Parkview is a London-based independent creative studio, working with brands to tell stories across film, photography, animation, and podcast production. This week we spoke to Rachel King, Founder and EP, to discuss how they work directly with brands, creative agencies, and PR houses to curate bespoke teams of freelance talent for their clients.
Rachel King by by Mike Chalmers
How was your company born and where are you based?
I started hustling for work straight out of art school and began my career as a portrait and lifestyle photographer. My love for documentary storytelling grew from there; first by recording audio interviews with my subjects (before podcasts were such a hit) and then into film.
I joined Mastered as a Producer/Director in 2017 where I found myself very much at the deep end - making short docs with world-class creatives for the Mastered learning programmes. We filmed with everyone from Virgil Abloh to Nick Knight, Ines & Vinoodh to Pat McGrath, Fabien Barron to Alessia Glaviano, interviewing them about their life and work and capturing a glimpse of their homes and creative spaces.
With a belly full of inspiration, I bounced between a couple more agencies before being made redundant in 2019 - it was time to go it alone. I wasn’t alone for long - Maddy [Madeleine Valder] joined full time 12 months later and we’ve since built a team of talented, creative, vibrant, diverse, wonderful people. We’re based in Tottenham, North London.
What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?
We opened our doors only a few months before the pandemic so of course we’ll never know what could have been. That said, I’ve never felt our growth was hindered - we sought out and maximised opportunities even in those unknown weeks and months.
I’m keen to grow the company in a very slow, organic way - the learning process is part of the joy so why rush? I’ve worked in zingy startups where an injection of cash means mass hiring and frenzied growth, followed by the inevitable mass firing when things don’t quite work out.
Without a typical agency background my approach isn’t fixed - we’re navigating the changing creative landscape without a determined idea of what a company should be doing. Our approach is more; what do we want to do, what do we feel good about making, what will achieve the best outcome for the project and the people involved? - and we take it from there.
Which was the first huge success that you can remember?
Michelle Mosqueda for Audiomovers
A few weeks into the pandemic, when the world was upside down, I got a call. A good friend and DOP had been approached with a loose brief - ‘capture content about Covid’. This project turned out to be several weeks travelling to all corners of the UK filming content with local communities, businesses and healthcare providers about their experience.
We witnessed how the pandemic was affecting those in the poorest parts of the country, and the shift in attitudes between those who could afford to take the tests and isolate, and those who had no choice but to ignore guidelines and keep working regardless.
It was fascinating, terrifying and such a privilege to be able to capture those moments in such - dare I say it - unprecedented times. It was also a real learning curve having Matt Hancock as the client.
What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?
The general feeling at Parkview is excitement - there is an abundance of opportunity out there, it’s just a case of seeking out the right projects and people. We’ve had an unusually busy start to the year and already have a number of brilliant projects in the can - now it’s about stepping up and sharing them with those who can open the next door for us.
Can you explain your team’s creative process? What makes it unique?
Marley Hutchinson for Canopy
I don’t know if we have a particularly unique creative process; we research, we develop, we concept, we iterate and so on. What makes it unique is the environment which we try to cultivate; a space which feels collaborative, generous and inclusive.
We pride ourselves on curating the best team for any given project - where everyone shares the same value system and can be their best creative selves.
How does your team remain inspired and motivated?
Good question. I think we all have our own rituals and routines. For me it’s taking pictures, reading and yoga - these things I could not operate without. Maddy is a keen cook, dancer and a music fanatic. Time out and time off is super important, inspiration comes in the real world, less often in the digital space.
How has COVID-19 affected your company?
Fortunately the good seems to outweigh the bad. It’s opened up a world where remote everything is possible, it changed the pace of our working lives for the better, it reset the norm, it reminded us that health really is the only type of wealth.
Which agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Marley Hutchinson for John Richmond
This is a hard one! There are so many agencies out there doing great, inspiring work - not just in content but in casting, PR, partnerships and so on. It’s hard not to be in awe of the major agencies delivering beautiful campaigns with hefty budgets.
But I’m more impressed by the smaller agencies who live by their values - I’ve always liked working with Crumb and Zebedee for inclusive casting, Sabine at Zettler has built an incredible communications agency across the design and architecture space with a passion for environmental change.
We’re big fans of Emma Slade Edmondon who continues to make slow fashion the sexiest way to shop. Kin & Co do incredible work in behavioural change. Film & TV Charity do a huge amount of great work behind the scenes on productions, as do Intimacy on Set whom we’re currently working with on a project. - the list goes on!
What is one tip that you would give to other agencies looking to grow?
Slow and steady wins the race.
How do you go about finding new clients/business? (Pitching, work with retainers, etc.)
We’re lucky in that a lot of our work comes via recommendation, however when I do approach new clients I target those who I have a genuine interest in or personal connection with.
The conversation flows when you already have a deep understanding of and appreciation for what the client is doing and you have a clear stance on how you can support and add value.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
Will Smith for The Age of Dance, Parkview Original
That we all waste less. If you work in the creative industries you know how much time, money, energy, effort, product, patience and sleep gets wasted - often unnecessarily. A little less waste would be great.
Do you have any websites, books or resources that you would recommend?
Impossible but here’s a few off the top of my head -
Kae Tempest, On Connection
Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist
Will Stor, The Science of Storytelling
Ed Catmul, Creativity Inc
Gem Fletcher, The Messy Truth
Matthew Syed, Rebel Thinking
Katy Hessel, The Story of Art Without Men
Marvin Heiferman, Photography Changes Everything