for BBH and Webber Represents, but more recently she’s been working on the production and art-buying side for Saatchi & Saatchi and their clients via Prodigious UK. We decided to chat to her to get her perspective on the differences between the two sides.
How did you find your way into the world of production?
I was running my own small graphic design business, when I interviewed for an assistant producer role at BBH. At this point I had no clue what a producer did and what their role included. At my interview, Charlie Dodd (now production head at Lucky Generals) explained producers as the glue that brought everyone together.
It was this moment that made me realise that I had been producing all along, and that it was something I would love to pursue as a career path.
Was your intention always to become a producer?
I had always been producing, but hadn’t realised. Throughout my degree at CSM I had always been organising events, trips and publications. This was something I really enjoyed as I could get a group of people together to make something far better than something I could have done on my own.
My intention was always to do something which combined my analytical mind and my creative mind. I thought the answer to this was Graphic design, but I found my own skills limiting, so production helps me to be creative on a bigger scale.
What do you think are the key qualities of a good producer?
- Being engaged in creative worlds beyond the ones you immediately need to investigate for your own job, for example fashion, art, curation, design etc.
- Personable and patient.
- Entrepreneurial and strong negotiation skills.
- Creative intelligence and an eye for successful imagery.
- Organised and efficient with money, an ability to tackle aggressive spreadsheets.
- Explorative and imaginative with budgets and ideas.
What makes a good image, in your view?
To me, a good image is something that is either an artistic response to an idea/concept or something that can immediately communicate that idea/concept.
Essentially, an image which makes you think of wider topics than what can be seen in front of you.
Do you find your own tastes in art and design influence your choices, or do you feel it’s important to remain objective?
I think that whether you intend to remain objective or not, your own interests and taste will always trickle through into your choices.
Having said that, I personally try to operate in a way which puts the concept first, I think that the style of imagery should always aid the idea and help the communication – not work against it.
What was your role at the photographic agency?
I was a junior agent/producer at Webber Represents.
How is your current role different from what you were doing previously?
My current role at Prodigious is an interesting one, as we are the in-house production company within Publicis, and within the walls of Saatchi & Saatchi.
It’s great, because it combines hard production skills with creative skills. Something that I have learnt recently is how to approach commercial shoots in a more editorial manner, a cheaper, faster and more documentary/freer creative way of working.
Did you make a conscious decision to move across to the ad agency side?
I started off on the ad agency side, then went to a photographic agency, and now feel like I am somewhere in between, which feels right.
And what would you say are the main differences between working on the ad agency side and working on the photographic agency side?
The main difference is that in a photographic agency, the buck truly stops with you.
Whereas in an advertising agency, in a more traditional art-buying role a lot of hard production is dealt with by the photographer’s agent – which for me felt like a lot of pressure as an agent/producer.
What I found was that I was having to do a lot of hard production (organising flights, kit, studios etc.) which ultimately felt less creative.
Because something comes to you in a signed off pre-made concept and idea, it’s quite a lot harder to shape its form or to develop it further, as they have already set their own path.
Is there generally a good relationship between the two, or is an oppositional attitude?
I think that there can be some friction, having been on ‘the other side’ there is a huge amount of work to be done, and changing the estimates and cutting things down does take time. I appreciate this now, having had this experience, and try to give the agent as much time as possible.
Has seeing both sides given you new insights into the industry?
I think it has. It has given me a huge appreciation of every element of the industry.
It has also made me realise that the previous way of working – of huge budgets and big names – is a lot trickier across the board, not just for advertising.
I think that it’s time for agents, art buyers and producers to work together and find a sustainable way of working that can work in this current climate.
And has it given you any ideas on where you’d like to take your own career in the future?
It has confirmed that I am best placed within the creative process. I love to help inform the creatives and shape the ideas through production.
Here is a selection of images from projects Jasmine has worked on:
Above and on the left below, Lemon Twigs for Fantastic Man, photography by Marton Perlaki, represented by Webber. Produced by Webber.
Other images for Christies, photography by Leandro Farina, produced by Sally Kursa and Aine Donovan, with Jasmine acting as assistant producer.