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November 2014
Issue: June 1, 2011

Pitching, and competition

By: Marc Loftus

This month, Post had a chance to speak with a number of studios that are helping networks and television shows establish unique identities through visuals. Broadcast design is an art, as many will attest, with the goal of creating or identifying a brand through stylized imagery, much of the time relying on CG.

As interesting as it is to hear about how facilities attack these creative challenges, what came up time and time again when speaking with pros this month was how competitive this segment of the business is, often pitting as many as a dozen facilities against each other — with almost no budget to create a pitch — to secure the job.

Scott Matz, with NYC’s Thornberg & Forester, says his facility’s reel and Website are not enough to secure a job. They’re only enough to get an invitation to compete for one. And with powerful post tools, such as Adobe’s Creative Suite, available to designers for such an affordable price, sometimes the competition is simply a guy working in his garage.

Chris Roe of Fish Eggs in Santa Monica was one of those guys, up until he set up his formal shop just over six years ago. He recalls some of the early pitch meetings he attended while working out of his “smaller” space. One was for work on Season 5 of Fear Factor. He knew he was competing against bigger facilities with proven track records. While waiting to be brought into the pitch meeting, he overheard executives talking. “Who’s this guy?” one asked. “He’s the guy in the garage,” exclaimed another. It was then that Roe realized how important it was to have a formal setup, with the competition being so heated.

Years later he can joke of the experience. In fact, a few years back, while working on the refreshed American Gladiators, an EP that he had worked with on Fear Factor recalled the incident and said they appreciated the fact that he was sort of a hidden jewel back then — a hard-working independent who was less expensive compared to larger and more established facilities. Today, Roe says Fish Eggs continues to “keep it lean,” knowing where the competition can come from. See our “Broadcast Design” feature on page 16.