Production Services

Meet the Producers!

Interview with the Partners of Progressive Productions

Exactly how and when did you establish Progressive Productions?

Iván: At first we were working in television with Zoli, but even then we wanted to do our own project, so we decided to create a series of documentary films. We thought out every detail and we even produced the pilot episode with our own money. We had to realize that we wouldn’t be able to sell our own projects in this country’s limited market, and we also totally ran out of money. Then we had an opportunity to work on a commercial as producers. The Advertising Agency was really satisfied with our work so they continued to work with us on more projects. After all this positive feedback, we founded Progressive.

Exactly how and when did you establish Progressive Productions?

Iván: At first we were working in television with Zoli, but even then we wanted to do our own project, so we decided to create a series of documentary films. We thought out every detail and we even produced the pilot episode with our own money. We had to realize that we wouldn’t be able to sell our own projects in this country’s limited market, and we also totally ran out of money. Then we had an opportunity to work on a commercial as producers. The Advertising Agency was really satisfied with our work so they continued to work with us on more projects. After all this positive feedback, we founded Progressive.

Zoltán: One year after starting the company, we were still a very new company, but we decided to test ourselves on the international market. Thanks to our open-mindedness, courage, hard work, and the fact that we were the only new generation production company in Hungary, this move turned out to be very successful.

Zoltán Haulis Biography

He obtained a degree in Communication and Media Studies from a Hungarian university. During his years spent studying, he actively participated in the faculty’s academic life: with one of his researches he won the second prize in the country’s most prestigious student conference. In addition, two other researches of his were published in full length in the most popular media journal. After leaving the school bench, he joined one of the longest standing production companies of the country, where he became a lead associate of a daily television show. He was mainly focused on the show’s visual aspects and its constant renewal in which he achieved outstanding results. He founded Progressive Productions in 2009 with Iván Gerő, with whom he worked together on the aforementioned television program.

Iván: We felt that working in the international production market would help our progress. Before working in television both me and Zoli worked as journalists, so we have a background and an insight into the industry which is more content centered then production centered. I think that the thing that makes us special is our background, our approach to production, and our experience. We can help to create the content of the projects, and our clients really appreciate that.

In your opinion, what makes Progressive Productions unique?

Iván: I think our speciality is that we make a lot of effort to get to know our clients’ goals and ways of thinking. We try to pass on our local knowledge to our clients. When they ask something from us, we make it happen of course, but we also try to suggest ideas to make the project better. So far my experience is that our clients really appreciate this attitude.

Ivan Gerő Biography

Ivan was raised in Budapest. His mother is an economist and father is a professor of history. During his high school years he lived in the USA for a while. He got MA degree in communication studies in Budapest. After finishing the university he started to work for different TV shows as an assistant producer and later as line producer. He founded Progressive Productions with Zoltan, who was his former colleague with the aim to build up something that is fresh and unique in the Central European market.

What are Progressive Productions’ biggest advantages and strongest features?

Zoltán: We have always been reliable and trustworthy. We have financial stability for our projects, for example we have bank guarantees to lock exchange rates. I think it is also important that we work with responsible, well-known crew members and suppliers, who have already proven their reliability many times.

Iván: What makes us strong is that we have come a long way and we really appreciate working. We have put a lot of effort into building this company and every time we win a project, we feel euphoric. I think this attitude is a very strong feature in this industry.

Another thing that’s very important is that, as I mentioned before, we have to get on well with our clients and I think we are especially good at that. Once every year we travel to a country where one of our clients comes from to learn about their mentality and their perspectives on the industry. Finally, I’d like to stress that continuous communication with our clients is very important, because this is the only way to fulfill every request properly.

How would you describe Progressive Productions, what kind of services do you offer and to whom?

Zoltán: We offer a wide range of services. We produce and service produce commercials, tv movies, documentaries, photo shoots, and we also work in the digital or corporate genre. Plus, we offer lots of in-house services, for example our in-house location service. I think I can say without any doubt that we have the most extensive location database in the market. We work on it every day, because our goal is to put together the finest location database. So far this includes over 100 thousand location photos.

What’s very special about our location database is that we made more than 95% of it ourselves. I would like to also highlight our talent casting service, which is also unequalled in the country. Not only do we work with the best agencies in the country, but we have also developed such a casting method with which we are constantly searching for new talents. Our project management is also done completely in-house, because we think that a project will only be great if we control most of the processes.

Iván: A very important part of the different services we offer, is that we follow the actual trends of all the genres we work in. Our work is especially consistent, but we apply different mechanisms to different genres. It is really important that we understand the differences in various genres

What aspects do you take into account when choosing your team, crew members for the shootings?

Iván: Putting the crew together and hiring the right people is a great responsibility. We work with a well-known professional freelance crew, who have worked on all of the international projects shot in Hungary.

 It is also important that we always pay attention to the details, for example we only hire people who speak English well. We have a digital database in which we keep record of the crew members we have worked with over the years. We keep track of and rate everyone’s work so we know where and when we worked with someone and how the quality of their work was.

In the last few years you have worked on several American TV series like Covert Affairs and Royal Pains. What was it like to participate in the making of such shows?

Zoltán: We very much enjoyed service producing these shows, and I hope in the future we will have more opportunities to produce further series. These shows require a great deal of work, patience, teamwork, cooperation, and flexibility, but it’s really worth it. We were very lucky that the creators and producers of the shows chose us to work with. It was a great experience. The American producers were looking for that flexibility, and freshness that we represent and luckily they found these qualities in us.


Iván: It is a great feeling to participate in a show that is being broadcast all over the world. It feels good to show the beauty of the city that we live in. This is why we feel like a little part of us is now in the show.

In the last decade there have been more and more projects being shot in Budapest. Why do you think it is worth shooting in Hungary?

Zoltán: I think that producers choose Hungary because they hope for and expect something different, for example more interesting locations than those they could find in their own country. They are not wrong to expect that, so far everybody was satisfied with our country. For instance, the team of Covert Affairs came here because they wanted a city that could look like Moscow, and the fact that the Moscow scenes from Die Hard V were shot here convinced them. After this the creators of Royal Pains decided to shoot here because they heard about the good experiences that the Covert Affairs team had. It’s really interesting that they first wrote the script for Prague, but they liked our locations more, so they rewrote the script for Budapest. In the end I think every one of them was really happy with the outcome.

Iván: Many features make Hungary a great choice for shooting. We have a 30% tax rebate for documentaries and feature films, beautiful scenery and locations, the production value is high, and our price/quality ratio is the best in the surrounding nations. In Hungary you can get great quality for an affordable price. Budapest has other pros, like the fact that it is an incredibly beautiful and a very colorful city, our film industry has a great history, and the people who work in it understand how all of the genres work. Budapest has a freshness, a novelty, and it is very dynamic and flexible. As are we. Plus several projects were shot here because of our company, so I guess we can consider Progressive as an advantage too.

What would you say to those who are considering shooting in Budapest, why should they choose Progressive?

Zoltán: Our company policy is based on stability and reliability, we always take everything into account, we won’t ”forget” anything from the budget just to make our offer seem more favourable. For those who want a reliable, trustworthy company handling their project, we are the best choice in town. One must understand that when a producer would like to shoot in a country, where they have not worked before, then there are multiple ways that they can find a local partner. We truly value a client who does in-depth research via the internet. This is why we developed our website so it would share as much information as possible in order to assist that a good decision is made. If someone chooses us, then they will not get a surprise packet, since all information about how we work is public. If someone only chooses a local partner merely based on a recommendation, then they will still not be able to be truly certain that they have decided well, since they have not seen anything about their work.

How would you describe your client policy in some keywords?

Zoltán: Our main goal is to have a trusted partnership.

Iván: Reliability, trustworthiness, honesty, responsibility, flexibility, and fairness. These are the keywords. Plus, we have received much positive feedback about our „can do” attitude. This attitude makes it possible to work out requests that seem impossible at first.

What do you think makes the shooting of a project successful?

Iván: We really try to create a good vibe on the shoot, because we want to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. This is becoming more and more of a goal for us, to create a stress-free environment for shooting, because these moments, these days are unforgettable memories for us and for our clients too.

After many successful years in Hungary, You opened an office in Vienna, Austria as well. Did you outgrow Hungary or what was the reason for this step?

Zoltán: It was not at all the case, that we felt that there were no further opportunities to develop in Hungary. It was simply because many of our previous clients with whom we shot in Hungary, asked whether we knew a production company in Austria, that we would recommend. Therefore there was a demand, making Austria a promising area to expand to. Also, I grew up by the Austrian border, so I always was in contact with that country and the German language. But I am not alone with this; Hungarians generally are closely connected to Austrians, due to their partially interconnected history. So this is how we decided to open an office there as well. It was not simple, because Austria is completely different than Hungary: it is a lot more expensive, the legal system is different and people’s mentality is different, therefore shoots are different there too. We typically work with an Austrian-German-Italian crew in Austria, depending on the precise location of the shoot.

What are your future goals? What would you like to achieve in the coming years?

Zoltán: I would like to make good strategic decisions regarding the future. As a company we have to make a lot of decisions every day which affect our future, so my goal is to make the best decisions possible and through this help Progressive get stronger and become the market leader company.

Iván: I’d like to make Progressive a well-known company all over the world. It feels great every time to hear a positive feedback or to hear about a former client recommending us to another potential client. I would like our potential clients to know that when it comes to Budapest, Progressive Productions is the company that is worth working with.

What do you consider the best, the most positive feedback you have ever received from a partner?

Iván: For me the best feedback is when we keep in touch and stay friends with our partners after the project. When it comes to our performance, the biggest honour for us is when a former client returns to us to make another project or recommends us to someone else.

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