Postmortem: Big Idea Productions (Veggie Tales): What really happened...

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Old 02 February 2013   #16
Originally Posted by LukeLetellier: because the thrust of his message has to do with those individuals who become incredibly arrogant because they believe that they are the mouth of God --- "God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. "


This makes me think of Mark Twain:

"Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion, several of them."
 
Old 02 February 2013   #17
Originally Posted by LukeLetellier: From what I understand, that's exactly what he's doing. I don't think he ever wanted to be a part of the business decisions, it just fell onto his shoulders. He's much more of a creative person who likes to have his own quiet space. A friend of mine interned with him in 2011, and said that even though there were only a few of them in the office, he very rarely talked with Phil - not because they didn't want to talk, he's just a very naturally quiet person.... like most of us I would think.


I've always thought that artists generally make terrible business people, because I think many artists lack the ruthless traits that a good business person requires. And I don't mean ruthless in a negative sense; at the risk of generalising, I think creative people have a greater tendency to make decisions with their hearts, not their heads, and that's bad for business. Business requires a lot of hard decisions that shouldn't be emotionally-motivated, and I think a lot of creative people tend to struggle with this.
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Old 02 February 2013   #18
Originally Posted by leigh: I've always thought that artists generally make terrible business people, because I think many artists lack the ruthless traits that a good business person requires. And I don't mean ruthless in a negative sense; at the risk of generalising, I think creative people have a greater tendency to make decisions with their hearts, not their heads, and that's bad for business. Business requires a lot of hard decisions that shouldn't be emotionally-motivated, and I think a lot of creative people tend to struggle with this.


Exactly. How many people here have said they want to "create their own studio" or whatever, but had no idea what sort of responsibility that actually entails? Over the years I've really come to respect and appreciate many business-type people for having to make the difficult and sometimes painful decisions they do. For everyone who thinks that being the big boss or studio head is nothing but Hawaiian vacations and 3 martini lunches, they've got a lot to learn.

That was the first thing that came to my mind reading the article. He still believes in God after that? I think most people would have thrown in the towel on faith.


Well, the beauty of faith lets losers think that God is "testing" them and winners think that God ordained their success. How convenient.
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Old 02 February 2013   #19
Originally Posted by leigh: I've always thought that artists generally make terrible business people, because I think many artists lack the ruthless traits that a good business person requires. And I don't mean ruthless in a negative sense; at the risk of generalising, I think creative people have a greater tendency to make decisions with their hearts, not their heads, and that's bad for business. Business requires a lot of hard decisions that shouldn't be emotionally-motivated, and I think a lot of creative people tend to struggle with this.


Whenever a meet a successful business person I can tell there's something different about how they work, that makes sense that they got where they are.

Since as artists we know what our own industry is like, I think people should realize you can't just pick up business just like you can't just pick up 3D.
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Old 02 February 2013   #20
Originally Posted by leigh: Argh. I realise I'm now treading on sensitive territory, but what irks me about this is that if he thinks like this, then he's never going to get anything done. He didn't fail because he was trying to glorify himself, he failed because he made a number of poor decisions, put his faith (for lack of a better word) in the wrong people and planned things badly.

If he thinks that the only thing that stopped him was his selfishness, then he's never going to learn anything and any future endeavours are likely to end up going the same route because that's not why he failed. With a mindset like this, he's really not cut out to be doing business. He should stick to the creative side and hire business people to deal with the business side of things.


It's not really that simple. I'm sure on many days he thought "I'm going to build a Top-Four Family Brand FOR GOD"... and he'd STILL fail because he would still have hired "Bankers" at the top of his corporate structure... he would still have no understanding of feature film financing.. he would still have no signed contract for VeggieTales' distribution (which by the way was something he failed to cover BEFORE he started increasing the scale of the operation).
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Old 02 February 2013   #21
His story has loads of flawed business assumptions. The biggest mistake was trying to grow too fast and assuming growth was going to continue or even increase when they clearly didn't have enough market research about their target audience.


When the company gets to the point where it starts getting too bogged down with staff who don't have a healthy fear of the company failing, there's a problem. Sure they might all be great, knowledgeable people, but they need to get back to the basics. That sense of fear of failure is what helps drive a company to succeed - regardless of how great its product is.

They need to make smart, informed, and realistic decisions, not idealistic, hopeful decisions.

Most companies statistically will fail.

It seemed like he felt like he was going along with the flow instead of actively steering the direction of his business. I mean, even when he knew something was wrong and that he shouldn't sign those papers - he gave into peer pressure because it was just easier and didn't involve hurting his friend co-workers.

He hired the wrong people to manage his company who wanted to grow too fast and it bit everyone in the end

Last edited by sentry66 : 02 February 2013 at 06:50 AM.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #22
I wonder how the Asylum keeps going.
They get terrible reviews/ratings, they got sued for a Hobbit rip off and had to change the name, the dvd market they used to depend on is mostly gone, yet they still appear to churn out movies every year.

I guess they dont need to worry about piracy too much...
 
Old 02 February 2013   #23
Originally Posted by kelgy: I wonder how the Asylum keeps going.
They get terrible reviews/ratings, they got sued for a Hobbit rip off and had to change the name, the dvd market they used to depend on is mostly gone, yet they still appear to churn out movies every year.

I guess they dont need to worry about piracy too much...


Or maybe they do have a basement.. where they are in fact pirating other movies? *Ka-Ching!*

I know of a few animation studios in Japan (surprisingly high-profile AAA ones) that retain a second identity making pornography.... That one explains their ability to survive.
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Old 02 February 2013   #24
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: Or maybe they do have a basement.. where they are in fact pirating other movies? *Ka-Ching!*


lol yeah maybe that's it.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #25
Originally Posted by kelgy: lol yeah maybe that's it.


I also remember that Disney's Touchstone pictures had a bit of a reputation making R-rated content (or basically films Disney couldn't make normally because they featured prostitutes, girls dancing on bars, a naked Daryl Hannah, or a swarm of spiders that killed people slowly, or whatever). I bet the money from those was also pretty much welcome.

Minnie may ask Mickey how he's been spending his "late nights at work" but I guess when Mickey builds her the Magic Kingdom, she just has to stop asking where the money is coming from.
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Last edited by CGIPadawan : 02 February 2013 at 01:10 AM.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #26
I know what you mean. I know I could have been much further along in my career were it not for the mistakes I made. It really sucks to look back and think of what could have been. What would be different if I had stayed in Japan when I realized I could sell more of my stuff in a day there than I could in a month at home? What would be different if I stayed with TOKYOPOP? I'll never know, of course, but if I was him, I would have been content to make half hour videos of my indie content forever, even if I had 10% of the sales he had.


Can you tell us a little more in dollars and cents about the Japanese market vs the market you are in now? Was it all that differant?

Oh and 10% of his sales would be "one million dollars" - Dr. Evil

That was the first thing that came to my mind reading the article. He still believes in God after that?
Good for him.

. He didn't fail because he was trying to glorify himself, he failed because he made a number of poor decisions, put his faith (for lack of a better word) in the wrong people and planned things badly. If he thinks that the only thing that stopped him was his selfishness, then he's never going to learn anything and any future endeavours are likely to end up going the same route because that's not why he failed. With a mindset like this, he's really not cut out to be doing business. He should stick to the creative side and hire business people to deal with the business side of things.


Quoted for agreement. He put to much faith in people. Contracts, get a contract. I think he was a good "small" business man but not a good "big Business man". I don't need to have a contract for the guy that cuts my lawn but for buying a house I need a contract. He needed to hire the right business types. He hired the wrong business types. Shelf products vs movies.


"God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. "
I have to say I'm a religious person. Very active in "church". This dude is a great quote!

I've always thought that artists generally make terrible business people, because I think many artists lack the ruthless traits that a good business person requires. And I don't mean ruthless in a negative sense; at the risk of generalising, I think creative people have a greater tendency to make decisions with their hearts, not their heads, and that's bad for business. Business requires a lot of hard decisions that shouldn't be emotionally-motivated, and I think a lot of creative people tend to struggle with this.


Creative person does not equal a good business person. It takes a certain mind set. Not even brains make a good business person. I've known the dumbest people, mentally, who are wired to start businesses and make tons of money. They are just wired that way. IT definitely takes a certain type.

I wonder how the Asylum keeps going. They get terrible reviews/ratings, they got sued for a Hobbit rip off and had to change the name, the dvd market they used to depend on is mostly gone, yet they still appear to churn out movies every year. I guess they dont need to worry about piracy too much...


I've searched every interview and read everything I can about the Asylum. Basically the key to their success is make a lot of movies, make them fast, ride the coat tails of big budget marketing, hire a has-been actor and keep the movies cheap. Most of their movies are 250,000K and down. They profit about 5 million per year. Been in business since 1997. They simply don't get too big for their britches. Found a successful formula and stuck to it. Oh and I heard they do get pirated alot from different countries.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #27
Originally Posted by AangtheAvatar: Not even brains make a good business person. I've known the dumbest people, mentally, who are wired to start businesses and make tons of money. They are just wired that way.


Aha! So that clears up the mystery of Donald Trump for me. Thanks!

Sorry for OT..

Cheers,
Brian
 
Old 02 February 2013   #28
Originally Posted by kelgy: I wonder how the Asylum keeps going.
They get terrible reviews/ratings, they got sued for a Hobbit rip off and had to change the name, the dvd market they used to depend on is mostly gone, yet they still appear to churn out movies every year.

I guess they dont need to worry about piracy too much...


If I remember there was a blog post concerning this by them, and they really went into this cable market - including si-fy (was that the latest spelling?). While tent pole film are great, people doesn't want to see Avengers every night they return from work on their cable.

So Asylum decide to make movie with budget enough to make a profit after selling it to cable distributors, and dvd distributors. Interestingly, they are quite popular. At my favourite DVD rental store, their DVD always being 'put in the open'. It's like there are people loves their dvds here (not everyone rich enough here to own cable).

And you know what, some of their film also shown on the late night free tv channel.

So yeah, they do changed with the times.

With Vimeo have pay per watch and YouTube is doing the same, I wonder when will Asylum try to make a film for these distribution channel to test the water. They do have fans.

It's like XKCD or Cynade fans. We all know it just stick figures, but we really, really, like it.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #29
There's definitely a market for B grade films - I know, because I'm part of it. I love cheesy crap, and while I think the best B grade stuff was made in the 80s, I bought Sharktopus on DVD and have watched it loads of times. It's a laugh riot. Hell I even bought Piranha 3D on Blu-ray. That shit is hilarious. Companies like Asylum do well because they produce low budget flicks and sell them to cable channels, as well as release them on DVD, and people like myself do buy them. Since their overheads must be really low, they can probably make a profit pretty easily.
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Old 02 February 2013   #30
Originally Posted by leigh: There's definitely a market for B grade films - I know, because I'm part of it. I love cheesy crap, and while I think the best B grade stuff was made in the 80s, I bought Sharktopus on DVD and have watched it loads of times. It's a laugh riot. Hell I even bought Piranha 3D on Blu-ray. That shit is hilarious. Companies like Asylum do well because they produce low budget flicks and sell them to cable channels, as well as release them on DVD, and people like myself do buy them. Since their overheads must be really low, they can probably make a profit pretty easily.


There definitely was something different in B-grade film making when you consider that B-grade in the 80's included stuff like "The Wraith" and (to some extent) James Cameron's "The Terminator" and "Battle Beyond the Stars".
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