Issue: July 1, 2010


Last month in this space, I mentioned what I perceived as a slight hiring trend throughout the industry. Another month has gone by, and we’ve come across numerous similar announcements. I call it: “good news.”

The Mill hired nine team members in recent weeks. The Whitehouse and RingSide Creative both opened new production arms. Manhattan Born and Cause An Effect launched operations. And large multi-million-dollar production complexes broke ground in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Here in NYC, Mega Playground also expanded, adding 14,000-square feet to its existing 30,000-square-foot footprint. Eitan Hakami is president of Mega Playground and saw the expansion as a well-timed opportunity. The company already offers editorial rentals, online DI services, color correction, telecine and audio post, but the expansion would increase its available production space. Not stage space, but office space that can accommodate producers and coordinators who may already be using their post services. “Before people even start thinking about laboratories, they need a place to set up and start working,” he notes. “The proximity to the post gives us somewhat of an advantage, both in getting the initial call and [keeping] us close to the producers at a very early stage in production — before decisions are made.”

Since opening at the end of March, following a complete gutting and rebuild, the production space has been booked to capacity. “We built it to spec to all of our needs and likings, and it is specifically designed to have both office space and editorial,” says Hakami, who cites HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack as one production that has taken advantage of Mega Playground’s services. “It started with office space, then dailies, then editorial,” he recalls.

Something as simple as an office where clients can make a few phone calls holds a lot of value, he explains. “If you treat them properly and fairly, as we do, on something as mundane as office space, more than likely they will consider you. The trust factor is already there. We still compete on rates and services and quality, and all of the things that go into decision making, [but] we already have a relationship.”