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In the spirit of our mini series on starting a studio, let’s talk about how to get around defining a vision. Studio visions generally are made up of one or more ‘pillars’. Ours happens to have three, and these pillars make up our studio’s vision.

This vision guides us to build something larger than ourselves. We’ve briefly talked about how having a good understanding of your vision makes the path to reaching your goals clearer and easier. So in this post, I’d like to expand a little into each of our three ‘pillars’!

Three things we really care about when defining a vision

  1. Building a creative environment
  2. Developing a sustainable route to a meaningful creative career
  3. Executing future-ready, high-quality global CGI work

1. Building a Creative Environment

The environment in this case is the studio! But more importantly how the creative space within the studio is carved out! It’s the intangible safety of allowing the mind to wander and explore. The studio is only as creative as it is willing to risk sounding stupid for the opportunity to discover great ideas. Our goal is to constantly find ways to empower artists to speak up and carve their vision into the world.

We’ve found that actively being stupid and silly first, helps encourage others to then speak up without risking embarrassment. On top of that, if a ‘bad’ idea is shared by someone, we find that spending the extra brain muscle to explore the feasibility of a seemingly ‘bad’ idea can lead to wonderful results and foster a stronger creative hub. (Read: “Why bad ideas lead to good ideas“)

There are always new types of artists, so although there really isn’t a master solution for everything, there is a master-concept that is thematically applicable to almost every creative discussion. Which is that, there are USUALLY no bad ideas. They are just either misaligned or unpolished. And it’s the director’s job to align them together with the participating artists.

2. Developing a Sustainable Route to a Meaningful Creative Career

The pressure to secure money can force a studio to give in to unhealthy timelines or budgets. So when faced with the dilemma of ‘paying the bills’ or ‘creative growth’, we must remember that every unsustainable job accepted, actively hurts the studio her clients. There are three parts to sustainable and meaningful work. Time, budget and progress.

Healthy timelines prevent burnout; So no over-time.
Healthy budgets provide food and shelter; So no discounts.

Healthy timelines plus healthy budgets provide room for growth both in terms of physical space-time, and monetary reinvestment into upgrading skills and equipment. All of which are essential to create great work for others, and ourselves.

The thing is that we can’t blame clients for unreasonable timelines and budgets if service providers are undercutting ourselves. To the client, it might just seem normal and/or a good deal. And it’s easy to see how this can spiral into a self-perpetuating issue. It’s important to remember that every time a value is tested, it’s is an opportunity to strengthen it or weaken it. —And it stacks.

When the means to achieving quality work is meaningfully sustainable, the studio will be able to happily deliver quality for a long time. Benefitting any forward-looking client.

3. Executing Future-ready, high-quality global CGI work

Lastly, for us, the third pillar in defining a vision for our studio, is producing high quality work. There are many valid ways to define ‘high-quality’, but at the base-line of ‘quality work’, it needs to mean something to someone. Things that no one cares about would have a hard time finding a spot on the ‘things-of-quality’ menu.

While high resolution and details in renders are desirable qualities to have, at face-value, we don’t necessarily equate them as ‘high-quality’ if they don’t mean anything to anyone. Kind of like cooking — Just because Himalayan pink salt is a great, it doesn’t mean you should be adding it to your cup of green tea.

So let’s loosely define ‘quality’ to be the meaningful application and design of visuals that support and enhance a story’s message. And let ‘high’ denote the level of which it is executed and appreciated. Timeless work generally tend to be meaningfully created, and appreciated by many — Global.

Part 3 done! Now, onward and beyond!

For now, that’s more or less all I have to share regarding the journey of ‘starting’ our own studio! You can tell that it’s really mostly all about envisioning and believing in the purpose of the studio! And spending the time and effort to defining a vision for the studio paves a clearer path ahead.

There will be other types of blog posts here ranging from shares like these, to others that cover our experiences and learnings working on different types of projects with clients/partners, as well as production tips and findings! We are by no means near our end goals, so we look forward to all the days ahead waddling through the mud as we sail into the beautiful unknown. Hope to see you on board or across the ‘sea’! Cheers! 💗

Nicholas Chia

Author Nicholas Chia

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