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Trigger may be the biggest little interactive shop that probably has never been heard of. This amazing boutique shoots out web sites, online games, Facebook apps, and iPhone apps for major motion pictures like Spider-Man and District 9, and consumer brands like Nike and Red Bull. Combining a talented design team with solid software engineering, Trigger has mastered the integration of creative expression and technology. With offices in Los Angeles and Shanghai, they've found the elusive winning formula for East-West collaboration. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside what may be a prototype for the next generation design firm.
(Music playing) Jason Yim: Our clients, I'd say, predominantly are entertainment, so all the studios. Work with Sony. We work with MGM, Paramount, Fox, Warner Brothers, India. And non-entertainment clients, we work with Red Bull on their Motorsports, Nike, out of China, Jenny Craig, where we do their social network, Twitter stuff, Facebook stuff, then also iPhone, now, for Jenny Craig, some pharmaceutical companies, which is interesting because it's like so opposite from entertainment.
But we actually, initially, had tried to land more clients out of China. We have Nike out there. We did some other projects out there too, but when we first started pushing on the biz dev side in China, it's really interesting, it was like the web side in the US, but in '96 or something. It was like Wild, Wild West, like the clients had just, weren't - it's not a very mature market yet, and it was also very, very price competitive.
So what we found was if we sold a project in the States and we built it in China, then we keep these margins that were healthy. If we try to sell in China, we were competing with China prices of the other agencies, so we would lose a lot of bids just because of that, that we were significantly more expensive than anyone else. The second thing that we found, which was really interesting, was that it was so loose that we would go in and we would present all the stuff that we have done, and they would say, "That's really great stuff, but we don't believe we actually did it." That was like - that's almost a common - not, I won't say common practice, but it does happen sometimes in China, where people would be just assembling a portfolio and showing stuff and not actually be responsible for creating that portfolio.
So we ran into things that you would never run into here. As Trigger, I think, evolved and matured, definitely our client relationships changed in the same way. Typically, when we first start with a client, it's, I mean, it's quite competitive in the film-marketing world. There is a few big shops. There is a lot of medium shops and there is a ton of tiny shops. So, initially, we would be pitching a lot, like we would have to do a lot to win a piece of business because everyone else was doing a lot to win that piece of business.
You do a big PowerPoint presentation. You actually might do a motion graphics demo to show how a game might work. But it's a lot of upfront work invested, but over time, as our clients trusted us a lot more, it became much more of a shorthand process. So, with Sony, for instance, it got to point where they would just assign the work to us. They would know they wanted to work with us on this specific movie because our thinking just matched.
So, they would either give us a budget to start with, or we would come in and read the script and just come up with ideas and then try to fit it into a certain budget. But there would be no pitching and that actually helps, I think, the quality of work, because instead of burning a month and a half, or a month, kind of thinking in your own world and a lot of time and effort mocking up an idea that 99% of the time never would make it to the light of day, exactly how you pitched it, it just started off as a very collaborative effort.
So, we might come in with a Word document, not even a document. It's like one page of bullets and say, "This is what we think about the campaign "in general." And we just sit in the room and just discuss it. This is not so good. Add this to it. And then, from there, we could build it out to a longer document. We'd actually start doing wireframes, get to a point of like kind of filmmaker presentation so that the directors or key cast would, or producers, would agree to the campaign.
But that works much better than pitching project-by-project. Now it's gotten to a point for 2010 that we are actually - we'll sign a deal for multiple movies at the beginning of the year, and at least get, like, a baseline of work sold for the entire year. I think that's a huge, huge show of trust from the client, that we definitely appreciate, but - and their benefit is that, we can actually dedicate a team to it.
and know what they will be working on from day 1 to December 31st for the next year. With other clients it's slowly moving in that same direction. So, Sony is kind of the leader on that side, on that relationship side, but other clients are kind of catching up, in a way. The pitches are just getting much smaller. We are just getting down to Word documents, at a certain point. But new clients, we still have to do the full dog-and-pony show.
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