Marko Albrecht’s immediate challenge is time management. He’s a new father of twins, founder of his own digital ad agency and documentary filmmaker. Life is good.
He always wanted to be a producer. After creating short videos and films throughout childhood, he interned at the Filmworkers Club in Chicago at 18. A soccer scholarship to Long Island University in Brooklyn got him hooked on the energy of New York. "Just out of college, I met a producer on an airplane who is now Creative Director at USA. He saw something in me and brought me to TRIO where I worked as an AP in On-Air Promos until they went off air in 2004.I then worked a variety of gigs the next few years at Style, Current TV and on feature films.”
Albrecht moved to New Jersey when he got married in 2006 and briefly joined the commercial real estate firm, RJ Brunelli.Soon, he was back in media and started a nightlife webseries that profiled nightclubs and DJs across the USA. With millions of views and revenue share on YouTube, the web series was a success, but the topic just wasn’t compatible with his lifestyle. He cancelled the show, but it taught him how to use video as a branding and online marketing tool. In 2007, he started Essential Creative, a Woodbridge, NJ based boutique ad agency that specializes in social media marketing, digital production and branding.
"Essential generally works with 3-4 clients at a time in order to give each brand the attention it truly needs. Our client Muscle Maker Grill grew from 14 to 50 locations across the country in the 2 years we have worked together.We constantly adapt our social media marketing and media consulting to fit their growth. Essential recently won a Telly Award for our online commercial for client SSP Nutrition. I’m a dual citizen of USA and Finland, so we have worked with Finnish companies MultiTouch and Bublaa on their launches into the USA.”
Albrecht relishes the diverse skill set needed as an entrepreneur. "I had to learn everything because I needed to do it all myselfat first. All the technical skills as well as the creative process. My favorite part is to come up with the vision for a brand and see it through. It’s a beautiful thing to see an idea come full circle to reality.” His company has a small staff, including young video editors/shooters that Albrecht finds and mentors. "I wanted to work with younger kids to give them a start. They are amazingly skilled at a very early age. They’re naturally comfortable with all things digital.”
In today’s world, it’s hard to offer just one service – Albrecht knows he has to be ready to do it all.One of the key things about being a producer is that, even if you don’t know how to do something, you learn and adapt to what needs to be done.
"The most exciting thing in my life right now is fatherhood,” he shares. It’s changed everything. I’m also passionate about a personal project, a documentary about my Mom. She passed away when I was 16. Mom was an artist and writer who emigrated from Finland. Her story deserves to be told.”
Albrecht joined the PGA early in his career. "The PGA has been a great asset to me and my company. The people I meet are amazing. The Producers Guild Awards and Produced By Conference are great events. It’s wonderful to be part of an elite society and have instant credibility because of it. New Media Council members have been mentors and partners in projects. The diversity of the membership is perfect for me. Finding good people is key and the PGA can help. A talented network expands your capabilities.”
Question of the Month: What’s the most exciting innovation happening in the industry today?
"Social media changed the way that businesses and marketers associate with their customers and fans. You must be transparent. It’s the only way to be successful today. You can’t get the results you want by just running a TV commercial anymore. It’s changed so fast and we’re all learning.”
"Also the advancement of equipment is astounding. For example, new DSLR cameras allow you to create a super high-end look on almost any budget.”
"Whether you produce films or manage clients, if you’re not working with social media, you’re dead in the water.”