Ella Nuortila — Executive Producer, tinygiant
Ella talks to TheNextGag about the new players of the movie industry, why production companies need to bypass ad agencies and what kind of directors she wants to work with.
Ella Nuortila is an Executive Producer at tinygiant, production company, in the USA.
tinygiant is a Brooklyn-based commercial production company, founded by Veronica Diaferia. tinygiant was born from a belief that great content can be made with a curated roster of directors, good taste, dedicated teams and technical knowledge. tinygiant takes pride in being able to produce anything, tiny or giant, and takes the best of old school expectations and new school ideas.
Ella Nuortila was elevated to Executive Producer at tinygiant in August 2017. After graduating in her native Finland, Ella moved to New York to work for SALTY Features, a critically acclaimed documentary production company. She was promoted from production assistant to co-producer in a short amount of time. During her tenure with SALTY Features, the company won an Oscar and had a film at Sundance. While there, she co-produced the feature documentary (Dis)Honesty — The Truth About Lies, as well as music videos and numerous short films, including the award-winning short Six, and feature-length films, like one of China’s biggest action films, MOJIN: The Lost Legend.
THENEXTGAG: WHAT WAS THE PROJECT OR THE CONTENT THAT YOU REALLY LIKED LAST YEAR ?
ELLA NUORTILA: I actually really enjoyed the holiday campaigns this year, for some reason. One of the favorite ones that I saw was the Audi commercial, where two of the guys are heating over a parking spot. The holiday campaigns this year were really trying to not just show the commercial side of the holidays and get you to buy something, but taping into the realistic holiday stress and how everybody is racing to buy on that season. Which is a really interesting approach when at the end of the day it is still advertising. But, it spoke to me as a consumer. So, I liked seeing that this year. It was a great holiday advertising season.
TNG: DID YOU FEEL THAT IT WAS MORE REAL THAN THE REST OF THE WORK ?
EN: Yes. It kind of reflected the whole year that we had last year, which was obviously, being in the US, a completely different year. People definitely wanted to hear different stories than they did maybe in 2016. There was a big public conversation happening in the creative industry as it is trying to change. And I think you need to change when you do marketing in areas that are already more socially-conscious. But holidays it’s really hard. Because holidays is feeling pressured of consuming time. It is obviously about family and when you just need to buy things and being in a hurry and getting everything done. And I loved seeing that. Even in that area, some of the campaigns really managed to tap into this.
TNG: WHAT ABOUT OUTSIDE THE COMMERCIAL WORK ? ANY FILM OR DOCUMENTARY THAT STOOD OUT IN 2017 ?
EN: I loved “Call Me By Your Name”, the film that just came out. And I really loved “Good Time”, the film that was a big success at Cannes with Robert Pattinson, by the directors the Safdie brothers. Those were the films from independent cinema where I got get to really impressed from last year.
I am a huge movie buff. So I can talk about films this whole half hour that we have. So, just stop me.
I don’t think all the films should be made to be watched in a theater.
TNG: NO WORRIES. I WANTED TO COME BACK TO WHAT YOU DO AT TINYGIANT. ARE NETFLIX AND AMAZON GOOD THINGS FOR PRODUCTION COMPANIES LIKE OURS ?
EN: Well, tinygiant produces commercials. So, we wouldn’t necessarily produce content that would be viewed on Amazon or Netflix.
For films, specifically, I think they are great platforms. I don’t think all the films should be made to be watched in a theater. Even if I, personally, love to still go to a movie theater and there I enjoy the big screen. But, I think, what Netflix and Amazon have completely allowed for a lot of films to do is to find a deal as opposed to a big studio, that don’t want to see these stories. They either do really big things or when you have no budget or resources whatsoever. What Netflix and Amazon have really allowed is to see these large films, like mid-budget, independent work or art-house consumed. I want to say that there will keep on getting bigger and bigger.
TNG: AT TINYGIANT, DO YOU THINK THAT IN THE FUTURE YOU WILL BE MORE WORKING MORE WITH BRANDS DIRECTLY OR STILL THROUGH AN AGENCY ?
EN: I believe that direct to brands is definitely the future. At tinygiant, maybe the most compelling campaign we did last year was a direct brand. It was for Square. And it was just so impressive to work with a brand directly and to kind of cut the middleman in the process.
I think definitely there are more and more opportunities. Especially for a company like ours. We have young directors, no household names. We are taking all these opportunities and we see a lot great creativity coming from directors. It also allows us to pitch our own ideas maybe more freely than what we would do for the agencies, where we have to accept anything that they already have.
So yes, definitely, I think that’s the future.
TNG: AND TO TALK ABOUT THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE, WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN STORE FOR 2018 THEN ?
EN: For tinygiant, 2018 will be the year where we really define what kind of company we are. Because, we are turning three this spring. So, we are a new shop. We’ve had really successful two and half years. But, as a company, you know, the third year is the sink or swim year I think. When you don’t just want to grow, because we have already established ourselves, but you just don’t want to grow for the sake of growing, but you kind of want to define what kind of work do we really want to do for the next ten years.
For us, it makes some kind of sense going after the type of work we are proud of. As opposed to just working and the stuff that you do as a new company when you just want to become a functioning production house.
So, this year I hope we can go after some of the more compelling work storytelling-wise. And then, we have an additional rep on the West Coast that works for us. So, 2018 will be the year when tinygiant conquers the West.
TNG: DO YOU MISS WORKING ON FEATURE FILMS OR DOCUMENTARIES ?
EN: Yes. I mean, that’s my background. I loved working in documentaries and independent films. I have made a rule for myself to produce something independently every year. So I still actually produce independent content, whether it is helping a filmmaker or a friend with his short. Contribute to projects that I really believe in. One a year is enough. There has to be a good balance in creative world. You can’t just do one thing all year. For me, it means being a producer in a commercial production company. That’s where I put most of my time and energy. Then that allows me to put so much more creative effort in independent projects, because I am not involved in that every single day. It doesn’t live on my mind from nine to five. I can devote parts to some of those projects.
Our directors are really young and we get to contribute to their career.
TNG: ANY DREAM DIRECTOR YOU WOULD LOVE TO SIGN AT TINYGIANT ?
EN: I want to say that as now we have our dream directors. I know it sounds super corny. But every company needs to have their own directors. I don’t want to sign another company’s director to be our director, because that would not be a good fit.
Why I am super excited about our roster is that our directors are really young and we get to contribute to their career, as opposed to signing somebody that is already established. I want to be the person who actually makes one of our directors. That’s what really excites me.
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