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September 2014
Issue: December 1, 2012

SWOT: Hooligan's Kane Platt looks at the Post Business

By: Kane Platt
STRENGTHS: “There's an opportunity in all this madness of tighter and tighter budgets. The post production industry is learning how to be more versatile and nimble than it has since the Moviola was invented. We find ourselves, as always, solving problems and pushing ourselves to make the most compelling stories — but we're doing it with more tools, better tools, and with artisans who have much more comprehensive skill sets. We have the freedom to take on projects that may have seemed impossible due to financial challenges a few years ago, execute them beautifully, and do it profitably. Those companies who can transition away from the traditional large office (hot tub terrace and pool table bar style of post production suites) to the basement (crash pad, old taxi garage, VFX on iPads, throw your laptop in your bike basket and go while still delivering the best storytelling and most innovative VFX ) just might still be around five years from now.”

WEAKNESSES: “Our industry is still in transition, many of our clients are still looking to do business in a sexy loft boutique complete with on-call sushi and hot-and-cold running car services. We've built our companies and infrastructure around this model and we have a deep human desire to ‘hang on’ to what we have built. We are paralyzed by fear, it's coming at us from all sides. Agencies are especially fearful as their traditional model is rejected more and more by their own cornerstone clients in favor of small nimble shops that are able to turn ideas around with smaller, more innovative teams at a fraction of the cost. That fear is our biggest danger, you can see companies and individuals making knee jerk decisions, panicking and suffering as a result.” 

OPPORTUNITIES: “Those businesses which can shift to a more flexible model can take advantage of what's happening. Our clients need creative solutions, tiered pricing structures, organized, passionate and talent-based editing, storytelling, color grading, cutting-edge VFX, soundscapes and first class project management. They are asking us to accomplish all this, stay innovative, and keep up with ever-changing trends and technologies on their behalf. We can do it for them, and the truth is we already are; and we can even thrive as we do it, if we are willing to listen to what our clients are telling us and do it all more creatively, more efficiently and stay more responsive to the messages of the marketplace.”

THREATS: “Complacency and false hope are our biggest threats. This train has already left the station and those of us who think its going to shift back to the old model or that things will go back to normal next year are like that frog in the pot of boiling water, and its probably already too late. If we base our decisions on what we've known in the past, we'll soon cease to exist in the present. The big, classic agencies are busy trying to re-invent themselves and small upstarts are chipping away at their blue-chip clients. We need to re-build our businesses from the future of our industry. If we convince ourselves that we're OK because the water is still pretty comfortable today, we will pretty much ensure that by the time it reaches boiling, we'll be much too dead to jump.”

Kane Platt is president/senior editor at Hooligan (www. hooligannyc.com) in NYC.