To continue our new Client Spotlight Interviews, we got the opportunity to chat to Stephanie Denington who is the Creative Operations Manager at Qantas. Stephanie has over 10 years experience in broadcast, digital and social production for major platforms. Her impressive and extensive experience gave us a good insight into the flow of a project and what to keep in mind when casting talent.
What does a day in the life of a Creative Operations Professional look like?
My day-to-day role is varied but generally has a good balance between creative and production tasks. It involves overseeing creative briefs across video, photography, design and copy both for our internal studio team and external creative agencies to ensure projects are running smoothly and the team has the resources they need to produce the highest quality of work. My background is in production so I’m often organising video and stills shoots from end to end, including casting, to ensure our content aligns with our brand tone of voice. On the operational side, I also help to manage our studio budget as well as licensing, usage and contracts for our creative content.
How has digital marketing changed in the airline industry after covid?
I can’t speak on behalf of the whole industry but from a creative perspective at Qantas, one big change is that we’ve had to become a lot more flexible in our content marketing approach to accommodate the uncertainty the world has faced over the last few years. At times we had to be reactive to decisions that were out of our control such as borders suddenly closing or restrictions being lifted which resulted in campaign live dates being pushed back or sometimes the opposite where we were working to extremely fast turnarounds to ensure we kept our customers across vital airline updates through our creative output.
Our recent “I Still Call Australia Home” TVC is a good example as it was filmed and edited pre covid and set to launch just as the country went into lockdown. Even when most states reopened, we had a further wait for WA as it was important for all of Australia to be open given that the content was paying homage to this beautiful country and its people. It was a tough wait but ended up being released at the perfect time for people to really resonate with it after everything we’ve tackled together.
Can you tell us a little bit about the jobs you use theright.fit for?
We’ve used theright.fit for a range of stills and video jobs across our marketing channels including destination pieces across Australia from Byron Bay to Broome and international shoots in Singapore and California as well as other engaging marketing content that showcases our aircraft, people and services.
Tell us about your casting process - how do you find people, and what do you look for in casting? Why did you select the talent you selected?
A great starting point is looking at applicants’ profiles on theright.fit to get an idea of their experience and portfolios. Generally we’re looking for people with genuine, warm smiles and great attitudes both on and off screen so previous reviews can be really helpful. If someone has experience with similar styles of content it can be an advantage but it’s not a deal breaker. Inclusion and diversity is incredibly important to us and we’re keen to represent people from all different backgrounds through our content.
We have a small, friendly internal team and flexibility, passion and collaboration are important personality traits for our cast and crew alike. We try to plan our productions with everyone’s safety and wellbeing as a key priority and we like to establish solid lines of communication and respect during pre and production. As such, when sourcing talent, we’re keen to find people who will be a good fit to our team as well as our brand image.
How were the results? Tell us about the campaign and the shoot day.
We’ve produced some beautiful, high production pieces using talent from theright.fit. We recently did a high energy destination video piece with our talent leading the viewer through various locations to encourage people to stopover in Perth before or after their international holiday. This was filmed across 5 days with a small crew and tight schedule but the team had a great time showcasing the unique offerings of the area, including Matagarup bridge climb and quokkas on Rottnest Island.
A few months ago we worked on a big library piece to capture video and stills shots of an array of talent on board an aircraft enjoying our unique services. The shoot took place on a grounded Dreamliner in one of our hangars and required a great amount of coordination and cooperation from our cast and crew to work to a tight schedule and space. We were able to capture stills and video assets that will be used across our marketing comms over the next few years.
What are your tips for talent responding to a job ad?
From our experience, it’s important to properly read the brief and job details before applying. We appreciate it when an applicant has familiarised themselves with what’s required and decided if they’re aligned. If you have any particular experience you think is relevant to the job, send it through with your application. For instance, we produce a lot of video shoots and it really helps when we can have a look at past video pieces to get a feel for how the talent performs in motion, not just stills. Even if you don’t have professional video experience, a short intro or self-taped audition piece is helpful for us to get an idea.
We work to very strict budgets and usage terms and make sure people are treated fairly while on our shoots. The fees we include upfront are usually the max amount we’re able to pay so if you do want to query anything, best to do it upfront rather than further into conversations.