POV: Agency Producer, Yvonne Chalkley

Be passionate about the work. Love every day knowing it will be different, exciting and challenging.


Yvonne Chalkley
Executive Deputy Head of Content AMV BBDO, London

Point of View: Agency Producer

How would you describe what you do?
My position at AMVBBDO is Deputy Head of Moving Image which means i get involved with many projects including not only TV ads, but content, social and anything which requires moving image. I also Exec produce on a major AMVBBDO client brand. I also still line produce other work and really enjoy still being hands on.
How did you get into this job?
I started out working for a small post production company who edited tv commercials. I then met directors and managed to get a position working in a production company. I eventually became a producer there and then ran the company for many years. I decided to have a change and entered into an Advertisng Agency as a Producer to see the other side. Hence where I am now at AMVBBDO after 23 years.
What is most challenging about what you do?
The most challenging part of our job now is to try and make our smaller budgets work hard for us. Our creatives still want the best work, our clients want the best film and we have to make this all happen. It is a big challenge for Producers and this will not change now.
What is most rewarding?
Watching a spot of TV or Online and feeling like you have been a part of making this happen. Always a great feeling and knowing that everyone has worked hard and made this as good as it can be. Feeling proud of the work you produce.
What’s a typical work week like?
Full on usually. I like to be busy. I am probably producing a couple of spots as well as running the production side for a big client. I have meetings nearly everyday and then often out on post production finishing a film off. Also having meetings with directors and chatting to producers in prod companies. I spend time looking at reels and what is going on in the world of advertising.
What do you look for when booking directors and composers?
I always keep up to date with the latest Directors work including Film directors too. I love watching good work. If i see an interesting director I make a note and keep an eye on what they are working on. I also like to know a good prod co are behind them so we can make sure we produce the best work for our clients. I look for good casting, good storytelling and a cinematic eye. Each job we do requires different skills from a director so i need to hone in on this for each one.
With composers this is always hard. Again every job is different and music i find is always the hardest part. It is so subjective. I like to work with talented composers and good music companies. I also like to explore up and coming composers as it may lead to something very different and stand out. Working with Peter Raeburn at Soundtree on Guinness Surfer was a great experience - he found the track by the underground band Leftfield, and we used this track on the film which helped make it one of the best ads of all time!
Whats your best job/worst job?
My best job was working on Surfer. I had the chance to work with the best creative team in the industry, Tom & Walt. I learnt so much on this job. It was scary and exciting. It was very involved and heavy on the post side. But so pleased I did this.
Hard to say what my worst job is, maybe generally not getting the result I had hoped for. Or maybe having to change a film knowing it will not be as good.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Be passionate about the work. Love everyday knowing it will be different, exciting and challenging. Even now I get a script and think how do I produce this! That is what I love about the job. if you lose this then you shouldn't be doing this job.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about being a producer?
Probably the total commitment needed. Day and night I never switch off. it is really full on but that is what I love.
Also the weird things we have to check out or research. Creatives can come up with mad ideas sometimes so you never know what you will get asked to look into!
Finally how do you use AdForum and how useful is it to see the latest work of Directors and staying up to date with industry news?
It is great to check out directing talent. It keeps up to date with all the latest work and what is going on in the world of adverting. It is a great tool and I wouldn't be without it.
Yvonne Chalkley
Executive Deputy Head of Content AMV BBDO, London