Josh Usheroff, Producer, Black Box Productions
Josh Usheroff is a producer, director and cinematographer at Black Box Productions in Montreal. He specializes in commercial production and branded social video.
What makes your productions unique?
At Black Box Productions, we treat every project like a blank canvas, without assumptions or shortcuts. We design our creative approach to achieve strategic objectives with the ultimate goal of connecting with the viewer. Our work is thoughtfully created with purpose. We believe that craft matters. We have an extensive network of Canadian creatives and technicians, so we can bring in the right team for the job. https://www.blackboxproductions.tv/
Black Box won the only gold medal received by a Canadian producer during the Luum Awards with its “Cypher” case. How has Black Box managed to become a local benchmark?
When directors Rouzbeh Heydari and Ken Galloway approached us to produce the pilot for Cypher we enthusiastically agreed. These gentlemen are talented storytellers. We felt their particular contribution to the conversation around mental health and caregiving was worthy of our support. It’s incredibly rewarding to be honored with a gold medal from the Luum Awards, particularly considering our indie project was in competition with some of the biggest agencies in the world. We want to extend a huge kudos to Ken and Rouzbeh!
Cypher: Four-Year Hiatus (pilot episode with D-Sisive) https://youtu.be/CifV2CJ_Kk8
Black Box Productions has been producing commercial projects and branded content in Canada for over 12 years. Our focus has always been producing high-quality, well crafted videos. We mostly let the work speak for itself and we’re rarely seeking the spotlight. Over the years we’ve developed strong relationships with Canadian brands and agencies, but in many ways I think we’re still flying under the radar of the larger advertising industry. I hope that will change in 2022, as we make more of an effort to connect with our peers and industry leaders.
Have budgets changed significantly due to the pandemic?
Aside from when we halted production in March / April 2020, our revenue has remained relatively consistent throughout the pandemic, but the kinds of projects we’re pitching have gotten smaller. In a sense the need for video has increased as brands seek to foster a connection with their customers without in-person communication. But for the safety of our crew and clients, we’re not pitching the larger scale projects where you have 40 or more specialized technicians or scenes with many actors. We’re producing a larger amount of smaller scale shoots, more authentic and less glossy, compared to pre-pandemic days.
Will this new productions and budgets trend continue post-pandemic?
I think most brands already realize the power of video to connect with audiences across time and space. I don’t see the need for production slowing down anytime soon. That being said, I do look forward to the days when we can return to larger scale productions and give carefree high-fives at wrap.
Do you think creativity depends on the budget?
As a smaller production house, we understand how to be nimble, resourceful and do more with less. That being said, having a healthy budget allows you to achieve your creative vision without having to hold back because the location that you want or the look you’re trying to achieve is out of financial reach. There’s creativity to be had at every scale. There are some impressive videos produced by creators in their basement. So of course, you don’t need a big budget to make something creative. But in order to have a sustainable career, and to afford to bring on technicians that are at the top of their craft, a reasonable budget definitely helps.
But almost as important as budget is time. A good idea takes time to develop and prepare, and takes time in the edit to finesse. We’ve all worked on projects where everything needs to happen asap, and the adrenaline forces everyone to come together, but often allowing a little more time to think through the brief, sleep on it overnight, or experiment with different ideas, will lead to eureka moments that budget alone cannot provide.