Making film and TV marketing magic with Pilot and Dropbox

Pilot develops high-quality, customised creative for the media and entertainment industry, and the team turns to Dropbox to help cut costs and supercharge collaboration.

By Louis Venezia, Owner and Chief Creative Officer, Pilot

Louis Venezia, owner and chief creative officer, Pilot

It’s a very niche thing that we do at Pilot, working in entertainment marketing and launching new shows for television stations and streamers. We create video and branding solutions for entertainment and consumer brands, anything from consumer-facing advertising and industry-facing trade materials to internal marketing communications – think shoots, A/V, print, digital, radio and beyond. To thrive, we rely on creativity, collaboration and communication.

We use Dropbox all the time to send links to client briefs and client information. Our staff is scattered around, and we’re always pulling in different freelancers for different projects. Being able to send links, know they are secure and have control over how long they last is essential when working with entertainment industry information that’s not public yet.

And we use Dropbox Paper constantly. It’s dramatically increased the margins on our jobs. Instead of writing our normal creative brief for everyone involved in the job, we create a Paper doc and use that as a living brief. You can have a conversation in there, and it’s way more active.

Dropbox Paper doc with text commented on and images of silhouetted skateboarder and waveform

Here’s an example. We’ll start with the client brief, and then the notes from our first phone call with the client will live in there. So will the brainstorms for the project. We’re logging material from episodes of television that an editor will need. We also use Paper to create scripts when we get to that point. When we have meetings, we can annotate everything in real time. It’s just so fast and easy for multiple people to work in the doc at once.

It’s completely changed the way we approach projects by allowing us to capture the value of our expert thinking early in the process, saving money on the back end. Previously, when we’d get a job, we’d immediately hire freelance writers because we were busy. We’d spend all this money on the writers and ask them to come up with a bunch of ideas for the treatment. That would take a few days, and costs add up if you’re paying five or six writers on a day rate.

We use Dropbox Paper constantly. It’s dramatically increased the margins on our jobs. Instead of writing our normal creative brief for everyone involved in the job, we create a Paper doc and use that as a living brief.

Louis Venezia, Owner and Chief Creative Officer, Pilot

We realised that with Dropbox Paper, we had an opportunity to start writing ourselves right at the beginning – regardless of where we were in the world. We have done similar pitches so many times, so our team can spend an hour or two workshopping ideas together in a doc. Then we can go to writers and ask them to refine the existing ideas and add a few of their own. We’re saving on costs because we need fewer freelance writers and we’re collapsing time – thus increasing our productivity – because the writers have a place to start from and less work to do. It allows us to scale the whole process down and improve our margins. It’s collaborative, just completely collaborative, and an absolute jump forward for our business.

It’s also super simple to create different documents for different groups. We’ll have a writer-facing brief and then our own internal-facing brief. Copying and pasting from one to another is so easy. And we can pull sections out to add to external documents if we need to send a slide deck to a client, for example. Paper is great for proofreading, too. And from a security perspective, it’s essential to control who has access. We’ll get scripts for a show, and we don’t want to share them widely for obvious reasons, so we can drop links into the doc and limit who can see it.

Dropbox Paper doc with folder navigation on left and several waveform images in main section

Getting my team to adopt Paper took no time, unlike some other products we’ve tried. I tell a story where my number two came to me after a year of using another service and said it took 12 months to get comfortable using it, but Paper was so fast. They saw the value immediately.

Today, I use Paper for almost everything that I write personally and professionally. It’s a way to get my brain dumped out where I’m not worried about losing anything. I used to create a lot of documents in other formats, and I’d worry about being able to find them again, but that just doesn’t happen with Paper. It’s an easy way to help organise my business and personal life.