Monday, November 06, 2006


Michael Cook has resigned as chief executive of Film Graphics to join newly formed production company, The Feds.
In turning his back on a company with a blue chip list of commercial clients, including Vodafone, General Motors, Ford, Hutchison and Tooheys, for a boutique outfit with a strong new media focus, Cook’s move can be seen as further evidence of radical changes afoot in the world of commercial production.
Cook will take a half-share in The Feds alongside Lizzy Nash, resuming a partnership that began under the banner of The Film Business which Cook owned and operated for 18 years. Both Cook and Nash will be executive producers.
“I have had four fabulous years at Film Graphics and it has been a pleasure to run the company," said Cook.
“I am genuinely excited by this move to The Feds and to working with Lizzy again; she and I have a long professional and personal relationship.
“The Feds is not just another new film production company. It is most definitely and seriously focused on ads but also the new media world. We are going to be doing TV commercials but we have lots of new media ideas and a team of talented people who are brilliant in web design and new technologies."
Cook points out that internet advertising revenue is expected to account for $1 billion or 10 per cent of the annual advertising market this year, overtaking for the first time radio and magazine revenues.
Cook is considered something of a sage within industry circles and sits on a multitude of committees and judging panels. He is a member of the Kodak Gongs committee and Screen Producers of Australia Commercial Division, was chairman of the Craft Category at Adfest Thailand judging some of the major awards last year, and recently judged at the New York Festival.
The Feds was launched only a month ago by Nash, a sister company to Walkabout Films which she began in 1997 after several years working in the US. The Feds signaled their arrival with a guerilla campaign employing viral marketing techniques that exemplify their new media skill base.
Cook admits that The Feds’ stable of directors, including Mike Goode, Phil Boston, Anton Beebe and new media hotshots Johnny KungFu, together with the international connections afforded by Walkabout, were a huge draw in joining The Feds.
“Walkabout has put Lizzy in contact with some amazingly highly regarded and sought after directors and production companies," said Cook. “I like the idea of getting to know these people to gain from their expertise in much bigger markets moving much faster, particularly in the UK and US. That was a big hook for me."
Also appealing to Cook was the opportunity to work in a smaller company with the ability to move with the agility that new media demands.
“We are very interested in keeping it organic and being able to move quickly, and be bold," said Cook. “What I find most exciting is that things are going to be much more idea driven.
“I have made some fabulous commercials that have won a lot of awards. But equally there is a lot of stuff produced that are committee-run. There are too many boxes to tick, too much research.
“If there are fewer people involved and people have to take a bit more of a risk and move quicker, you get creative air space."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the Sweet Shop's Rumpus Room, The Feds appear to be a production company using the guise of "new media" as an opportunity to step into the creative seat.

For example: If a couple of creatives can make a highly successfull low-budget DIY piece for Lynx Jet.... What's stopping directors from writing their own scripts & pitchign their own content ideas directly to clients? They are certainly closer to the point of production, and as a result are more cost effective.

I think that both the Sweet Shop & The Feds know this. Therefore, it will be very interesting to see how the industry changes, as a result.

It will also be very interesting to see what the term "New Media" means to us all going forward. It seems that the tools are now really in the hands of the creators.

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant. Great move Michael.

7:29 AM  

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