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Creative Inspirations: Renegade Animation, Animation Studio
Illustration by John Hersey

Business & production philosophy


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Creative Inspirations: Renegade Animation, Animation Studio

with Renegade Animation

Video: Business & production philosophy

(Music playing.) Ashley Postlewaite: I mean, I am sure Darrell feels the same way. Sometimes it's when you wake up and go, is this my company? Like, I am not old enough to be having a company like this. So, there are those moments of sort of surprise when you find yourself at the helm of something that you have built, where at the same time there is-- I think, Darrell and I have both always taken very seriously the fact that how we conduct ourselves is how our company will conduct itself.

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Creative Inspirations: Renegade Animation, Animation Studio
1h 2m Appropriate for all Sep 01, 2009

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Renegade Animation has pioneered digital 2D paperless animation with a unique all-Flash workflow—and a bunch of really great cartoons! This installment of Creative Inspirations gives viewers an inside look at this innovative character animation studio. Partners Ashley Postlewaite and Darrell Van Citters describe how they left jobs with major studios to form their own company, and how they have been able to create a successful business that defies all the rules and provide a great working environment in the process. Learn how these renegades have evolved traditional character animation into a completely digital workflow that provides greater creative expression and faster turnaround.

Subjects:
3D + Animation Creative Inspirations Animation Documentaries
Author:
Renegade Animation

Business & production philosophy

(Music playing.) Ashley Postlewaite: I mean, I am sure Darrell feels the same way. Sometimes it's when you wake up and go, is this my company? Like, I am not old enough to be having a company like this. So, there are those moments of sort of surprise when you find yourself at the helm of something that you have built, where at the same time there is-- I think, Darrell and I have both always taken very seriously the fact that how we conduct ourselves is how our company will conduct itself.

And so, we do think a lot about culture and I think and we have insisted upon it being that way, for selfish reasons, mainly because that's the only way I want to live, that's the only way I want to function, that's the only way Darrell wants to function. I don't want to be upset at work everyday. I don't want to be frantic. I don't want our clients to be frantic. I don't want our employees to be frantic. Darrell Van Citters: And then when we started doing things on our own, we were aware of having worked on a lot of commercials that combine a lot of action and animation, that the production philosophy at a lot of those places was panic.

We have a tight schedule and we'd whatever we need to do to get to make that schedule. So, if that means working on Saturday, Sundays, working still 3 a.m., we are going to do it. And I looked at it and I said, I don't think you need to do that. I think you plan the stuff out in advance, you don't need to run in panic mode all the time. So, one of our founding philosophies, and I think we have managed to institute it very well here, is we don't operate in panic mode. Ashley Postlewaite: One thing that has been super, super important to me is my involvement in the entrepreneurs organization. Just have had a fantastic experience with the organization for several reasons.

One is, I have a small core group here in Los Angeles that I have been meeting with for 8 or 9 years every month, who are my sort of confidential personal Board of Advisors and I serve in that capacity for them as well. We share all kinds of information and questions and thoughts and things that we really wouldn't have anywhere to share them with, if not for this group.

These are not conversations you necessarily would have with your friends or your family, especially if it's something sensitive, whether it's a personnel issue or cash management issue or anything that is very, very important to your business. To have a place where you can go that's safe and confidential has been amazing. Darrell Van Citters: Well, I think one of the benefits of doing something like animation is the chance to collaborate. You get to work with a lot of good people and what I like about it is I am constantly surprised by what somebody else brings to the process and that's the fun of it, to me.

If I had to do everything, I would find it rather tedious and I know I don't have all the good ideas, but if you start off with your idea and then somebody builds on it, somebody else builds on that and you start to get more than you would have ever gotten if somebody was just saying, this is my vision and I am going to follow it all the way through. To me a Director isn't the boss. They are the guide and that's the way I look at this thing and I think that's part of the reason that the staff here is the way it is, is we don't -- I am not trying achieve a vision. We are trying to all work together and get the best result we can.

My big thing, what I suppose you can call it my soapbox, is I don't think the tool should dictate the results. I think you should dictate the results and then use the tool to get there. Every show, every episode we would work to improve both the production pipeline and how the animators use the tool, so that I think by now, not only do we have a very good production pipeline, but I think we have animators who understand how to make this tool work for them instead of being hidebound by it. Ashley Postlewaite: We are a technology-based company in that we are doing digital paperless 2D animation, but we don't have tons and tons of expensive equipment.

What we have is people and that's really our key ingredient and what makes us, I think what sets us apart from others. Second to that though, I mean we realized a very long time ago, even in our very early years that in order for us to make a company that was worth something in the long run, we have to create some stuff that we own and we are not dissimilar from any kind of service business in the world I think. You know, that is always looking for that thing that we can begin to make money off of, while we are sleeping or doing other things.

Because in a service, I mean, we can get bigger and bigger and bigger in terms of service as demand calls for us to, but there is only so many hours in the day and service is based on the amount of work that you are doing. So, I think what has to set our sorts of company apart is our attention to and our dedication and our investment in some things that we own. That could be technology-based, it could intellectual property-based, which it is in our case, and I think in most cases. That's our hedge. Has it worked? Mmm, come back and talk to us in a couple of years and we will see.

It certainly makes our life more exciting and gives us something to sort of hope for and work toward, but it is that thing that I think puts us into the next phase of where our company was hopefully always meant to go.

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