Julie Vergez on what makes a ‘Creative’ Producer

(Featured image from Hermès ‘Fast Forward Men’ Fashion Film. Directed by Builders Club)

The title “Creative Producer” versus “Producer” are sometimes at odds with one another and it’s often unclear how to distinguish the two, or what qualifies an individual to hold the title of Creative Producer. In an age when many individuals and brands are recognising the value of creativity, does it make a difference when you include this sometimes loaded term within your job title, and if so, what must you do too fulfil the expectations surrounding the work of a Creative Producer?

We caught up with Julie Vergez, an accomplished Creative Producer with 15 years of experience working with brands such as Hermès, Kenzo, Red Bull and Bianca Saunders. She has also collaborated with notable artists including Larry B, Akinola Davis, IGGY LDN and Ibrahim Kamara.

PESA PRODUCTIONS: How would you define your role as a Producer and what does “production” mean to you?

“Making shit happens” is a good one. A producer has to be the enabler of creative ideas, their brain is like a giant map combining all the needs and solutions to make sure a vision is accomplished. It is the rock of a project, someone people can rely on but also, someone who manages and directs all the people involved.

JULIE: “Making shit happens” is a good one. A producer has to be the enabler of creative ideas, their brain is like a giant map combining all the needs and solutions to make sure a vision is accomplished. It is the rock of a project, someone people can rely on but also, someone who manages and directs all the people involved. It’s actually a boss – personally, I don’t like that idea much and I still struggle with it.

It’s also a strong collaborator – I prefer that one.

I really love the collaborative process with a director or a photographer, and all other creative people involved. For that to happen well, there is a need for a lot of trust from all sides. I have had beautiful creative partnerships and some ugly ones. I guess you don’t win every time! But you learn every time. Each new production is like a new blank page within a new bubble. I find that idea beautiful. During a project, time will stop, your own scale of time applies, you research, you find solutions, you put teams together, you create. The amount of new things you learn and new relationships you build is insane, and it’s so good. I really really love that.

And when all that happens well, the moment you see the result of that hard labour is such a magical moment. I’ve cried of emotions a few times watching some of our films for the first time.

Production is all that!

But production can also be a real bitch and happen with lot of sweat, anxiety and tears. I think producers don’t have spaces really where they can exchange on all the fuckeries they face, whether we talk bullying, tidying up people’s mess, mansplaining for the ladies (that’s a draining one…).

Image by Ruth Ossai of Gidi gidi bu ugwu eze (Unity is strength) for Kenzo


PESA PRODUCTIONS: In your opinion, what is the difference between a “Producer” and a “Creative Producer”?

JULIE: I think “Creative Producer” is used for really different aspects.

When I had my representation agency in Paris, people used to call me a ‘Creative Producer‘, mainly because I was producing more than films or stills, I was working on a lot of art direction and design projects, and I was really involved in the creative development.

But a producer who writes and/or who shoots and/or who does creative strategy, is also a “Creative Producer“. 

Maybe in London the job itself is way more defined.

I kept that title when I moved here and I think it helped me to be trusted on my creative abilities, which I apply mostly during the development of a project.

I also believe I’m putting less pressure on myself by keeping that title as I always see the idea of a “Producer” as a big man with a big voice and big hands (not literally but you see what I mean). I’m tiny and my brain sometimes can go sideways!

I believe a “Producer” might be seen more as a really pragmatic role which it is but it’s also more than that, as it’s absolutely needed that the producer gets involved in the creative process and collaborate on ideas, as it’ll help the feasibility of a shoot or an event.

I believe a “Producer” might be seen more as a really pragmatic role which it is but it’s also more than that, as it’s absolutely needed that the producer gets involved in the creative process and collaborate on ideas, as it’ll help the feasibility of a shoot or an event.

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  • June 27, 2019
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