INTERVIEW: Spov

INTERVIEW: Spov
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

July 1st 2010 at 6:27PM

We speak to the visual effects agency's latest recruit

Spov, the London based design and visual effects agency, has hired design industry pro Dan Higgott to drive forward business development and strategy.

Dan has many years experience working within the creative industries, and was hired for what was refferd to as his understanding of the care required when selling creative services.

Keen to learn more about Higgott's hopes and plans, Develop caught up with Spov's latest recruit

Develop: What attracted you to the role at Spov?
Higgott: Firstly the quality of the work that Spov have produced – not just from a technical perspective, but also the way that the team apply their film and TV experience to create cinematics that have a real narrative clarity. Secondly Spov are great team of people – fun to work with, open minded and ambitious.

Allen Leitch, founder and MD of Spov is so passionate and energetic about the work we deliver that it is a real pleasure for me work to realise the brand’s potential.

How does your previous experience inform your role at Spov?
My background is in managing growing creative businesses, so while don’t come to Spov with a bulging contact’s book in the games industry, the quality of Spov’s showreel opens doors for us.

What I bring is an understanding of how to manage a growing business and experience of building lasting relationships with clients – strong, lasting relationships that will benefit both parties and deliver great creative work.

I also bring contacts in other creative disciplines, namely interior design and architecture, branding and marketing. I believe that Spov’s skills can be applied in these areas, and will be working with Allen to develop the right strategic approaches for these sectors.

Charged as you are with helping drive forward business development and strategy at Spov, what do you hope to help the company achieve?
Spov should become internationally recognised moving-image artists, working with the best creative IP on the planet, whether that be games, film or anything else. I want Spov to be seen as the go-to-guys for the best quality work - quality design, quality editing, quality filming, quality narrative, quality animation. The best.

What do you see as the challenges of business development in the creative sector of which Spov is a part?
I think that many of the current challenges are actually business challenges – global economic uncertainty has led to a general reduction in money for new projects, and in some areas a conservatism towards creative development. In my experience this is having an impact on all creative sectors, but those agencies with strong creative ideas and great IP will continue to thrive.

The convergence of film and games has long been a talking point, and it’s something Spov has said it is interested in harnessing. What is the potential in that convergence for a company like Spov?
For Spov it seems an obvious area to focus on. While the company has rightly gained a fantastic reputation for its games work over the last three years, it is important to remember that Allen and the rest of the creative team come from a film and TV background and have brought a narrative skill from these sectors into their games work.

The next trick for Spov will be to take all of the learning that has come from its games projects back to film and TV, positioning itself at the heart of this convergence. It is personally exciting for me as I can see such potential for these two media areas to learn from each other and develop in tandem, creating new immersive content and IP that can be fully passive, interactive or any point in between. For me, the technology is a facilitator, it will be story telling that will drive this convergence forward.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to somebody looking for a job in the games industry?

As in any creative sector, be clear what you want to do, continually hone your skills and be resilient. It can be a very competitive industry so you have to be prepared for knock-backs.

Do what you enjoy, and remember that doing the same thing every day for someone else is not the same as having fun with it at home: about 20 years ago I wanted to be a music producer because I loved making music, but was never successful because I didn’t appreciate the commercial demands that meant record labels wanted me to take my work in directions I didn’t. Working to a brief is very different to making your own personal aesthetic decisions.