The road to Stndrd

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Today we welcome our newest additions to the CATScan Blog, B-Reel's General Manager/EP Niklas Lindstrom and CEO Anders Wahlquist. Many of you know the integrated production company for its impressive integrated accomplishments, among them, Goodby's celebrated horrorfest Doritos Hotel 626, along with its even scarier sequel, Asylum 626. The company's years of experience steering campaigns requiring both traditional and digital know-how recently inspired its launch of, an open source resource to help make digital productions as streamlined as traditional ones. In their introductory CATScan post, Lindstrom and Wahlquist explain their thinking behind the initiative.

Since the birth of B-Reel in 1999 we have produced for various media, from TVC's to motion graphics and interactive production, etc. Early on, we figured we could use a similar internal process no matter what screen we delivered for.

One discovery was that animation and film work was so much easier to kick off than interactive work, for which many hours were spent explaining to clients and agencies in detail, how we would produce things for them and when to deliver what—hours that could be spent on better things, less detailed work, on concepting and on setting client expectations to the right level.

Seemingly, the reason for the easy process in film and animation is most probably related to the long history of the industry—the shared knowledge of traditional production leading to an understanding of what will cost money or not, and when to take what decision, a de facto standard process universally respected in the industry.

In the interactive industry there is a shorter history. There is an aspect of constantly evolving technology paired with an overhanging legacy from the big interactive agency era when many companies created their own proprietary processes. Many times, the structural assets building market value has put the digital production production process in a black box.

Five years ago we adopted some familiar milestones from commercial production, such as Pre Production Meeting, Offline, Online, etc. into our digital process which made life somewhat easier, and to our joy, it was taken on more widely within the Scandinavian industry.

However, meeting with savvy people at agencies or production companies always led us to the conclusion that there were so many areas in which there was a need for more common practice. After having tried in different organizations to make things happen, and not succeeding, we decided to try the "open-source" route, and we published RFP checklists and a digital process on to spark a discussion in the industry and try to make something happen.

From there on, the amazing feedback Stndrd_ received meant that peers (Acne, B-Reel, North Kingdom, Perfect Fools, Unit 9, Karen Monahan at W+K) joined in to work on MSA templates. Essentially, that's the spirit we were hoping Stndrd_ would evoke, eventually being a place where good people could join in, doing good deeds in cooperation, and help each other out.

We're not suggesting that this little open source attempt would change the world, but for digital production, and in the end, digital creative output, your contribution will be important. Just by endorsing Stndrd_, your logo will say you are a supporter of making project administration easier, and by adding to the content, you will help a lot of people build digital standards that support great ideas and don't steal time and effort from the most important thing—creating beautiful projects.

Niklas Lindstrom is General Manager/Executive Producer and Anders Wahlquist is CEO of hybrid production company B-Reel