For those unfamiliar with the filmmaking industry, the role of production companies, in a nutshell, is to get things done.
While production companies often collaborate with major studios, actors, and directors, they’re typically independent, meaning they can create a wide variety of work, supplying the teams necessary to create incredible movies, shorts, music videos, commercials, or just about any other kind of video media you can think of.
However, production companies and the people who run them rarely get their time in the spotlight.
But today, the tables have turned. We have with us Mr. Boris Labourguigne: director, producer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the highly successful production company LEFT.
Originally from the south of France, Labourguigne carved out his own space in the filmmaking industry, and more than ten years after starting his business, he’s racked up credits with some of the biggest brands and artists in the world, along with a reputation for having a unique insight into filmmaking and visual communication.
Join us as we explore the roots of Labourguigne’s success and follow the trajectory of his accomplished career.
Labourguigne is a filmmaker first, and the roots of his passion for filmmaking go all the way back to the moment his father gifted him a camcorder when he was just eight years old.
Naturally, he filmed his family and friends, but he also started to create commercial parodies and short films. Just two years later, Labourguigne directed a no-edit short film entirely in-sequence.
“I developed an interest in everything related to video, from MTV music videos to arthouse films, building my knowledge at a young age. In fact, I have a specific memory of watching the music video for ‘Can’t Stop’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2002, which ignited my passion for music videos.”
Believe it or not, just twelve years after receiving that first camcorder, Labourguigne was ready to start his own filmmaking business, and by the looks of it, that passion and creativity of his younger days is still very much present in the work he’s doing today.
In 2012, Labourguigne founded his own production company, LEFT, alongside Augustin de Belloy. Initially, LEFT’s focus was creating exceptional branded content for major brands, including Adidas, Apple, Stromae, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier.
Then, in 2022, LEFT expanded to include narrative content as well. The company provided production services for a spinoff of The Walking Dead, and there are currently multiple streaming shows in development at LEFT.
Looking back to those early days of the company, Labourguigne spoke to the primary decision that led to the creation of LEFT.
“At 20 years old, I faced a choice: either launch a small company and grow it or join a large company and work my way up. I chose the former, and despite not fully grasping the enormity of the challenge, I wasn’t overly stressed. My approach was to start small and expand organically, which allowed me to concentrate on building the company without succumbing to the pressures of success.”
Clearly, that decision had paid off, and LEFT now has operations in London as well as Los Angeles, where Labourguigne now lives and works, overseeing the company’s operations.
If you think running a production company sounds like an exciting line of work, you’d be right. But before you rush out the door to start your own company, it’s important to understand what a wide range of skills is needed to be successful in this space.
As a director, Labourguigne has to understand each project on multiple levels.
“My most valuable assets as a director include clear communication, interpreting client visions, and attention to detail. My passion for storytelling and keeping up with industry trends are essential to my success.”
As an entrepreneur, another set of skills have helped Labourguigne achieve success.
“Adaptability, resilience, and relationship-building are crucial.”
Asked whether his sense of creativity needs to be balanced with entrepreneurial concerns, Labourguigne said that he feels his creative thinking contributes to the entrepreneurial side, and vice versa.
“The combination of creativity and entrepreneurship comes naturally to me, as both aspects reinforce and complement each other in our line of work. Being the CEO of a production company with directorial experience enables me to better understand, support, and advocate for other directors in their creative journey, while my entrepreneurial mindset enhances my ability to lead the company and make strategic decisions.”
Yet another crucial component of Labourguigne’s work is seeking out and developing new talent. Whether it’s directors, actors, or crew members, he has an innate ability to recognize potential, and he also has a process for setting up collaborations with this talent.
“My process involves monitoring Instagram and YouTube for new artists, studying video credits to find key contributors, and reaching out to them for potential collaborations. Additionally, I keep a close eye on film festivals, focusing on newcomer categories, as they showcase talented individuals looking for opportunities to grow and enhance their skills in the industry.”
This contributes to a positive cycle, one in which new talent can be fostered and developed. These artists can secure major projects by partnering with production companies like LEFT, and simultaneously, LEFT benefits from the talents of these artists, creating work that adheres to high standards.
Of course, there’s also a need to work well with the clients who are paying the bills at the end of the day.
Working with clients
On the topic of branded content and music videos, Labourguigne said that, when interacting with clients, it’s extremely important to completely comprehend their vision, establish a collaborative environment, and ultimately enhance their experience. This allows the company to exceed the client’s expectations and create excellent work.
“Nurturing creativity without limiting great ideas and ensuring transparent communication generates memorable content. Engaging in open discussions with the client leads to impactful and memorable content. While it’s important to respect budgets, timelines, and manage expectations, the primary focus should always be on creativity and delivering an exceptional experience for the client.”
Delivering that exceptional experience is a fantastic way of building loyalty and inspiring clients to come back for more.
In addition, each successful project becomes part of a growing portfolio, giving prospective clients a better idea of the quality they can expect from the company should they decide to commission work.
Bringing fresh filmmaking to the US
Beyond everything we’ve talked about so far, there’s another angle to LEFT’s success, particularly here in the States.
As Labourguigne noted, there’s a European sensibility in much of his work, one that blends with American influences to create something that feels undeniably fresh.
“As a French entrepreneur with European roots, my company and I bring a unique view to the American filmmaking scene. Our love for American cinema and culture, paired with our European background, leads to engaging movie experiences. This special outlook helps us make visually appealing and thought-provoking films, adding to the richness of American filmmaking.”
American filmmaking itself has always been a blend of influences and styles, and it’s the differences in those styles that help to create film work that immediately stands out from the crowd.
Appreciating the journey
To close out our conversation, we asked Labourguigne to comment on his career as a whole. How does it feel to look back? Did you expect to find so much success, or that you would be working in the heart of the entertainment industry?
“I had no clue where my career would take me when I started so young. I just followed my instincts and built our business bit by bit. Now when I look back, I feel incredibly proud of the journey we’ve been on. Little 8-year-old me could never have imagined that, 26 years later, I’d be living in Los Angeles, chasing my passion, and working with some of the biggest names in the industry.”
And as we’ve outlined all the way through, getting to this point hasn’t been an accident. It has come from many years of challenging work. It has come from an understanding of the nature of filmmaking that has led to a series of key decisions that further built on success.
We’re looking forward to seeing more work from LEFT under Labourguigne’s leadership, and if you’d like to learn more, you can check out the company’s official website here.