The 2009 Agency Producers: Elissa Singstock

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Elissa Singstock
Elissa Singstock
One of the many Nike soccer campaigns Wieden Kennedy, Amsterdam EP Elissa Singstock has produced includes the commercials "Heart," "Joy," "Endure," and "Defy." Beyond spot names, however, those words also apply to how she approaches the job.

"As producers, we are constantly stimulated and learning new things," says Singstock, who got her start working as an ad agency receptionist who offered to help out an overloaded producer. "Every production has new challenges. Something happens you didn't expect, you solve the problem, and make sure you're never in that situation again. Often we're like The Cleaner in Pulp Fiction."

At Wieden, Singstock has been cleaning up largely in the sports arena, having worked on Nike's "Joga Bonito" soccer campaign, this year's "Bad Listener," featuring legless South African runner and aspiring Olympian Oscar Pistorius, and the site for EA Sports' FIFA 08 video game. So it's not so surprising that one of the best career tips she's received was from a sports figure. "[Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger gave me the best advice," she says. "'Calm and focused, always stay calm and focused.' Much easier said then done. I wrote it down and taped to my computer."

The advice has certainly come in handy, especially when it comes to working with athletic superstars. "We get maybe two to four hours to shoot the athletes, so we must be extremely well prepared when they show up," she says. "Ideally you want to have all your set-ups ready so you can move the athletes from one place to the next. If they need to wait, you risk them becoming bored and leaving the set."

Then, there are the more unusual hurdles. "I almost got beaten up while shooting football players for a viral in the center of Amsterdam," she says. "We didn't have any money, so no security. The crew, agency and I asked a passerby to please stop taking pictures of the athletes, and he became violent. I felt OK taking him on because I had my whole production team behind me. But when I turned around for back-up, they were gone. They left me alone to fend off a 7- foot tall angry Dutchman."

Read another 2009 Agency Producer profile, Kate Morrison from 180/L.A.
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