Outlook 2020: The evolution of a studio
Nick Martini
Issue: November/December 2019

Outlook 2020: The evolution of a studio

I started Stept Studios a decade ago with my brother. We were making ski and snowboard films while in college at CU Boulder. We didn’t come up through the traditional method, focusing on just one role in our industry to study and perfect. We grabbed a camera and headed out to shoot, learning all we could along the way. I grew up in this business doing it all: producing, directing, shooting and editing. As a result, Stept still very much embraces a hands-on approach. Our team in LA now works as a creative and production studio for brands and agencies around the world.

Our directors and core collaborators are all deeply involved in the edit, sound, and color on any given project. They’re such an essential part of a filmmaker’s process. So, as the scale of our productions grew, it made sense to learn how to manage these resources ourselves. This led to the addition of our in-house motion graphics, VFX, CGI, media management, sound design and mix departments. Today, our post division represents the largest part of our staff. Being able to offer the ability to fully realize our vision of a project within our own facility is huge. Our directors love having that level of control and known collaborators all the way through. And our clients love that we have the ability to fully execute the vision for every project.

Finding the right talent has been key to making our post division capable of the very highest level of creative execution. The foundation of our strategy is discovering up-and-coming talent who have their finger on the pulse, who challenge the norms and push boundaries. We have curated a progressive and up and coming and post team, supported by senior leadership, who mentor and guide them. This approach has been the catalyst for fresh visual executions and unexpected discoveries. The new talent coming up in this business have more, and earlier, experience than ever before. They are digital natives who have grown up making films, and what they are capable of is astonishing. It's incredible to watch an artist right out of college creating commercial-grade CGI on their Macbook Pro. The creativity is palpable as soon as you walk in the door!

While Stept has traditionally operated as a full-service shop from production to post, in the last two years we have had a sharp increase in requests for post-only bids from existing clients and new accounts. As a result, we’ve been able to scale our post efforts and our facilities, now offering more than 20 workstations for editorial staff, fully enclosed bays, and a color suite.   

Through our experience and expertise, our post production department has taken on a life of its own and we plan to rebrand the division in 2020. We want to give this team its own identity and work to expand our services even further. We intend to be a compelling post solution for brands and agencies alike, and we’re thrilled to have Stept's long-time collaborator and head of post production, Connor Scofield, lead the charge as we look towards the future. By ever-evolving our capabilities and innovating in the production space, we continue to build a large and loyal client list, and expand the threshold for the future of production. 

Nick Martini is a co-founder, CEO and director of Stept Studios (www.steptstudios.com), which has locations in Los Angeles and Jackson, WY. The studio’s work includes branded films, commercials and design.