Olivier Robert-Murphy, Global Head of New Business, at Universal Music Group gave an interesting talk at Web Summit (WS) 2018 which included insights into his role as a jury president at Cannes Lions last year.  During this talk he maintained that the main elements of creativity centre around 3 things – storytelling, emotion and impact.  That is what he looks for in a campaign.

He showed the Adidas ‘Original’ video campaign and used this as an example of using existing creativity and building on it to create new creativity. He believes that creativity needs to focus on creating engagement – likes, shares etc and not just reach.  We need to stop thinking in terms of awareness and focus more on genuine engagement.

Universal Pictures

We met and interviewed Olivier after his talk to ask him more about his various experiences: Cannes Lions, VP of Marketing at Universal Pictures and Procter & Gamble. He chatted to us about his Irish heritage and gave us some valuable insights into how to convey purpose, emotion and impact in film.

Oliver Robert-Murphy of Universal Music Group & Lisa Wright of Irish Film School

Irish Roots

IFS: Your name appears to have Irish roots?

OR-M: My Mum was from Cork, a beautiful place and Robert was my father’s name, hence Robert-Murphy. My grandfather was called Patrick Murphy!

2 Top Tips To Use Music Effectively in Film

IFS: You have worked in the creative industry for the past 15 years, most recently your role has been matching music with brands. Some of our filmmakers are also composers. What are your top tips for them to match music with their projects?

OR-M: If you want your film to associate music with it, which I would say 99% of the time you do, it is effectively the same process as matching music to TV ads. There are 2 ways to do it:

  1. Either use music that inspires you to film something specific or
  2. Make your film and then add some music on top of it.

If you are not a composer there are a lot of banks of music that you can look at or you can use music from a multitude of platforms that exist today to help you to find the right music for your project.

Music is used to convey emotion. Ask yourself, if I play this music am I going to be scared? Happy? Sad? It’s all these emotional factors that you need to consider. The best way to test it is to put it on the image and see if it works.

Nature v Nurture

IFS: Is creativity something that you are born with or can it be taught?

OR-M: I talked about judging creativity at the WS. I was on stage last year at Cannes Lions and spoke to about this very issue and he said: “Creativity is a muscle that you need to train every day. Do at least one hour of creativity every day – writing songs, writing lyrics, coming up with new concepts”.  It is true that one of the myths is that we think that creativity is a gift and that you are born with it.  I believe that you need to train it – just like sports.

On Message

Executive Producer Kieran Corrigan teaches Business of Film

IFS: We are running a Business of Film course and we have partnered with Great Point Media in the UK to deliver that.  How important is sales, distribution and marketing and to be on message with your film from the beginning and to have a clear understanding of what you are selling as a filmmaker?

OR-M: I am not sure that it is necessary at the beginning because you could create an idea and then start to shoot, develop it and the actors bring something else to the film that is not planned.  So, I don’t think we should think like that.  You should be very flexible in your mind and be open to everything.  It’s OK if you change –and it’s not the original, original idea that you end up with. Not everyone has the talent of Quentin Tarantino, who says: “This is it” and pushes everything and everyone to the limit in order to get exactly what he wants.

Storytelling Tips

IFS: In terms of storytelling, videographers come to us and some of them struggle when it comes to the editing process. They shoot beautiful scenes, but when it comes to the edit they find it a challenge to make an engaging story. What tips would you give them?

OR-M: People is the answer. I don’t know if they are struggling, but you are raising a very good point – we are in the business of people, so it’s about asking yourself, who I am going to work with?  It is a job where you, as the creative, need the people that you work with to be talented, not necessarily creative.  If you surround yourself with the “right people” the end product will be so different.  Each of them will bring you something different.  Each of them will bring something you did not think about. We are in a business – yes – but the business of people.  This could be applied to any industry, any business. It is all about talent.

Secret Sauce

IFS: When you were a judge at Cannes Lions in 2018 what were you looking for and can you give us an insight into the secret sauce you were looking for?

OR-M: We spoke about emotion.  But we should not forget the impact.  The purpose is the message – but if it does not have impact no-one will see it or hear it.

The final thing I look at is KPI – this is a big thing. It could be qualitative or quantitative research.  It could be engagement – reach. It depends – every brand has different factors. It depends on what you want to achieve.

Partnerships with Brands

IFS: Talking about partnerships and brands, are there any “best in class” brands that create beautiful audio-visual contents?

OR-M: I love companies that are creating content for their people such as Red Bull or Coca Cola, because they do this to provide something extra special and meaningful to people.  Patagonia is also a brilliant brand. They are meaningful in what they do – especially for younger audiences.

Irish Film School Teaches Creativity

Student Actors from The Lir Academy performing in “Game Over” written by John Boorman shot during his recent Filmmaking course.

IFS: We have launched a new range of courses centred around the craft and business of filmmaking in London and Dublin.  Our Filmmaking course led by screenwriter and director, John Boorman, brings students through the creative process of filmmaking from script to screen – helping them to train their creativity muscles!

OR-M: I am sure this course gives a great insight into the key areas of filmmaking that would be useful for people at various stages of their filmmaking career.  

Enrolling Now

The Irish Film School is now open for enrolments for our Spring 2019 programme. Order your FREE brochure today!

Watch “Game Over” and please leave us your feedback & comments!