The Producer's Mixtape: How to Not Let Bad Work Happen

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For agency producers, checking off to-do lists has become an even more daunting task given the various intricacies of digital production. But CP+B offers to help ease things along with the public release of its internal interactive production workflow kit, the Producer's Mixtape.

The kit, which is downloadable for free at consists of 11 cards, each representing an integral aspect of digital production, and each containing an easily digestible list of to-do tasks. The guidelines address everything from the simplest of jobs to more complicated phases of a production. In line with the mixtape theme, the kit consists of two parts, Side A, representing pre-pro and Side B, for production. Side A cards are dedicated to vision, scoping and planning, budget, vendors, business affairs and legal, while Side B covers development, demos, QA & lauch and post launch. A bonus production 101 card accounts for the basics.

To round out the package, the kit ao comes with an STL file so producers can 3D print out their own cassette tape style case to house the cards.

The agency has been using the mixtape toolkit idea in some form over the last several years. "The idea predates me," said CP+B executive producer Jesse Jones, who spearheaded the launch. "It's something we would all have sitting on our desks -- from the Dave Rolfes to the Winston Binches (former Crispin exec producers)-- a nice organized checklist meant to help prevent bad work from happening. We all know as producers that even the best idea could fall flat in execution, and we can help make work better. This was a nice tool we had in our back pocket, so we wanted to put it out there for everyone. This alone doesn't make great work, but it gives the strategy the possibility of being the best it could be."

The format itself is meant to be practical. "They just sit on people's desk and when you're reviewing a project on screen, [the mixtape] is easy to refer to as you go through it." Thematically, it's an appropriate fit as well. "Another thing we like about it is just like a mixtape from back in the day, the cards feature a blank side where you can write your own steps. And, much like a mixtape, there's no one author. "

The latter refers partly to the fact that the kit is easily adaptable--it's released under a Creative Commons 3.0 license and agencies are free to edit and brand as they see fit. "We intentionally set this up to be for producers by producers," Mr. Jones said. "We don't spell everything out. We made it something people could explore and refine."

Surprisingly, for a digital production tool, it's blatantly analog. "One thing I've learned, and I think most people who have worked in this space have learned, is that checklists tend to work best when they're on paper, and when they have no more than ten or twelve items," said Mr. Jones. That said, the tool is also available on mobile as well.

Outside of its practical applications, Mr. Jones said the project also serves as a thank you to the agency's production alumni and collaborators. "If you look around the integrated production departments and the industry as a whole, everyone from Google to agencies to production companies -- it's littered with people from CP+B or who've spent time here. A lot of those people contributed to this and helped establish us as an interactive player, so I wanted this to be a shout out to them. Putting this together was something we're proud of and wanted everyone -- from past, present and future -- to feel a part of."

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