It's always exciting to welcome new companies to Soho Soho. This week we popped over to Creative Outpost to check out their gorgeous studios and hear from the team. Co-founders Danny Etherington and Quentin Olszewski took some time out from their busy day to tell us more about their offering. There was plenty on the agenda including offices in Sweden, who would win in a fight and rollerskates..!
So, grab yourselves a cuppa and immerse yourselves in Creative Outpost.
Check out their studio space here: http://www.out-post.tv/creative-outpost-studio-1/
1.What inspired you to create your own company?
Q - Starting up with Danny was a no brainer, it was obvious and simple, a great mate and one of the few people I could trust to run a business together.
D - If I’m honest, all career moves in the past have been led by our client’s needs and this is no exception. To have full autonomy to service any account requirements is a real motivation behind our venture.
2. You recently expanded into new premises, tell us about the place.
D - Like the cat that got the cream. My dear friends have designed and built a visually stunning, creative space that produces a ‘wow’ as soon as you enter for the first time. With our shared floor space with Angell Sound too, 'time poor' clients can run simultaneous audio/post sessions with ease. A fantastic working environment.
Q - We also opened up in Sweden. Cleverly designed with a focus on serving clients both onsite and remotely, offering London talent in the local market (and vice versa).
3. What’s the worst client experience you’ve ever had?
D - Agency vs Production Company physically fighting in the suite. Hard hat on, I had to be a UN Peacekeeper on that one!
Q - Upon seeing an edit for the first time, the client hated the grade, sound, edit & VFX, it was nothing but silence & felt like a black hole opened up in the suite; 48hrs later everyone was clapping and cheering.
4. How did you end up in VFX?
Q - I quit my job at DeBeers, worked the bar in the local Rugby club where I met the receptionist from MPC & the rest is history.
D - I used to record the TV shows I liked, pause the credits and write to the Exec Producers for any advice. I was on letter 79 (on a list of 287) when I got my first break as a runner at MPC (and met that chap Q).
5. Who was your inspiration when you first started in VFX
Q - MPC had an amazing collection of talent, both artist and producers. Paul Franklin, Richard Stammers, Alex Hope, Peter Grecian.
D - 8VFX heavy, genius artists and also client facing Ops who can manage projects efficiently, inspiring that client confidence. I had the pleasure of learning from both, (as above for VFX) and Alan Young for the latter.*
6. If there was one thing you could change about your job what would it be?
Q - The hours and the pressure, but that is also the part of the job that makes it different from any 9-5 job and therefore more challenging and fun.
7. Both your careers span over 20yrs, what’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out?
Q - Being humble is a far easier character trait to work with than a Diva. Focus, learn and work hard, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd of people trying to enter this industry.
D - Patience is a virtue
8. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an artist?
D - An actor! I was the lead in the school play when I was 10, so the talent must be in there! Then riding pro BMX at the X-Games between jobs.
9. What makes Creative Outpost standout?
Q - We are small and personal, everything we do means something to us; each campaign has our team embedded in it.
D - Preparation and Instinct. At the script stage, we pride ourselves in our ability to foresee where a project may slow down or change focus (aside form the obvious) & then we prepare accordingly.
10. What’s your favourite thing about working in Soho/Sweden?
D - I left Soho once for work and that was a stint in Oz. I left because I’d had enough of those 6 or 7 streets, but then missed it like crazy after a year and it called me back.
Q - Stockholm doesn't have a “post district” like Soho, but it has amazing creativity that comes from the agencies and production companies. Its a hot pot for talent, Directors, DOP’s, 3D artists and even education in the industry.
11. Who’d win in a fight?
D - Q, easily! We’ve tried before, so I know.
Q - Danny has been going down the gym, I have not.
D - Let’s raise money for charity with a rematch?
12. How many times have you had to sleep at the office and why?
Q - I have done more 50 hour days than I wish to recall, sleeping at work 3 nights a week, 2 hours on the sofa before the next clients turn up.
D - Several occasions, mainly project related! The old Mill in the 90’s used to have a bedroom I think? Deadlines are deadlines.
13. What’s the best part about working with your team?
Q - I don’t ever recall working with a team as solid and committed as the team we have now. They/we really do solve everything that comes our way, even in very difficult situations. It feels so great to be able to trust their professionalism.
D - Our team are incredible. Starting a facility from scratch has meant everyone’s jobs cross over and we all have a better understanding (and respect) of what we each do.*
14. What’s the longest shift you’ve had to pull?
D - 36 hours, so not much compared to Q I’d guess! It was at 7am of the following morning when I decided to take a sabbatical and travel the world for two years. So I was grateful for the push!
Q - I think it was around 2 weeks of a tight team working around the clock in 2 smallish rooms. I recall the producer coming in on the Monday, there was a small tower of Pizza boxes, the air was heavy with body odour and she couldn't breathe. She bought us all tooth brushes & got the fresh air in.
15. What’s the tightest turnaround on a job you’ve ever had?
D - Newspapers. I cut my teeth in that world and am thankful for the discipline and problem solving it trains you for. In an hour and half, we took the brief, made the ad and played it out. It weren’t pretty though...
16. If you could go back and speak to the 21yr old you, what would you tell him about the future?
Q - Things aren’t always what they seem, trust your judgement. Take the risk, don’t miss the chance. Earn, Save, invest.
D - Enjoy having long hair (as you will lose it) and put that bloody cigarette out.
17. How many commercials do you think you’ve got under your belt?
Q - Impossible to tell, 5,000-10,000?
D - It’s been a few years, so I shudder to think. We currently have a global versioning project, so one ad turns into 27 in a matter of hours.
18. Have you ever woken up with a client?
D - A wiser person than me once said to not cp on your own doorstep, but that’s not to say we’ve all not had fun on the journey...
Q - I think it might have happened, but what I do know for sure, is that I am married to a client’s best friend.
19. Tell us a secret
Q - At the time, the most expensive commercial ever made, was played out for the 1st time with the FX audio only. Just want to add, I had nothing to do with that play out.
D - I‘m quite tasty on a pair of ‘proper’ skates (not those silly rollerblades).
20. We hear the term ‘Gentrification of Soho’ a lot, has it changed for the better?
D - The food markets are amazing (sorry to the Berwick Street original traders). It does mean that rents are going up and more post/prod companies may get forced out. The day Eddy French sells up his pile and leaves Soho, gentrification will have won!
Q - No. Our favourite curry house has gone.
21. Where would you like to see Creative Outpost be in the future?
D - Our name is inspired by pioneers who went out and explored the world. We’d like to grow a little more in London and Sweden, but more so, I’d like to see us expand internationally into complementary markets/time zones, interconnected as a global team. We have a good model that transports well (and we want to explore!).
Q - Slow steady growth, finding the right people to be part of our team and our network. Keep on winning when up against the big boys.