What does a content director actually do?

In this feature, we take a look inside the working lives of people whose job titles often warrant the question: 'but what do you actually do?' This week, we speak to Gavin Walters, content director at International Productions.

What do you actually do?

I produce content for online communication pieces, events and presentations for corporate clients, national and international destinations, marketing, PR and advertising agencies, government agencies and anyone who has a message they need to communicate to an audience.

International Productions has two divisions – events management and content production. I oversee content production, from pre-production right through to post-production.

So basically, I help our clients communicate their message to their audience through graphics, video and presentation content.

What might a typical working day look like?

Wearing many hats is what my role is all about! Every day is different, but each has one common denominator – it has to start with coffee.

I’ve been in the game since 1992 working through all aspects of production. I’ve worked in corporates, broadcast, advertising, live events and sport. I love the variety of my role, I get to cover a bit of everything.

If I’m in the office you can find me working on pitches and tenders, drafting production schedules, coordinating brain-storming sessions, discussing ideas or jobs with clients, budgeting, creating graphic concept ideas with editors, finding suitable music to accompany content and basically just ensuring that all our projects are delivered on time and on budget.

During busy periods I can have up to three scriptwriters working on various content, 30 production crew producing on location and up to four internal post production suites, cutting, creating motion graphics, audio mixing and colour grading on various types of content.

There’s no typical day on shoots. Depending on budget I can play various roles from producer, director, camera operator, interviewer, right through to swinging booms.

How does your role keep you on your toes?

As in every agency, tight deadlines are always there to keep me honest.

As the content director, I’m responsible for producing and delivering content that is both interesting and engaging, so a lot of thinking outside the box. This can include 4K, 360-degree and virtual reality camera rigs, as well as blend screen software such as WATCHOUT – this requires a considerable amount of creativity, planning, resourcing and structure when building a show.

Live events or outdoor shoots rely heavily on the weather cooperating, which doesn’t always go to plan. On overseas locations which are more expensive to produce, the pressure is always on, but we’ve found these situations are where we produce some of our best work.

Since entering the industry, the tech we use has changed dramatically and we have gone from the basic camera gear to now shooting in 4K and creating 360-degree and virtual reality content. Exciting times, but a real challenge – we are constantly exposed to new hardware and software. We often need to become an expert on-the-fly as well as ensuring we are using it in a cost-effective manner for our clients and considering how we could use it for other projects as well.

What’s your favourite part about your role?

Producing content on location, especially overseas, with a large crew and large budget still gives me a huge buzz. At times we are producing in locations off limits to the general public and we are working with celebrities, sports stars, politicians, musicians and business leaders – these unique experiences are one of the many reasons I love my job.

In between delivering many more content projects, I am looking forward to evolving my knowledge and leadership skills in content production and gain a better understanding of new production technology, equipment and techniques. I’m a strong believer that you never stop learning and to never stop reaching for the next level.

Gavin Walters is content director, International Productions.


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