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Get to know Gavin Hay - CEO of Cherry Cherry

Let us introduce you to Gavin Hay, CEO of Cherry Cherry...

Gavin Hay is well known for being involved in one of the biggest media company sales of the early 2000’s.  He has been diversely reported as being listed as one of the sucessful gay entrepreneurs in the industry and as one of the most influential people in Urban Music for his role as executive producer at the long running Flava music show. He has since been involved in many aspects of the media industry, from broadcast, live show productions and global event management. He has now, perhaps surprisingly, entered the world of post-production with his latest takeover of Cherry Cherry, the well known boutique post-house based in Fitzrovia.  Having spent the afternoon with Gavin, we’ve gotten to know him and what makes him tick and why he’s entered the world of post-production.

Tell us a bit about your history, Brighter Pictures was a big company wasn’t it?

It was, but not my first introduction to media, having worked as a producer at Inca for Channel 4. 

I set up Brighter Pictures with Remy Blumenfeld. We started out in our bedroom in Brixton, just the two of us with a small commission from Lifestyle channel, one of the first cable stations.  We produced so many shows and in the early days I both produced and directed.  As the company grew, I concentrated solely on being the managing director and in 1992 I saw the medium sized company more than double its turnover. With this rapid growth, Brighter Pictures’ reputation internationally for format-based entertainment programming soared. 

Selling the company to Endemol UK in 2001 for an estimated £10m, I remained for some time as non-executive. 2004 saw Brighter post £1.7m profit from 350 broadcast hours. 

What shows were you responsible for creating?

There’s been so many, IMDB would be a good trigger for my memory!  The ones I am most proud of are “Flava” (BAME music show, Channel4); “Get a New Life” (daily show on families relocating abroad, BBC2); “My Worst Week” with Piers Morgan, BBC1; “Bombay Blush”, BBC2; “There’s Something about Miriam”, Sky One; “Cruel Summer” for Trouble Channel; and “Gay Straight or Taken” for Lifetime USA.

What was the best part of the creative process for you?  

I loved live studio work.  The family feeling of the team and the buzz of being live where anything could, and sometimes did happen.  I never enjoyed recorded, directing and editing as much, as it seemed painfully slow. I was more attuned to energetic and frenetic live broadcasting.

You have now moved to post-production and away from actual production, what was the reason for this?

I was running a leading live events company called Drive that required a massive amount of content regularly, and Cherry Cherry was creating a lot of it for us.  It made sense to bring the two together and eventually I moved over full time.  Having just said I disliked the editing process, this may seem a little strange. However, it’s so different now and post is so creative in its own right.  Nearly all the ads you see are Visual FX, as are films and dramas.   I enjoy the fact that post nowadays is as important a part of the creative process – much more than it was in the past.

Do you miss any aspects of production that you don’t get in post?

Well, yes. I miss the location shoots, I miss the live productions, I miss the celebrities, but I’m at a different part of my life now.  I don’t miss the early starts and living out of a suitcase! Where I get the buzz now is from the team here at Cherry Cherry.  They are so creative and fun. 

You mentioned there was a move between where you are now at Cherry Cherry and your starting point at Brighter Pictures, namely Drive.  What skills were learnt and brought with you into the post world?

It was during my time at the helm of Drive Productions (a creative production agency, creating larger than life digital and live experiences) that I recognised that content creation was now way more than just broadcast.  It was king across all media platforms.

Tell us more about Cherry Cherry and the current offering at this post facility.

Cherry Cherry offers a wide array of skills, something I’m very proud to be a part of, alongside the talents of MD Ian Harland and Creative Director Hugo Saunders.  We offer a full high-end post service, using software like Flame and Maya to create amazing imagery via our top quality artists and producers who support client briefs from concept to delivery.  We have very recently collaborated with the guys at Polka to offer a full Baselight grading suite here via a joint venture ‘POP’.  I can now boast we are a fully equipped and confident post-house for both Broadcast and Advertising clients.

Broadcast and Drama post-production is a new realm for Cherry Cherry, what’s the reason for this expansion?

The world of Advertising has been very good to us.  It has given us great opportunity to work alongside the best directors and agencies for the biggest brands in a global market.  This has created a great business base, but being ever restless, it is time to expand the business.  We have the talent and capability in-house to offer a full cover for both advertising and broadcast.  It’s time to grow our customer base and our company.

Which skills needed within broadcast post will be available?

One of the main things I admire about Cherry Cherry is our artistry and quality.  This is what we will be bringing to Broadcast clients.  A high level of capability and a high level of imagination, backed up by all the technical specifications and knowledge needed to complete the work.  Cherry Cherry is also a great environment to brainstorm exciting new ideas, methods and collaboration.  It’s a hub of energetic creativity.

What are your thoughts on the future of post-production houses, especially independent ones?  

I personally think now is a boom time for independent, boutique post houses.  Creative people need creative spaces, not just factories. Clients and customers are becoming ever hungrier for exciting new ideas, and the best spaces to come up with these are in the smaller more inventive environments.

Do you have any final words of wisdom from someone with such varied and broad reaching skills and experience?

One thing I’ve learnt in post-production is that hardly anything is impossible.  Drop us a line and come check us out!

Gavin Hay can be contacted at gavin@cherrycherry.tv

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