If you're a bigwig agency creative or head of production, you've likely gotten a call from Tom Mooney recently. He's been working the phones, spreading the word about the arrival of The Mother Ship.
Formed by Mooney (who closed Headquarters late last year after a 15-year run), veteran director Joe Pytka and Pytka's longtime executive producer, Tara Fitzpatrick, the new venture offers production support solely to agency creatives who want to direct the spots they've conceived while remaining in the agency fold.
"We've noticed a trend that more and more creatives want to direct but not leave their jobs at agencies," says Mooney, executive producer of the New York branch.
Fitzpatrick holds the same position in the company's Los Angeles office.
Lynn Roer, senior partner/director of broadcast at Ogilvy & Mather, New York, sees The Mother Ship as offering a valuable service. "I think the beauty of The Mother Ship is that if you do have [a creative] who is talented enough to direct and a client willing to go there, having production professionals on board creates a comfort zone."
Other industry insiders maintain The Mother Ship doesn't offer anything that isn't already available from other production companies. (Numerous companies ranging from @radical.media to Biscuit Filmworks to Believe Media have provided production support to creatives choosing to direct their own work.)
Pytka begs to differ. "There's no agenda with this company," he says. "We're not promising, 'If you give us so much work, we'll make you a director.' The only agenda here is for great creative people to control their work as much as possible when they see fit."
Anyone hoping to co-direct with Pytka through The Mother Ship should forget it—you're on your own. "The Mother Ship is not for Joe to direct through," Mooney stresses. "Joe has enough business [through Pytka, his Venice, Calif.-based production company]."