Grand Jury Perspective: Jim Fitzpatrick

New York Festivals 2018 TV & Film Awards Grand Jury represents 32 countries on 6 continents. Known for its powerhouse jury comprised of prominent international broadcast and film industry executives, NYF’s jurors are award-winners themselves and are passionate about excellence and innovation. Their reputation in diverse areas across all platforms provide each entry with the utmost of attention and make them qualified to select the World’s Best TV & Films.

Jim Fitzpatrick, Manager Broadcast Production for LCBO

Jim Fitzpatrick is Manager Broadcast Production Group for LCBO, one of the world’s largest buyers and retailers of beverage alcohol. He manages production and content creation for LCBO and is responsible for all aspects of creative development, production and post-production for television, photography, radio, digital, design and event staging. Jim is a seasoned director, photographer and multi-channel content producer who leads a highly creative team.

In the interview below, Jim shares his creative insights on content creation,  his thoughts on creating the best content for mobile, building an integrated social experience into program development and much more.

New York Festivals: Talk about what qualities makes great content?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Great content is bold. It’s relatable. It’s unexpected. So much of what we see in the world is derivative and repetitious. As audiences, we tune-out the expected, the noise, the grey matter, so when someone offers us a detour, it delights and engages us. The best content makes an emotional connection with the audience through storytelling. When you can make an audience feels something, they will remember what you have to say and keep coming back for more – that’s great content.

From a production perspective, great content begins with research. It’s easy to shortchange this step, especially when resources are tight. But there’s almost always an insight that’s been overlooked by every creative team that’s gone before you. Dig, prod and poke until you uncover that kernel of an idea. The time and a compelling story will always pay dividends.

New York Festivals: Talk about how story structure has changed with the spread of mobile?

Jim Fitzpatrick: The best content for mobile is concise and story-driven, but often fragmented across multiple channels, with the narrative revealing unevenly throughout the network. The medium has totally changed the way we consume information, and the art of storytelling and the structure for getting your message across has had to adapt. But the fundamentals of character, action and dialogue remain. You have to get there sooner with mobile, and each visual has to work harder than it did a decade ago.

If you don’t grab your mobile audience in the very first frames, they’re moving on. The most significant change, without question, is the new pressure on the hook. People used to sit through 30-second commercials waiting for the payoff, but attention span has vanished and audience engagement is much more ephemeral today. Whether it’s an irresistible character, instant suspense, or a meme, you know the story structure has hit the mark when the audience stays with you, shares the content, and takes the intended action.

New York Festivals: How important is building a social experience around a program?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Programs are a vehicle for persuasion and a way to influence and inform. The challenge we all face is reaching our target in this fragmented digital space, and having the message resonate.

Building an integrated social experience into program development is best practice for sharing and amplifying the content. It can be done after the fact or offloaded onto the broadcaster or brand but that’s rarely as effective as an integrated process. You need to take every planning opportunity to syndicate your content and increase you visibility. Social provides the opportunity increase engagement through organic and paid reach but most importantly it connects you directly to the audience. When it gains traction, your target becomes the program and enables a wider and deeper interaction. It makes me think of William Bernbach’s famous quote, “Word of mouth is the best medium of all.”

New York Festivals: If you could select any iconic creative to collaborate with on a project who would it be and why?


David Ogilvy

Jim Fitzpatrick: I would have loved to work with David Ogilvy on a digital brief. Ogilvy is a giant in the industry but when he started his first agency in Manhattan at age 37, he had never written an ad. You could have called him arrogant or ignorant but the guy obviously understood human behaviour, the value of hard work, and had the charisma to sell his ideas.

I like going back and looking at some of his early campaigns. His ads told stories and made you think. The famous Rolls Royce ad about the car’s clock, the impeccable man in the Hathaway shirt with a mysterious eye patch. His work was timeless because he understood that a good story forges an emotional connection. That ability changed the world and made a lot of brands prosper in the process. Those fundamentals are still critical today.

I would love to unlock his insights on the mind of the consumer and see it applied to world of today. To work through a creative process with him and have him spin me around and pointed somewhere I never would have gone.

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