Recently we spoke to Giggle’s managing Director, Jonathan Brigden, (on the phone because as usual he is always on a train or on his bike and rarely in the office) about his role and how he ended up at Studio Giggle. Here’s what he had to say:
What is your role at Studio Giggle?
I’m the Managing Director. I run Giggle’s finance and HR, but also oversee all output in the studio. I’m the team mascot, agony aunt, supplier of biscuits…
What is your background?
When I was younger I wanted to be an actor but then I got good at being a musician. My Dad, who is a doctor, said to go with music was the lesser of two evils! I studied the Cello for 4 years at the Royal College of Music, but got bored of sitting in a room alone for 8 hours a day practising. It did teach me dedication and hard work though. Getting to a very high level of skill at something as tricky as a musical instrument is always good training for your career ahead. I’ve found that high level musicians can apply that rigour to anything they put their minds to.
I then became a creative director/ promotor/ manager of big music projects. I became known for doing crazy collaborations; like orchestras and DJ’s. Someone would ring me up and say something like: “We need an orchestra for Top of the Pops tomorrow”, I’d sort it for them. Nowadays clients come to me and say: “I want to do something crazy and cool but I’m not sure what or how”, then I go away, figure it all out and then make it happen. It isn’t really that much difference.
I’ve always been in the business of managing creativity – which is a bit like trying to hold mercury. It’s great ending up delivering something better as a team than people could create on their own. It can be a bit like herding cats.
How long have you been at Studio Giggle?
About 5 years. I met Steve (founder) in Dubai in 2013 which sounds more glamorous than it was. We were on a UK trade and industry mission, promoting the UK’s creativity. We were both looking for new business partners and seemed a good fit. I started as a consultant (a bit like a dating period), and then (when we wanted to get married!) I became MD soon after, in 2014.
What’s been your favourite Studio Giggle project?
There are many to choose from, I really enjoyed our work earlier in the year for the World Economic Forum but really it’s got to be the Game of Thrones Premiere we did at the Tower of London. It was so quick: a six-week turnaround. And it was so big, the biggest event we’ve ever done, and it was the biggest project client Sky had ever done. It went off without a hitch and everyone from the CEO down was delighted.
What is the best bit about your role?
The variety – it really is completely different every day.We are often creating something from nothing, with no time to do it. Sometimes the clients let us get on with it, and thats what makes it exciting.
And the worst bit?
It’s hard work, the role keeps you on your toes. I balance creative direction, HR, finance, sales, marketing etc. Creativity is very hard to manage, creative people are not always straight forward so translating that artistic vision and clarifying that down for a client that isn’t as used to working in this way is sometimes a challenge.
What keeps you creative?
TV, music, exhibitions, film, theatre, all the usual stuff – I find keeping myself fully immersed in everything and bouncing ideas around with the rest of the team really helps keep me fresh. I like being challenged by not just the client but my team.
What’s going on outside of work?
Life is going on! I try and get out to exhibitions, the theatre, the cinema, gigs etc etc as much as I possibly can. My 18 month old springer spaniel, Juno, gets me out on long walks and that is always great for clearing the head.