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Studio Production: The Game

4.24.23 / By Connor Dixon-Schwabl

Of the many things that run deep at DS+CO, gaming is pretty high on the list. From the old-school arcade machine that lives on our Level of Love (also where our studio team dwells) to our annual Extra Life fundraiser, we’re here for some friendly competition. So it’s no surprise our studio team recently ended up together at an arcade—or that, while we were there, we found a perfect metaphor for our work right in front of us: When it comes to how your brand approaches video content, play like Pac-Man.

Level 1: Mobile Capture

If you’re new to the game, start by grabbing content using your phone. That’s mobile capture, and it’s a great way to snag some early video success, with plenty of chances to find your stride and get a feel for what works. Just like our little pie-shaped friend, you’ll take some wrong turns. But that’s OK, because the low stakes of mobile capture mean you can dodge consequences with a quick turn. Think of those early videos as the dots on the board: each one is a piece of social content that you gobble up in rapid pursuit.

Cheat code: Momentum is key, so keep making small moves until you level up. All those dots will soon add up to brand video templates, content series and trendy Reels to populate your channels.

Level 5: Camera Crew

Congratulations! You’ve made some great progress, you’ve watched the little “intermission” video after Level 2, aptly named “They Meet”—because this is where you meet your camera crew. By now, you’ve added a few quarters to the machine. Just like your video budget, it takes credits to get the job done. But that also means the game has sped up, wrong moves come with consequences and clients have started to gather at your shoulders to watch you play. At this level, you need skill and strategy, which means a helpful guide will go a long way. A small, experienced crew that operates at this level every day can make your video project a walk in the park.

Cheat code: Your brand is still controlling the joystick, with clear direction throughout the projection process. Be transparent and decisive with your camera crew, and don’t second-guess your moves. Even in a tight corner, trust your crew to help you find the right path, clear the board and make your spectators cheer.

Level 10: Production Partner

Did you know there are 256 levels in Pac-Man? Clearing them all is a big investment—and so is finding the right production partner for your brand’s big plans. It’s a full sprint, slamming around each corner, knowing that a wrong turn means more quarters in the machine (I mean, dollars in the budget). Trust is everything when it comes to your production partnership—from the path you’re on to the resources around you that ensure success.

Cheat code: Build a village of partners who know what to expect and can methodically navigate the board in front of you. But first, spend time finding a team you can trust to guide you through all those dots, fruits and ghosts

The truth is, each level of studio production is as important as the ones before and after it.

So here’s the real cheat code: Play all the levels. All the time.

Your players at Level 1 should be constantly feeding your social streams, while players at Level 5 create highly curated deliverables for your next campaign or KPI. And plan for Level 10—it might be two or three years down the road, but now is the time to think about who you want to shepherd you through the complexities of studio production.

The best thing about a Pac-Man production? It’s fun! Happy gaming, and we’ll see you on the high-score screen.

Ready to learn how the production game is played? Get in touch with us today.

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Connor Dixon-Schwabl

Connor tells stories that spark genuine human connection, and in his 10+ years at DS+CO, he’s nurtured our studio team into ADDY and Telly award-winning storytellers who make an impact. His work reflects his personal and professional approach to solving problems, creating opportunities and making a difference. Connor earned his master’s degree in strategic marketing, has built two successful local businesses, is a Forty Under 40 honoree and sits on the board of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester, where he helped found the organization’s Red Tie Society.