We were extremely fortunate to get some time with Christos Savvides, Senior Digital Producer at 4creative, who was part of the infamous team behind the multi-award-winning campaign for Channel 4’s Humans. He gives us exclusive insight into what a day at Channel 4’s in-house creative agency looks like and offers up his top tips for those looking for a similar career.
Hi Christos! Can you tell us what a day in the life of a Senior Digital Producer at 4creative looks like?
This is actually quite a difficult question as I’m quite lucky in that every day for me is completely different. My role at 4creative is a mix of creative, production and account/ project management and depending on what briefs we have and what stages they are at, my involvement changes quite drastically.
One thing that doesn’t change though is starting with a coffee! After that it’s then all about prioritising what the most important tasks of the day are (and flagging any emails that I’ll definitely get back to… at some point).
The fun parts include working closely with my team and with marketing, briefing creative teams / external production companies and developing ideas with them, presenting concepts to our ECD’s and/ or marketing, and cracking on with production… I really enjoy researching successful campaigns from other agencies, looking into exciting new tech opportunities or chatting with contacts regarding potential partnerships.
You’ve worked on some massive campaigns, including Humans. Are there any that particularly stand out for you?
Humans would definitely be the most successful campaign I’ve ever worked on, not just in terms of award and industry recognition but also in actually selling the show itself (which is the job don’t forget!). The other great thing about it was that it was incredibly fun to work on and just felt like a massive collaboration from beginning to end. Everyone loved the idea from the start and wanted it to be as big and entertaining as possible, which just made it a really nice campaign to work on.
It’s really hard to pick a favourite though as each project has its pros and cons for different reasons. I’ve worked on campaigns or products in the past which have been a nightmare to work on but which actually turn out to be really great and I’ve worked on things that have been really fun to work on but then turn out not so great. At the very least I will always finish up with some invaluable lessons.
I really enjoy projects that throw up challenges that I’ve never had to deal with before and relish the chance to figure out solutions to problems that at first seem impossible to solve. In terms of 4creative work, I think stand out projects would be Humans, Hunted, 4NewsWall and Utopia mainly because they all had digital at the heart of them but had to be integrated and work together with other platforms and media as well. Pre-Channel 4 I would probably say 100% Army Fit – an app we developed at my previous agency to help get new recruits fit for the army, and SnackVille – an online game to help children learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. These two projects had completely different production challenges but I’m very happy with how they ended up and I’m really proud of both.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Selling in an idea and getting the approval to move into production. It’s very exciting to know that a project is about to go ahead and the focus changes to making it happen. Also those first few moments after launching a campaign. What’s great about my role is that I get to work on projects from the very start of the initial briefing process, through to the creative development and full production, until delivery. Seeing months of work realised after this whole process and launching it out in front of real people is really gratifying and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.
I also enjoy getting onto Twitter to see what people are saying…Sometimes good, sometimes bad, always insightful.
Have you got any advice for those looking to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t worry too much about where you’re headed. I always knew I wanted to work in advertising and I also knew I wanted to work in digital but I had no idea how these things worked together when I started my career. I was fortunate to get offered a junior role in a digital agency and was just eager to learn whatever I could and try out everything and anything. In my first year, I did web design, web development, sound design, game level building, game concepts, project management, account management and all sorts. I just wanted to get my hands dirty trying every aspect of the process and was lucky to find a company that let me do that.
Working across so many different areas really helped me understand the end to end process of the production lifecycle so it’s definitely something I would suggest for people to try doing when they start out. Then it’s all about getting as many campaigns out as possible and building a portfolio of great work to showcase your skills. Jump in at the deep end, try new things and never be scared to push the boundaries of what’s possible.