Friday, April 22, 2016

Three Business Tactics From Prince

Just as Prince the musician was at once visionary, experimental, subversive and successful, so was Prince the business executive.  

The genius gift of Prince's music will be with us forever, but I also hope we remember some of the business tactics that seemed to serve him well:

·         Manage Supply – Prince strategically limited exploitations of his work and avoided overexposure in order to maximize the value of his music and brand

·         Embrace Change – Prince was not afraid to cycle through an array of advisors and business models in order to best support his individual career path

·         Be an Active Leader – Prince was a fiercely outspoken artist rights and copyright advocate, which he leveraged to favorably renegotiate at least one record deal

What lessons have you learned from Prince and his great legacy?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Productions Running Away to... Birmingham, Alabama?

Dozens of post-production/visual effects houses in the Los Angeles area have gone out of business over the past few years - or moved to locations such as Canada that offer tax incentives to producers.

According to anecdotes from visual effects artists and others who were formerly employed in LA post-production houses like Laser Pacific, it seems that most of LA's post-production jobs had moved outside the United States.

So, during a recent trip to Alabama for the 2016 Sports and Entertainment Symposium (SES), I was surprised to learn that one of the beneficiaries of runaway productions has been Birmingham and it's rapidly growing post-production house, Red Sky Studios.

A photo posted by Cedar Boschan (@auditrix) on



Red Sky Studios' CEO Stephen Preston explains that Alabama's "film incentive covers 25%-35% of covered expenses."

A photo posted by Cedar Boschan (@auditrix) on



Should you have any questions about what Alabama production or post-production costs may qualify for Alabama subsidies and/or tax incentives, I met an accountant who audits production expenses to see whether they comply with the state law(s).  His name is Mark Underhill, CPA with Barfield, Murphy, Shank and Smith and I imagine he should be able to consult with you to answer your questions and ensure you or your client are complying with the relevant legislation.

Alabama's tax incentives and its growing track record of work (e.g., the visual effects in the movie Woodlawn, for example) are definitely driving expansion at Red Sky Studios, which is growing beyond Birmingham, Alabama;
Much of Red Sky Studios' work is performed on-site but some aspects are outsourced to foreign workers.


Red Sky Studios Woodlawn VFX Reel from Red Sky Studios on Vimeo.

On a private tour of Red Sky Studios in Birmingham, Alabama, we found the facilities to be nondescript (no sign out front) but impressive.

A theater and man at work at Red Sky Studios:




We hope Red Sky Studios enjoys so much growth that it opens an LA office.  There are plenty of underemployed visual artists and editors here, after all!