Bend, Ore. – June 4, 2020: Headquartered in Bend, OR., Production Squad is a full-service production company that produces photo & video content for photographers, agencies, and clients globally. Clients include Walmart, Verizon, Athleta, Apple, Charles Schwab, Fitbit, Amazon, Sprite to name a few. Darcy Diamond, Owner/Executive Producer, is the force behind this 25-year-old successful production company.
We sat down with the gracious Darcy Diamond for a brief Q&A to learn more about her, Production Squad, best practices adopted pre and post COVID 19, and the contributions she’s making to our Central Oregon economy, including opportunities she’s creating for our locals.
EDCO: Tell us more about Production Squad and how you got your start?
Darcy: Production Squad had been in business for 25 years. We are headquartered here in Bend, with offices in Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Lake Tahoe. We like to think of ourselves as a team of experienced, organized, innovative problem solvers, devoted to making everyone’s lives a little easier and each production better than the last. We operate by these 16 principles:
- Always be available and present
- Focusing on our optimism / can-do attitudes / sincerity
- Recognize everyone’s value
- Dedication to sustainability
- Demanding excellence from ourselves & all team members (the squad)
- Every problem has a solution
- Take intelligent risks
- Provide the best customer service
- Support on all levels
- Work hard and have fun
- Freeing people up from distractions, making everyone’s lives a little easier
- Exceed expectations
- Never forget your skateboard
- What you need, we deliver
- Prioritize free parking, charcuterie, & $5 Fridays
- Recognize everyone’s value / our crews work WITH us, not FOR us
Prior to my transition from freelance to full production company 25 years ago, I spent 8 years combined as an Art Buyer for an amazing ad agency in Los Angeles called TBWA Chiat/Day and then in San Francisco for Publicis Hal Riney. During this time, watching producers in their roll, I knew I wanted a more hands-on approach to problem-solving and being in the details of making the magic happen. When I decided to make the shift to production I reached out to all the amazing connections I had made, including the various photographers I had worked with, during my years as an Art Buyer. All of them were so supportive of this transition and hired me immediately to start producing. I was very lucky that my first production job was with Doug Menuez on a Saturn car shoot.
EDCO: What does it take to land the jobs you do?
Darcy: We are so fortunate to work with some of the most talented photographers, creatives, and clients in this business. Our entire business is built on reputation. The talent we work with trust us with their productions and call on us to share their creative. We collaborate on how to make their vision come true and do a lot of research to provide an estimate on their project. Often we are triple bidding against other teams. If we are awarded the job, we put together the crew and handle all the logistics with this team from location scouting, casting, wardrobe, props, hair & makeup, travel, talent, catering, etc.
EDCO: Why Central Oregon? How has the move here been for your business?
Darcy: I received a call from a photographer 12 years ago because he knew I was a climber. He was bidding on a pharmaceutical job that involved rock climbing and the client specifically requested a non-descript location that could be anywhere in the world. Living in California, I knew that places like Joshua Tree and Yosemite would be too recognizable. I had been to Smith Rock on a camping and climbing trip a few years prior and pitched the idea based on real photos of me climbing there. The client loved the idea! We came out to Bend and had the most amazing shoot. I fell in LOVE with this place, the town, and the people. I went back to California and convinced the family that moving to Bend would be magical. We put the house on the market and made the move within a years time.
Initially, I kept our move to Bend under wraps for fear of ‘out of site, out of mind’ for the business. Slowly, I started telling people about it and they were so receptive and trusting and excited for us that it quickly became part of the conversation.
EDCO: Tell us about your plans to expand your company and why?
Darcy: We travel so much all around the world for our jobs and we live in such a beautiful place. I’ve always hoped to bring more production to Bend and Central Oregon. With the COVID quarantine, we decided to put all of our resources into adding and building a location division, Bend Location, and a talent division, Talent Squad, to our company. We are currently in the midst of building these custom sites, scouting, and getting them to a place to start sharing. In the meantime, you can learn more here.
EDCO: Tell us about any other initiatives you’re involved in?
Darcy: We’ve been certified by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). We are partnered with No2Plastics to reduce single-use plastic for the planet. Part of this is thru use of Hyrdroflask products on our production. Every year we align with a charitable cause that we are passionate about and pledge 1%. This year it is All Hands and Hearts. Previously, we aligned with Everytown USA and Operation Underground Railroad. Additionally, we are working towards becoming a B Corporation.
EDCO: How has COVID 19 affected Production Squad? How have you pivoted? What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Darcy: We’ve been at a complete pause since the travel ban. All our jobs canceled until just a week ago. A lot of our clients are starting to gear up to start production and are asking questions on how we can move forward.
The crews will stay the same – we will try to pod them together so that we can keep teams together in safe ways similar to how we have quarantined. There are a lot of changes that we are incorporating into our production in terms of sanitization, who travels to shoots and keeping the crew size to a bare minimum. Our teams have all become OSHA certified and we have established a COVID protocol to keep everyone safe. Many clients and agencies will not travel. In response, we’ll set up remote viewing with the help of Zoom to accomplish their vision and have all their thoughts and voices be a part of our live productions. Our best practice COVID plan is outlined here.
EDCO: Have you worked on any COVID 19 related initiatives to support neighbors and community?
Darcy: I have actively remained deeply involved in supporting local businesses. We’ve been ordering most of our food at open restaurants and each week I have chosen a different local shop to support. I’m wildly impressed with how these businesses have pivoted to stay open and continue to share the beautiful offerings they do in this community. I recently learned about SOS Bend and am excited to participate deeper in that. With the expansion of Production Squad in Bend, we are excited to hire locally and support more of the businesses and individuals here by bringing more productions to our amazing town.
EDCO: How do you think this has changed you for the future / forever vs just now? What have you learned?
Darcy: I’ve learned so much. Not only from the facts of the virus and what is required of all of us to stay healthy and keep our amazing first responders and hospitals safe and operational but I’ve also learned how to have patience on a level I have never known. My main goal this entire time has been to keep my 3 full-time employees employed and with the help of the PPP, we have been successful in doing so. I hear ’the new normal’ being used over and over and just keep thinking that every day there’s so many new details, news, and continual evolving information that for me I keep thinking about staying present and treading water optimistically. This has been a very challenging time on so many levels for so many people: our first responders, business owners, our schools, teachers, our kids, all the parents trying to homeschool, all the teachers trying to teach on a new platform and home school their own children etc. It’s kind of mind-blowing how everyone has been continually adapting to these changes. I have been mindfully trying to remain present, grateful, and attempt to add whatever optimism I can into our collective energy as a whole.
EDCO: How do you support EDCO (membership) and why?
Darcy: I was lucky enough to be introduced to EDCO when we needed a parking lot for production and it happened to be right in front of their offices, so we became a member last year. My job involves so much travel, that I haven’t been able to immerse myself to the level I would like to and meet more outstanding community members. With the sights on bringing more production to Bend, I’m hoping to participate on new and exciting levels and meet many more people.