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Post-production Case studies

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Tim KennedyPost-production Case studies
by on Oct 14, 2009 at 3:52:02 pm


I'm looking for Business case studies for Post-production companies.
In the process to growing and formalizing my post company. I'm looking to study other businesses, (ie. business plans, capital for equipment, general start up information) Have had little luck finding specific information for post production. Would anyone have information where to find said information or would anyone like to share their own experience.
I am a small 2D animation house that hopes to expand to 3D services and broadcast design. Any input would be appreciated.

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Tim WilsonRe: Post-production Case studies
by on Oct 14, 2009 at 5:06:03 pm

Howdy Tim,

Tens of thousands of people are going to see your post in the next few days, but I doubt that many of them have case studies on hand. Besides, case studies aren't as useful here as elsewhere. There are only a handful of ways to be a bank, for example, but a virtually infinite number of ways to get from where you are to where you want to be.

However, as you've seen here, we're all quite chatty. Ask a specific question or two, and we'll have at it!

In the meantime, follow the Tutorials link in the orange navbar to find a wealth of business articles in the Cow library. Then follow the Podcasts link to hear some great stories and advice.



Tim Wilson
Creative Cow Magazine!

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

Don't forget to rate your favorite posts!

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Ron LindeboomRe: Post-production Case studies
by on Oct 14, 2009 at 5:09:15 pm

And might I suggest that you get to knowing and reading Creative COW Magazine. Every issue is filled with stories about companies in this arena and how they do what they do -- often, with a business-side twist included as a bonus, free of charge.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry

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Brendan CootsRe: Post-production Case studies
by on Oct 14, 2009 at 6:48:09 pm

The problem with case studies is that, unlike coffee shops or other straight forward operations that share very similar results, this industry is pretty unique in terms of what leads to success. One company finds internet marketing to be a waste of time, while another gets loads of work from online channels. One company succeeds because of huge investments in equipment while another fails because of such investments. One company enjoys 50% profit margins while another gets closer to 5%, and in some cases the company with the 5% margin is more successful overall. Some people define "paying the bills" as successful while others think anything less than $5M in annual revenue is a waste of time. When you add in other variables such as target market, region, customer service, area of expertise, pricing etc. it's almost impossible to successfully apply case studies to your own situation.

In my opinion, you can learn from the mistakes/experiences of others when it comes to specific topics (should I buy my own cameras vs. rent) but looking at business models or case studies might not be very helpful (or wise). The studio that saw no action from online marketing might not have been doing it properly. The company with the 50% profit margin may be scaring away long-term customers and ultimately fail within 3 years. In the end, the saying "results may vary" applies heavily here.

Your question is ultimately something like "how do I run a successful production studio?" The answer is not to look at the overall models of others, but to look at key pieces of information and formulate your own picture. In your local area, how many other studios are there, that offer the product you want to offer? What do they charge? Are they successful? Are they micro-studios or large agencies? What are your SWOTs? Are you going to need to steal customers or is there a large, local customer base? Based on your research, what advantage can you leverage to break into the local market and/or beat the competition? In essence, it's business 101 that applies to ANY business out there. Answer the fundamental business questions, then build a business plan around those answers.

Once you have a solid plan, follow it religiously or you will be like a ship without a rudder. It's nearly impossible to improve your operations if you can't reliably look back and identify what failed and why. A plan is nothing if not a series of benchmarks against which to compare actual results. When you deviate from the plan, you rob yourself of the ability to compare actual results to the plan and modify as necessary. Did the plan fail because it was a bad plan, or because you didn't follow it to the letter? You will never know, so it's best to build a plan you can trust, based on research and informed projections, and stick to it without fail. At the end of each month/quarter/year, compare actual results to those projected by your plan and, if needed, adjust the plan's assumptions that failed to hold true. After a period of time (possibly a few years) you will have worked the bugs out of your plan and will have a very reliable method of projecting future growth and income. It is at this point that you can put together a larger, more ambitious plan and really grow the business. Trying to do so before you've worked these bugs out is a bit like slamming on the gas in a car with bald tires - you'll probably just sit there burning rubber but going nowhere fast.

One final point - sometimes the "business plan" you build is a one-line plan that simply says "Don't do it." You absolutely have to be willing to go where the numbers and research point you, and sometimes you find that there is simply no money to be made, either because of local conditions, lack of access to capital, inability to realistically compete etc. In these cases, you can either make major adjustments to the plan to make it "work" or go back to working for someone else, comfortable in the knowledge that you just saved yourself years of frustration and many thousands of wasted dollars.

Good Luck

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.Re: Post-production Case studies
by on Oct 14, 2009 at 6:56:49 pm

And the rest is here:

If you have very specific questions, shoot away. :)

Emre Tufekci

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Mark SuszkoRe: Post-production Case studies
by on Oct 14, 2009 at 7:30:17 pm

Brendan, your last paragraph alone was worth a million dollars.

"Oh, you wanted to RECORD that?"

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Ron LindeboomRe: Post-production Case studies
by on Oct 14, 2009 at 7:44:42 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Brendan, your last paragraph alone was worth a million dollars."

So, since you read it, Mark, when can Brendan expect to start seeing your payments?

(Man I loved that one -- ha!)


Ron Lindeboom

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Mike CohenRe: Post-production Case studies
by on Oct 16, 2009 at 2:57:16 am

Asking to read "case studies" seems to indicate someone who recently got their MBA, or someone who has read a lot of business books but not actually worked in the business in question.

If you have worked in post-production, you probably know what factors you need to consider before expanding or creating a business. Regardless of the type of business, you need to know the same facts: is there a market and demand for what you are selling, and how much do you think you can make (based upon overhead, cost of doing business etc).

As the others have so eloquently put it - ask a specific question and you'll get specific answers, or opinions, or both.

Mike Cohen

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grinner hesterRe: Post-production Case studies
by on Oct 16, 2009 at 7:39:20 pm

Mine is real simple. If the gig justifies it, I buy it. If it doesn't, I don't. I write no business plan because the plan is to evolve with the industry. I study no cases as they have nothing to do with my clientele and workflow. I think too many folks see this as a business and perhaps it is to some. If it were for me, I'd dress better and dislike it.

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