The Growth Stages of a Creative Business | Creatives Grab Coffee 61

Bear Prandelli from Wulfenbear Media shares the story behind their unique company name, which is inspired by their father’s experience with Native American culture. Bear and his brother Wolf have a close relationship and a shared passion for the arts. They started their company without much experience or knowledge, but their determination and willingness to learn have led to their success. Bear focuses on client communication and networking, while Wolf handles the technical aspects and organization. Despite occasional disagreements, they have developed a strong working dynamic. The conversation revolves around the different stages of growth in a creative business and the challenges and shifts that come with each stage. The speakers discuss their own experiences and the importance of pricing, workflow, and building a network of reliable collaborators. They also explore the idea of transitioning from freelancing to becoming a business with employees, and the potential benefits and drawbacks of different team sizes. The conversation touches on the Arizona film market and the shift towards more narrative and episodic work. The speakers also share their long-term goals of producing documentaries and narrative projects. The conversation explores the concept of retainer models and alternative approaches to client relationships in the video production industry. The guests discuss the importance of building a strong relationship with clients and the value they see in your services. They also highlight the challenges and potential resentment that can arise from a retainer model if the fit is not right. The conversation delves into the idea of an annual budget and how it can provide financial security and flexibility for both the client and the production company. They discuss the benefits of having ongoing conversations with clients and the ability to say no or take on creative projects without worrying about financial constraints.

Creatives Grab Coffee is produced by Lapse Productions, a video production company based out of Toronto, Canada. Reach out to them for your video production needs.

Watch: The Growth Stages of a Creative Business | Creatives Grab Coffee 61

Listen: The Growth Stages of a Creative Business | Creatives Grab Coffee 61


  • The story behind Wolf and Bear Media’s unique company name is inspired by their father’s experience with Native American culture.
  • Bear and Wolf have a close relationship and share a passion for the arts, which led them to start their own company.
  • They started their business without much experience or knowledge, but their determination and willingness to learn have been key to their success.
  • Bear focuses on client communication and networking, while Wolf handles the technical aspects and organization. The growth of a creative business involves different stages, from freelancing to becoming a business with employees.
  • Pricing and workflow are crucial aspects to consider in order to provide value and deliver high-quality work.
  • Building a network of reliable collaborators can greatly enhance the capabilities and value of a creative business.
  • The Arizona film market is experiencing a shift towards more narrative and episodic work due to the reinstatement of film tax credits.
  • Long-term goals for many creative professionals include producing documentaries and narrative projects. Building a strong relationship with clients is crucial for long-term success.
  • The value clients see in your services is a key factor in their decision to work with you consistently.
  • A retainer model can lead to resentment and forced collaboration on projects that may not be the right fit.
  • An annual budget provides financial security and flexibility for both the client and the production company.
  • Ongoing conversations with clients allow for better understanding and the ability to say no or take on creative projects without financial constraints.


  • 00:00 Introduction and the Story Behind the Name
  • 07:55 The Working Dynamic Between Bear and Wolf
  • 26:46 Transitioning to a Business with Employees
  • 36:03 The Shift towards Narrative and Episodic Work
  • 45:41 Building Strong Client Relationships
  • 54:52 The Benefits of an Annual Budget


Dario Nouri (00:05)
Welcome to Creatives Grab Coffee, the podcast on the business of video production. Creatives Grab Coffee is hosted by Dario Nuri and Kirill Lazerov from Labs Productions. Our goal is to share knowledge and experiences from video production professionals around the world. Whether you’re a freelancer looking to start your own business or a seasoned business owner aiming to scale your company, this is the show for you. Join us as we develop a community of like-minded creatives looking to learn and help each other grow.

Welcome to the business of video production. Welcome to Creatives Grab Coffee. Before we get started with the show, let’s go over today’s sponsors. Do you have a shoot in Toronto? Do you need crew or a strong production partner to help you with your project? Laps Productions is one of the top production companies in Toronto and your go-to video partner. With our strong creative skills and extensive network, we can help you achieve your goal.

LAPS Productions is able to offer you production services, white label services, or finder fees for project handoffs. Reach out to us on our website at to learn more. My name is Mehran. Welcome to Canada Film Equipment. We are a boutique rental house based in Toronto.

We’re here to help you guys out with all production sizes. Feel free to contact us to get a quote if you are a production house and you’re looking for lighting, camera packages or lighting and group plan packages. You can see our contact information in the link below. We are more than happy to help you guys out. Make sure you follow and subscribe to crea Thank you.

Hey, what’s up everybody? I’m Matt, welcome to Audio Process. We are a boutique audio company doing location sound, sound design, post sound, ADR, Foley. We service equipment. We do all your audio needs here in Toronto. We got you covered, come on down, Don’t forget to like, follow, subscribe, and all of the other internet things to crea They’ll be waiting for you, I’ll be waiting for you, and we’re all gonna have a real good time. And now, let’s begin the show.

Dario (02:19)
Alright guys, welcome to another episode and today we got Bear Prendeli from Wolf and Bear Productions. Or what do you guys… it’s just Wolf and Bear Media. Media, media. I’ve been screwing up the names of all the production companies lately. I gotta stop this trend. But I like your website. It says, where classical meets metal. Which is something you would expect from a name like Wolf and Bear.

Bear Prandelli (02:26)
What’s up guys?

Wolf and Bear Media.

Kyrill (02:35)
Maybe we should ask Dario on that.

Bear Prandelli (02:39)

Kyrill (02:49)
I was not expecting your name to actually be Bear when you see…

Dario (02:53)
I wasn’t expecting it either when I reached out to him. And his brother’s name is Wolf too. Like I don’t know if I told you this.

Bear Prandelli (02:55)
Yeah, now it’s for real.


Kyrill (03:02)
I was like, there’s no way, but I mean, it’s kind of on trend with this now.

Dario (03:04)

Bear Prandelli (03:08)
Yeah, we have some pretty interesting parents, so it definitely makes for a good icebreaker.

Dario (03:12)
Well you gotta break that ice now. Well no no, Karel, I wanna hear the story. Like you can’t just say my name’s Bear and leave it at that.

Kyrill (03:13)
So what are you gonna name your kids? Ha ha ha.

Bear Prandelli (03:15)
I’m going to go to bed.

Oh man, uh, yeah, right.

Kyrill (03:19)
Yeah, so how did you get into video?

Dario (03:22)
How’s an Italian with a name like bear and wolf come about? That’s what I want to know.

Kyrill (03:26)

Bear Prandelli (03:26)
So, yeah, there is a story to that. So, back in the 80s, before I was born, before my brother was born, our dad hitchhiked across America, ended up staying with some natives in Washington who let him hang out with them for a week or so, did a mushroom ceremony with them, spent a week with them in some sort of sweat lodge, kind of fell in love with.

a lot of the cultures and tradition and just all of that. So we both got totem names, essentially. He’s like in love with like anything having to do with Native American history and stuff like that. Which is funny, because we grew up in Italy. He’s like half Italian, half German. So very, very separate cultures, but that’s where it came from. Yeah.

Dario (04:02)
that’s cool.


Kyrill (04:16)

Dario (04:19)
I just want to know how hard it was to convince your mom to go along with that because I can understand the guy saying it’s like in it’s like in Seinfeld when George wanted to name his kid seven and his and his wife or fiance was totally against it

Kyrill (04:29)

Bear Prandelli (04:30)
Yeah, I don’t have that much info on that. I know my mom didn’t fight too hard though, so.

Kyrill (04:39)
It’s like, it’s almost like, like when I, when a kid says he wants to be dragon, you know, and be called dragon almost sometimes. And it’s like, no, that’s, that, obviously dragon’s like a little crazy, but yeah, but bear and wolf are very, you don’t see that too often. People being named that. So it’s just seemed like a no brainer for your company name, I guess. Just.

Bear Prandelli (04:47)

Dario (04:59)
Wolf in there.

Bear Prandelli (05:00)
Yeah, we didn’t give it that much thought. We started putting stuff down on a list and it was like, ah, this one’s kinda right here. Might as well just roll with it. Yeah, there weren’t that many options on the list when we were coming up with names and when we threw that one out there, I was like.

Kyrill (05:11)

Dario (05:16)
Well, I can imagine like bear wolf media. Man, doesn’t have the same vibe. Wolf, yeah, that kind of flows a bit better. Ha ha ha.

Bear Prandelli (05:22)
I don’t know. Yeah, if it flows well.

Kyrill (05:25)
You know, usually when you’re starting a business, a lot of people say don’t name it after yourself because then it’s kind of limiting. You know, it’s like, oh, they’re always gonna want that person’s name doing the video or the photography for their client. But Wolf and Bear, it’s like, it’s kind of like a power name, you know? It’s like, it is your names, but it could also be an umbrella name as well. So it’s kind of like a, it’s unique. It’s unique given the story.

Bear Prandelli (05:48)
Cedric cake.


Dario (05:53)
I remember seeing it for the first time and going like, okay, these guys probably love metal. That was like my initial impression. I was like…

Bear Prandelli (06:00)
Yeah. Well, it’s kind of funny. You brought up the word classical meets metal, and my brother came up with that little slogan, and it really is partially because I’m like the metalhead. I love going out to shows. I play in a band. I go to as many local or big concerts as I can. And then Wolf is very, he’s into jazz and blues, and he…

brought a typewriter to college instead of using a computer. And yeah, yeah. And it kind of translates. There’s like a lot of.

Dario (06:29)

You’re imagining class like you just hear ch How could you focus?

Kyrill (06:37)
Tick, tick, ting! Hehehehehehe!

Bear Prandelli (06:38)
Well, yeah, not so much for class, but like, you know, he showed me some of his old essays and all the stuff that he would hand in was written on a typewriter. Even now we have, it’s not in here, but it’s in the other room. We have the typewriter. He still loves to write on it. You know, anytime he does treatments for, you know, little stories or essays or short stories ideas that we have to film, that’s usually all done on a typewriter.

Dario (07:07)
I know I heard Christopher Nolan and Tarantino still do that, but I guess it makes sense because they’re so into like the old school of filmmaking that, but that’s cool. That’s cool.

Bear Prandelli (07:17)
It also, it kind of forces you, I think one of the things that we try to apply in a lot of the ways that we work too is, you gotta be in touch with what all the new stuff is, all the gear, all the new whatever, but at the same time, if you’re forced to sit there and physically type everything out and you know that any mistake you make is time spent erasing it, that’s money, just like shooting film, then you think a little bit harder about what you put on the paper.

Dario (07:47)
It’s also less distracting too, right? You’re not gonna get, you know, Instagram notifications coming up on the typewriter.

Kyrill (07:53)
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, no distractions. And it just leaves you in the moment, like laser focused on the task at hand, which it really is an art, you know, when you think about the old school style of doing things, that’s why a lot of people like to go back to it because of how undistracting it can be to really focus in on what you’re doing.

Bear Prandelli (07:53)
Yeah, that’s very accurate.

Dario (07:54)

Bear Prandelli (08:15)
Absolutely, man.

Dario (08:15)
Undistracting is not a word. Ha ha

Kyrill (08:17)
I know, I noticed it as soon as I said it, but I’ma make it a word. Less distracting.

Bear Prandelli (08:19)

Kyrill (08:26)
It’s not a port, it’s not meant to be portable. So I don’t know how your brother took that to class all the time. Like textbooks alone were heavy.

Bear Prandelli (08:26)

And now…

No, it’s a pain in the ass through security at the airports too.

Dario (08:32)
Ha ha

Oh my god. Does he actually? There’s no way there’s no way he brings it because that thing must weigh already 50 pounds. Like I can imagine like you’re already over the limit.

Kyrill (08:41)
That typewriter…

Bear Prandelli (08:44)
No, no, no.

Kyrill (08:49)
over the limit for the baggage fees like the baggage fees like a hundred bucks for just that alone.

Bear Prandelli (08:53)
Yeah, try busting that out on Southwest Airlines while you’re sitting there next to everybody else. Make everyone real happy.

Kyrill (08:59)
Tick tick

Dario (09:02)
It’s pretty cool, but okay, so it’s you and your brother How you guys must have a really good relationship? No

Bear Prandelli (09:03)
That’s cool.

Yeah, I mean, we do, we do. We’ve been pretty close ever since he was in high school. I think we both shared a lot of common interests in film and photography. And even though we have different musical tastes, there’s also a lot of crossover. So just anything that has to do with the arts and kind of creative stuff, there’s a, I think we just have a lot of appreciation for the same stuff. And so…

You know, he went to school a little bit more on the kind of writing and history of cinema track. I was more in broadcasting, but then when we started the company, it was a really good marriage of like skills, interests, kind of goals with what we want to do with the company. And you know, like anything, I mean, we fight like brothers every now and then, you know, something goes wrong, we just got to yell at each other a little bit, but we’ve gotten really good at.

kind of figuring out how to do that in a way where it’s, you know, where A, we’re not staying mad at each other and B, it’s not affecting the business in a negative way because at the end of the day, it’s like, we’re spending so much time together, you gotta learn how to get along, you know?

Dario (10:20)
I totally agree.

Kyrill (10:22)
You’re describing a lot of the stuff with just Dario and myself even. I mean, we’ve been doing this for so long to the point where it is very similar to that type of relationship as well. It’s just like yesterday we were on a shoot and we were in the midst of filming on like two ends of the room and I look over, he’s like switching over a battery and he did it in a way that I didn’t like. And I’m just like, strap that battery, but I’m like saying it quietly.

Bear Prandelli (10:26)

Yeah, yay.

Dario (10:48)
And you know what? And you know what? I knew what he was saying, but I just didn’t like how he was saying it, so I still didn’t do it properly. So just to irritate him more, I played stupid like, what are you talking about?

Bear Prandelli (10:54)

Kyrill (10:56)
I knew it. I knew that’s why he did it.

And it’s just little things like that, right? It’s like, it doesn’t affect anything, but oh man.

Dario (11:10)
I was like, I was like pretended I was like the photographer was close. I told them like Vincent go see what’s wrong with Kira What’s he talking about?

Kyrill (11:16)

Bear Prandelli (11:17)
Dude, so we’ll be on shoots sometimes and the way our dynamics are, depending on who’s hiring us, if it’s a shoot where we’re just both cam-opping, we’re both shooting, then usually it doesn’t come up. But if it’s something where we’re kind of producing it as well, I’ll typically take more of the director role at that point.

Kyrill (11:18)

Bear Prandelli (11:38)
and shoots like that, Wolf just, anytime I go near the camera, he’ll just slap my hand. He’s like, get out of here, it’s not your job. Go, get out of here, I don’t wanna deal with you. Yeah, I feel like you have to get used to having those dynamics though, and the longer you’re working with someone, the more you kind of just have that telekinetic back and forth where you can read each other. So we’ve definitely gotten there. I mean, we started 2017, so we’re going on eight years now. And…

Dario (11:44)

Bear Prandelli (12:08)
It’s gotten easier as time’s gone on. We’ve really figured out how to communicate properly to each other and kind of know what the other one is needing in most situations so that we’re not, you know, stepping on each other’s toes or making it difficult for the other one to do their job.

Dario (12:23)
Did you guys like know right off the bat like what your positions were gonna be when you started the company or were you guys like doing everything? Like you guys both wearing the same hats until you guys naturally fell into your own positions.

Bear Prandelli (12:32)

Oh yeah man, well so I had been freelancing in the creative space for about two years prior to Wolf moving out to Arizona. So I’ve been in Arizona nine years, we started the company just over seven years ago now. He followed me out here when I moved to Phoenix after having lived in Northern Arizona for two years. So when he moved out here I already had a…

small client base, but it was completely spread out over all mediums. So I was like doing a little bit of graphic design for one person and doing some web design for somebody else and helping someone else write blogs and do a little bit of copy for their website. And then one client would be like, hey, we need headshots done. Can you also do some like little videos for social media? So before we figured out how exactly we were gonna build the company, like, yeah, we were doing.

everything and he was having to learn how to do stuff that he never learned how to do. I was having to learn how to think a little bit differently and how to approach projects. On shoots we also were kind of just like, you know, when you’re first starting out and you don’t understand really how to network right or build a crew properly or really understand what every role on set is supposed to do. I mean we were doing everything, you know, it’s like, okay cool we got a two man team and I’m the director but I’m also monitoring audio and

I have some gaffing experience, I’ll set up the lights, you set up both cameras and monitor both of them. There was a lot of that for the first year, year and a half and then I think we kind of naturally started to fall into the roles that I think suit us best. I’ve always been a little bit more of the networker, the people person, I spend a lot of time at events and going out to public stuff to…

us or to just make more connections. I do a lot of client outreach. Wolf tackles kind of all the back-end stuff. So you know getting stuff prepped for a CPA, taking care of equipment, making sure that everything is clean, making sure the batteries are charged, making sure cables are organized. I can’t take credit for that stuff. Like if it weren’t for him it’d be a mess, you know, and everything would be off the shelves all the time and in different places and you know so he really…

keeps the back of house super neat and organized so that we’re never missing something or finding ourselves without something on a shoot. And I make sure that on the client side that all that communication’s being done effectively, promptly, projects are being produced on deadline. So.

Dario (15:26)
We definitely have a similar dynamic where like wood equipment, keros on top of that. If I’m in charge of it, it’s a mess. But then on the other side, it’s like our Google drives a mess of keros in charge of it. So I don’t let them near that stuff. The thing that irritates me the most is like, I’ll go into a folder and I’ll see like, the duplicate folder just like worded differently. And I’ll go and tell like, what the hell is this thing?

Bear Prandelli (15:33)


Kyrill (15:39)

Bear Prandelli (15:41)

Kyrill (15:49)

Bear Prandelli (15:50)

Kyrill (15:54)
That might be a backup one, that’s all that it is. No, no, that was more so like back in the day, but like it’s interesting hearing your story and your dynamic because there’s a lot of similarities with Dario and I, and also that you guys pretty much learned the industry and the craft just by doing it, you know, yourselves, right? A lot of people that we’ve talked to, they’ve either worked at other companies, they’ve worked in the industry, freelancing for many years before jumping into it.

Dario (15:56)
Oh my god.

Bear Prandelli (15:57)

Kyrill (16:24)
Like a lot of like really big companies are because they have like people who worked somewhere else for like maybe 10 years, then jumped into it and then had like a good foundation, good connections and solid backing to get started. When you’re starting this in this industry from scratch, you’re learning how to do it. But also you’re trying to run a business at the same time. So it’s kind of like when you think about it is really is the wrong way to start a business like this in this industry, like typically the best way.

Bear Prandelli (16:52)
I w-

Kyrill (16:54)
is go out, freelance for a bit, learn by yourself, maybe go work at another company for a few years, figure out if you even wanna start your own business from doing it, right? Because I feel like a lot of people might do it and then think, oh, I don’t wanna actually run a video production company. This is a little bit too crazy. But when we started, we didn’t know. We didn’t know what we were getting into. It was kind of, yeah. I know, I know.

Dario (17:13)
That’s like so many businesses though, Kirill. Like think about how many, like if you’re like an entrepreneur, for example, right? Like a tech, uh, entrepreneur, you’re not going to go work at Facebook for a bit. You’ll just go to like an incubator and just kind of get your bearings from there.

Kyrill (17:25)
Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. That’s true. So it’s like, it’s an interesting career path. That’s all I’m saying that you don’t see it too, too often, at least in our space.

Bear Prandelli (17:34)
No, and you said, you know, kind of, that’s the wrong way to do it. I mean, we did everything the wrong way, you know? Like everything. I think part of it was a mix of like cockiness and arrogance and sheer stupidity and willpower, you know? And it’s funny, because like I look at how we started and I look at where we’re at now, and where we’re at now came from like,

Kyrill (17:43)


Bear Prandelli (18:03)
a couple years ago looking back and being like, okay, maybe I should humble myself and realize I don’t know fuck all about anything. But when we got started, it was just like, I just know I wanna do this. We wanna make films, we wanna tell stories, we wanna just like, and we don’t, both of us were kind of at a point in our lives where we didn’t want to be working directly for someone else. I had just spent, not enough time directly in the video production industry,

kind of adjacent and creative where it was like, okay, I’m doing this job for someone else, I’m making labels for your company, I’m doing posters or I’m taking pictures, and you’re paying me 15 bucks an hour. You know, and I’m just kind of, I’m not really getting what I want out of this. You know, I, yeah. You know, and I had a really, one of my,

Dario (18:55)
You’re not vested enough. Like, you have no stake in the matter.

Bear Prandelli (19:02)
closest friends who, you know, was one of the reasons I moved to Outer Arizona in the first place, just kept pushing me. He’s like a very entrepreneurial type. He’s like, just get your LLC, just get your LLC. Just get set up as an entity, just figure that part out, and then figure the rest out later. And that was kind of the start of it, you know? Yeah, when I look back, it’s like we were definitely a lot cockier when we started, and we knew so much less. But I think that journey…

has been A, humbling, B, I think this is just how I learn. So just kinda having to dive in and figure it out is always a really exciting challenge for me. And I don’t know if I could have done it the other way because I’m just too impatient.

Dario (19:52)
We had a similar thing with this podcast. Like when we started and we started talking to actual companies, like people that knew what they were doing. I think Carol and I have to reach up and say, we’ll go, wow, we are really far behind in this race. Like we thought we, we thought we, we thought we knew something, but Jesus, wow, we weren’t doing anything beforehand. Like, what were we doing?

Kyrill (19:53)
Yeah, I know what you mean.

because like we learned so much in that one hour.

Bear Prandelli (20:09)

Kyrill (20:14)
Yeah, it’s like, it was that realization that we were, man, we’ve talked about this so many times, but it’s like, yeah, like that realization that we were just two freelancers basically working together for many years, it wasn’t really a business. And we, talking to other people on the show made us realize like, wow, so this, that is what a business is like. That is how you do it. And then, yeah, just a thing. And then 2021 was just focused on converting it into an actual business at that.

Dario (20:34)

Bear Prandelli (20:44)
You know, it’s funny, our timeline was kind of similar because it was like 2017 through like 2019, beginning of 2020, felt almost like just how you described it. It’s like we’re just two guys who are kind of, we’re a company, but we’re really just showing up and freelancing every shoot. And then for me, I think the big shift came when I like started to wrap my head around, like,

Dario (21:03)

Bear Prandelli (21:13)
It was kind of hard to get a solid idea of how do we price ourselves? How do we charge for these services? How do we make sure that we have a really solid workflow all the way from concept to creation and final delivery rather than just kind of going in blind. I mean, like, oh yeah, I know that we’re going to go shoot this thing and we need these shots and really figuring out how to do proper pre-production.

Those are like the big shifts for us. Once we started to get that stuff dialed in and grow our network of people that we could rely on, I think it incredibly raised our value and what we were able to provide. You know, and I look at like the clients that we’re working with now, the projects that we’re working on now, it’s completely different. Like it’s, and I think that only came from, you know, having to stumble and stumble and stumble until it’s like, oh, now it clicked.

Dario (22:08)
I feel like there’s different shifts you go through because the first shift might be where you realize you’re just a freelancer, right? But you want to become a business. Then the stage after that, it’s like, okay, you are a business. For us, for example, I feel like we’re in that stage. We’re a business. It’s me and Kyril, but it feels like it’s still on the cusp of going back into freelancing. I feel like the next stage would be like, okay, we’re…

Kyrill (22:09)

Bear Prandelli (22:19)

Kyrill (22:32)
Still two guys.


Dario (22:38)
a business that has employees and you know, to have employees, you need to have like some type of consistent recurring income. So that means that you kind of have your grasp in the industry, right? And then there’s probably going to be another shift after that where it’s like, okay, we’re just a small business. We should go to becoming like a bigger, I feel like there’s always like stages you want to move on to after you, you know, accomplish one, right?

Bear Prandelli (22:49)

Kyrill (23:04)
It’s like a game, it’s like leveling up, you know? Leveling up the character.

Bear Prandelli (23:04)
I think, yeah. I think it’s, you know, I think it also depends on your goals, because you guys are, you said you’re in Canada, right? I don’t know how different it is structured there, at least for us over here. You know, we’ve kind of opted to stay as a two-man team in terms of how the company’s organized as an LLC. But we just crew out depending on what kind of per,

Dario (23:06)


That’s what we do too.

Kyrill (23:34)
Yeah, exactly.

Bear Prandelli (23:34)
Yeah, yes, yes. So it’s, for me at least, I’ve found that unless we were at a point where it was like, okay, we’re making X amount in revenue a year and now it makes sense, it almost gets so expensive to have employee employees and as nice as that would be to have that, then you guys know how the video industry is. Unless you’re just busy all year round, you’re gonna have times where it’s like this and like this, I’m like, if I have an employee, I’m paying them to sit around and do what? You know?

Dario (23:59)

Bear Prandelli (24:04)

Dario (24:05)
I think the good, like the, I think traditional like a company with traditional type of employees where it’s like, you know, whatever, like for our industry kind of doesn’t work. I think the skeletal approach to that definitely does work because we’ve seen and heard from a lot of companies that do have like a small team. So like we’re of the same mindset as you, to be honest with you, like two people, but I feel like lately I’ve been thinking about a bit more and it’s like.

We should try to grow it at least so that we get not like 10 employees, but like a couple of people. Yeah. Just so there’s some type of like, um, cause I’m thinking about it more so in terms of like, okay, we get some projects and then we do have our freelancers, but what if that guy becomes unavailable or what if we have to do just like a lot of minor stuff that, you know, it doesn’t make sense to kind of hire a freelancer for would just be nice to have someone that’s internal to help us out with that. So

Kyrill (24:37)
couple people, like a couple.

Well, the other thing is like bringing in other people, they’re gonna be invested in the business more so than if you’re just hiring a freelancer, and they could bring something to the table that maybe you didn’t even think about, right? I mean, look at how it is with you and your brother. You each bring something to the table that really helps add to the business. Like when we’re talking about employees in our industry, we’re not, like as Dario said, we’re not looking to just hire just a shooter, just an editor.

We’re looking for people who have like a willingness to even like kind of grow beyond that and just kind of contribute more to the business, whether it be ideas, organization, help. Like I’ve always envisioned the perfect size business for us was like five people, like max five people. And that could be something like someone who’s like head of post, head of production, head of project management, client outreach and stuff like that. Those are a lot of the most key roles.

but they also kind of spill over into other aspects of the business that really can kind of help grow. So it’s like you’re kind of getting good value with the people that you’re bringing in. You don’t, like don’t get me wrong, we all need editors. So like that’s kind of like a given, you know, an editor is gonna be really focused and dialed in on doing post-production.

Dario (26:15)
Who’s the fifth person? Because I’m thinking about it right now, it would be me, you, I would think a project coordinator, and an editor. Like, who would you want on top of that?

Kyrill (26:25)
And then like some other kind of hybrid person that kind of just…

Dario (26:28)
Wouldn’t that be like kind of like the… Because the project coordinator I would kind of see as like a producer in training, no?

Kyrill (26:37)
I would say maybe not just a producer, maybe if not a third producer, maybe a shooter that wants to produce, a shooter that is looking to get into producing maybe or something like that. I felt like that, the fifth role, is a little bit more flexible. But anyway, it’s not so much the specific roles, it’s just I felt like in terms of a size of a business, no more than five, I think, is kind of good. It’s like a good solid base in terms of a core team. And then you just…

Dario (26:43)
Like we eventually want them to grow and-

Yeah, five would be good.

Kyrill (27:07)
expand out depending on what you need. That’s what I’ve always felt is like ideal.

Dario (27:10)
Yeah, that’s a good number.

Bear Prandelli (27:12)
It’s funny, we, kind of similar to you guys, we’ve stayed away from bringing on an employee simply because of the sheer cost of what we have to match versus being able to work with contractors, obviously keeps their costs low, which means we can reinvest in the business and the gear and all that stuff. We just got really lucky too though. I mean, we had two different editors that are their best friends.

and they both work in post-production. They both kind of went from just freelancing to starting their own post-production house, and now they’ve been like, kind of doing that almost full-time. We just got really lucky at like, the moment that our business started kind of taking off about two years ago, they were like, hey, we’re looking to start doing this. So we lucked out in that even though they’re technically a separate company, we kind of have this post-production house.

that handles 90% of our edits and they’re like, we’ve been working them for four years. So it’s almost like having an employee without some of the tax obligations.

Dario (28:22)
Like a synergy, right? Like we have a similar thing with Indigo Events. They handle all of our photography work and then with Audio Process who also is a sponsor of the show. Anytime we need audio people, I always ask them. And then even for like grips, gaffers, MPAs or equipment, like there’s a Canada Film Equipment. We just use them exclusively for that really, so.

Bear Prandelli (28:29)


Dario (28:48)
I get what you mean, like there’s synergies you build with different businesses that you’re kind of, it’s almost like a plugin.

Kyrill (28:53)
You’re like dipping your toes into it. You’re developing key partnerships that help fill those gaps or those needs that an employee typically would, which is the smart way to go about it right now, because they also wanna work with other companies as well, develop their portfolios. And it’s just funny that you mentioned that it’s another team of two. Like, are you guys gonna next find like a team of two?

Bear Prandelli (28:53)

Dario (29:08)

Bear Prandelli (29:09)

Kyrill (29:18)
Cinematographers that always work together or a team of two. I don’t know.

Bear Prandelli (29:21)
Yeah. Yeah, well it’s a lot of that, you know, because I noticed that same type of energy between a lot of the other businesses that we work with. You know, we’re lucky enough that Phoenix is a, I would say right now, it’s a very collaborative market. You know, it’s a small enough market where everyone kind of knows each other. It’s a big enough market where, you know, everyone tends to be staying working around the same time.

You know, so it’s pretty rare that I see that, you know, there’s some of us that’ll be like just dead on work while the other ones are like riding on a wave. You know, it’s usually, there’s times where the market seems to kind of line up for everyone and if it’s slow for one person, it’s slow for everyone. But I’ve noticed that with a lot of them, there’s a lot of guys out here where it would be one or two guys or, you know, core team of two, possibly three, and then.

you know, we all kind of hire each other out for the different, um, you know, jobs that come to town, uh, or different, different projects with clients. So yeah, there’s something about that number that like two to three where it’s, it’s kind of perfect for like your core team on, on the production side.

Dario (30:29)
Golden number.

Kyrill (30:32)
I would say two, like I’ve heard from other people who’ve had businesses where there were three partners where it’s a lot more unstable than two because a lot of the time sometimes two of them would be making most of the decisions and they would always overrule the third one that will cause like some problems in the business. In terms of like people that are actually like running the business itself, I’ve heard that it’s always good to have a good even number like either two or four.

And then maybe after that, you can have odd numbers, but if it’s like three, it doesn’t sound like a very favorable dynamic because it could be a lot of overruling and a lot of resentment that could come from it. I mean, I guess, like, I guess it depends on the partnership, but like it all depends.

Dario (31:15)
We have seen the opposite too. Yeah, like even one other, yeah, like was a captive creative is three partners. And I like how like with three, you can also kind of just focus, you have, you can cover more ground more easily because everyone has like a domain to focus on. Like you could have person that, like let’s say for ours, it could be person focusing on the creative side of the production, person focusing on the marketing and person focusing on like the sales and other business aspects.

Kyrill (31:23)
Oh yeah.

True, true.


Dario (31:44)
That’s a really good way to break that, like break roles down if you have three partners now.

Kyrill (31:49)
Yeah, I think that definitely is one aspect to it. And like I said, it really depends on what kind of partnerships you have. I mean, don’t get me wrong, even partners of two can also fail very easily. We’ve seen that happen before. So it’s all about being with the right people and everybody knowing what their roles are and then being very open and having that kind of relationship with your partners.

Dario (32:01)

Bear Prandelli (32:14)
I’m curious to ask too, so with you guys, how is it that your guys’ roles end up breaking down? Because I know with, we talked a little bit about myself and Wolf and our secret weapon too is that we have Chris who is our creative producer slash script writer slash producer, she’s amazing and having brought her on even though she’s still just a contractor, kind of.

takes care of what you’re talking about right now, which is like, she’s focused on a lot of the creative and the writing. I’m focused on the client relations and managing the business side of things. Wolf is focused on day of, making sure that the crew and the shoot and all that is organized, gear is good. How do the roles fall on your guys’ end? Is it, does one of you do the writing, does one of you do all the client stuff? Is it, how’s that broken down?

Kyrill (33:10)
It’s kind of like how you described it, where Dario handles a lot of the client relations and the outreach and a lot of the business development aspect, yeah, mainly sales. Dario handles mainly the sales aspect, whereas I handle a little bit more of the creative. And like you said, also the production aspect to make sure that we’re executing the projects. Basically, he’s bringing in the projects and overseeing, and then I’m helping execute them based on what the briefs and…

Dario (33:19)

Kyrill (33:40)
but what the briefs are. So that’s kind of like the main aspect. And then obviously, like probably as it is with you guys, there’s gonna be a little bit of spillover and other aspects where we do one thing, we get feedback from the other. There’s a lot of feedback going back and forth between us. It’s not like we try to leave ourselves, like we leave ourselves to do the tasks initially, but we always look at each other for feedback to kind of help improve things as we go.

Dario (33:52)

Especially for development of the project itself. Let’s say it’s something where there’s, like it’s not just hired gun type of work, like we’re creating an actual story for it. I’ll often be like the client’s eyes when we’re doing the creative. So, like, Kero might develop the creative angles, but I’ll go like, no, I just know they’re not gonna like this, so I’ll kind of guide it into a direction where the client will approve it.

And then when it comes to the actual productions, basically what we’ll do is If it’s Carol and I on a shoot like I’ll take on more like the producing side Directing and then Carol can just focus on like the cinematography and everything else

Kyrill (34:43)
Yeah, we kind of like code, we kind of co-directed a little bit, like, but Dario kind of just handles more of that aspect, uh, a bit more because, uh, he’s handling more of like the producing aspect with the client relations, but like a lot of the time when him and I tackle a project together, we’re both like discussing like how we need to do it and, and things like that.

Bear Prandelli (34:44)

Dario (35:02)
We have like, we’ve started to develop this thing where like, it’s basically like, I’ll be like more involved on like, you know, obviously the onboarding of like, bringing the client in the pre-production, but then like the torch kind of gets passed to Kerala, especially like from like pre-production to post. So like during pre-production, I’ll get passed on to Kerala. And then like, we’re both collaborating on the production and then during post, I usually let Kerala handle that. And then.

I’ll again be like the client size when the drafts come in. So I try not to look at the post too much until like it’s almost right just into the client, just so we have like a fresh set of eyes on it. Right.

Bear Prandelli (35:40)
Yeah, yeah, it’s very similar with us. It’s definitely similar dynamics, because once we get to post, that’s almost entirely myself and Chris, and then Wolf will just get eyes on it when it’s like, okay, it’s almost there. Is it ready to get color graded? Okay, cool. Yeah.

Dario (35:55)
Heh heh.

What’s the market in Arizona like?

Bear Prandelli (36:03)
Shifting, let’s say slowly shifting. So for the past decade or so, it’s kind of become a very, very commercial market out here, which has been, I think, good for work, and good for where we’ve been at, where we, like we were talking about when we started this company, we were so inexperienced from a business owner standpoint, and from a, like we kind of had to build our entire network from scratch. So.

For that reason, being at a very commercial market, I think was helpful, because it kind of allowed us to make the mistakes we needed to make without.

It was just easier because it was like, okay, there’s always gonna be more businesses. We can just keep kind of going down this path for now. Two years ago, what was it, a year ago, two years ago? Anyhow, the law just kicked into effect. I think it was signed like two years ago, but it just started as of this January. Arizona reinstated its film tax credit program, and it’s a little bit different than it used to be, but now we have, you know, for the past 10 years where this had gone away,

We became just, this wasn’t a place to come do movies anymore. And so we’ve just become a flyover state where people from California would be like, well, we’ll just go film in New Mexico. We’ll just go film in other states nearby that have better tax incentives. Now that we reinstated that, we’re starting to see, I’ve noticed substantially more Netflix shows and documentaries and just.

episodic stuff that is now coming out to Arizona because it’s so damn expensive to film in California. And so it feels as though we’re on the cusp of like the industry taking a direction back towards narrative and episodic and I’m super excited about that because at the end of the day, I think we wanna be working kind of on both ends of the spectrum. I think we like the opportunity to write and do our own.

commercials and ads and kind of work with clients on campaigns. But we’ve really kind of shifted from doing as much of the hired gun work and working more on, you know, being a more active, creative part of that process with our clients. So we love doing that work, but we want it to be story driven. We don’t want to just be showing up and just shooting. We really like to have a little bit of the reins and guiding where the campaign goes alongside the client.

Flip side of that is like I’d love to, you know, get on a movie shoot and be able to go spend 30 days on set filming narrative stuff, you know. So that’s kind of where the market’s been headed. It’s been really cool to see. We just had a, not too long ago we had like the first movie this year that used that tax incentive program open to like a sold out audience. So you know, it’s slow to the taking but it’s starting to happen.

Dario (39:09)
You know, you mentioned you would love to go and film like a narrative for like a month or something. We actually had a guest come on recently and he mentioned that like it was great for him to go and do all these TV shows. But he noticed that his corporate business suffered a lot because of that, right? Because again, if you’re out and you’re unavailable to your clients for six months, well, what are they going to do? They’re just going to move on. Right. And you can’t really get those clients back once they’ve signed with another agency. Right. Like, they’re just going to.

Kyrill (39:15)


Dario (39:40)
the client-sworn consistency, right? It’s kind of like a double-edged sword in a way. It’s like you get to cross something off your checklist. Oh, I did this, but then it’s like, ooh, my business is really gonna suffer.

Bear Prandelli (39:51)
Well, I think it depends what your long-term goals are, right? So for us, I think that we always viewed the end goal is to make movies. The end goal is to produce our own stuff. Five years down the line for me, I wanna be producing my own documentaries. Hopefully, have one of the two of us have sold a script or something like that.

I think there’s just an inevitable point where like, you know, we do this work because it’s sustenance and it helps us grow a business and it teaches us and we learn a lot from it. Everyone might be different in this regard. For me, I want to make movies in the long run. And I think once we get to the point where we turn that stone, like there’s probably no turning back. You know, there might be, it’s just going to mean you’re doing less and less commercial work and more and more movie work. And I’m okay with that.

I think long term wise, I’d rather be telling stories that impact and that really, really fuel that creative need I have to self express. And there are limitations on that when you’re working on commercial work. So I don’t think it’s wrong to like one or the other. I just think for me personally, that’s kind of the track that I like to go.

There’s the reality of what we were talking about before though, which was when we started the company, we didn’t know what the hell we were going to do. It was like, we got to start somewhere, we need to make money right now because we’re both broke and we just dropped out of college. So let’s go. But the more I get into it, it’s like we never really have lost sight of the goal and we do talk about this stuff a lot. Like we’re self producing a short film in a little bit to kind of start to…

dip our feet in that water and have more stuff that is just completely made by us, but that kind of fits in line with the direction we want to go, you know, years from now. Yeah, and in the meantime, it’s fun to get on, you know, even if it’s just, like I did a week shooting for a TV show out in LA not too long ago, that was a hell of a lot of fun.

But you’re right, it’s like you get to a point where it’s like I was getting client phone calls and I’m having to be like, okay, half an hour on lunch, I gotta reply to all these emails and then back in there, you know, and you’re doing, when you’re pulling like a 14 hour day, that’s exhausting, you know, and it’s easy to lose track of stuff.

Dario (42:06)
Hehe. Yeah, yeah.

Kyrill (42:15)
Yeah, especially.

Dario (42:15)
So your long-term plan is just to go into producing documentaries, like directing, shooting, all that stuff, right?

Bear Prandelli (42:22)
Yeah, I mean, I think being a good business owner and kind of being entrepreneurial is a very good quality because it’s shown me how to balance a budget and manage a crew and like, have my head not just thinking about, oh, I’m the director, I need to direct this thing, but not having any context as to what all the other roles on the set are actually doing to support your role. You know.

how to make sure that you’re staying on time and listening to your first AD, how to make sure that like, just all the kind of things around that. So like, I’m grateful that I’ve had that experience coming from this side of the industry that I think will make me better at that role when we take that leap. But yeah, long term, like, you know.

If I’m still doing commercials 20 years from now, I want it to be because someone’s given us an opportunity to write the whole damn thing ourselves and just take, you know, get weird with it. Yeah, documentaries and narrative would be the, more so the path that I’d like to take. It’s just that, kind of like I was saying about Arizona, the market has not been for narrative out here. It’s starting to kind of pick up that way. But because it’s been so commercial, there really wasn’t much option to do it unless you were just self-funding everything yourself.

Dario (43:45)
Do you work with a lot of agencies or you direct decline a lot of the time?

Bear Prandelli (43:49)
It’s about 50-50 both. So we get about…

Kyrill (43:52)

Bear Prandelli (43:55)
I’m trying to, probably about 60% direct to client and then 40% agencies. And we’ve kind of.

We’ve started to pivot more towards working. When we’re doing direct to client stuff, we prefer to work with clients who have an annual budget. So that makes it a lot easier for us to kind of go into the relationship knowing, hey, from January to December, we don’t do retainers because that might work for some people, for us it does not make sense because the scope of each production varies so much that it’s like, I’m not, I will, it’s just not for us.

Dario (44:35)
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. We’re on the same page on that one.

Bear Prandelli (44:36)
Um, yeah, yeah. Just, which is funny because I see so many of these like ads for guys on social media who’s like, guaranteed $3,500 monthly retainers. I’m like, you’re gonna go fucking crazy, man. You’re gonna hate that in a little bit.

Kyrill (44:36)
Yeah, we have, we know.

Yeah. Hahaha.

Yeah, 3500. Listen, it’s 3500, but they’re not telling you that it’s like you have to work for that company every single day. You know, we had a whole episode, I forget which episode it was with one guest where we were all going over, like we broke down the retainer model to kind of see like why it might work and why it probably won’t work for most people. And a lot of the time is what’s the incentive for a client to do a retainer, which is.

Dario (44:52)
I don’t know how they do it.

Kyrill (45:20)
to get a discount on all the services, right? So right there, you’re gonna be working, that’s a part, that’s a part of it. I’m getting to it, I’m getting to it, I’m getting to it. So firstly, they’re looking for a discount in their eyes. That’s what they’re looking for, right? And so you’re gonna provide say 10% discount as an example on like say 100 grand budget, right? So you’re gonna lose 10 grand right there, but yeah, it’s nice to have 90 grand in work that goes forward. But,

Dario (45:24)
No no no, it wasn’t discount. It was part of it. You’re getting to the, okay, okay.

Kyrill (45:49)
The other costs that you don’t realize is the inflation that you’re gonna get hit with as well. At the end of that, that 10% really becomes like 20% at the end of the day, and you have to be on call.

Dario (45:58)
But that wasn’t what they were talking. Okay, so the benefit to the client. No, what you’re saying, Kyril, is what the production company would pitch as the benefit to the client. The other company we were talking to that does retain is they mentioned that what they’re providing really is availability to that client. Because let’s say that client wants to work with you, but you might get busy, then you kind of, it’s a order of who comes in first, right? That was the benefit.

Kyrill (46:09)


Dario (46:28)
But yeah, you brought up good points with the inflation that wasn’t mentioned when you do these pitches and also the discount, right away you’re losing money. You do get consistent income for the year, but at what cost, right?

Bear Prandelli (46:41)
It’s not worth it to me to end up presenting the client because the one month where they inevitably ask me for like 20, 30% more, but then you’ve got this relationship where you’re relying on them for your monthly security, I’d rather take the risk and not have that security because I don’t want to resent my clients, you know? And I don’t want to create an opportunity in the relationship where

Kyrill (46:45)


Bear Prandelli (47:08)
I can start to resent them over something financial when it’s like the easy solution for that is just pay me my rate and we will provide the services at the top level of quality as you expect them. And that’s it. So, you know, it’s different for everybody. You know, like I said, this is what works for us. I can’t speak for other people. I don’t wanna like totally go shit on a model because that’s not what we do. I just found that for us.

That’s what ends up happening with me is I end up just kind of being like, oh, now I’m like upset that I’m doing the work and I shouldn’t feel this way. So yeah, we’ve, yeah, go ahead.

Kyrill (47:46)
You brought up an interesting point there. Sorry to chime in, but I like what you pointed out there that a lot of people also don’t talk about is what is your relationship with that client gonna be when you do jump into the retainer model? Nobody really talks about that. What you described is a really good ideal situation in our industry where a client comes to you and consistently comes to you to hire you for your services because they genuinely wanna work with you. That’s a good dynamic right there. They see the value.

and they wanna continue to work with you. So like any clients that you’ve been working with for three years straight, to have them keep coming back on that project to project basis shows a very good sense of like value that they see in you. Whereas if you jump into a retainer model and then after like a month you guys realize that it’s not the right fit, you guys are gonna be forced to work together on projects you don’t wanna be working on together and then yeah, like that’s a very good point is that there can be

a resentment that comes from that later. And then it’s like, you’re kind of stuck.

Dario (48:45)
You know, you know, you know, like, Barry, you might not know this, but we’ve all we’ve only found out of the guests that have come here on the show, only a couple have gotten working retainer models with clients and the ones that do have a working one. It’s basically it’s so specific to that particular client. Like, again, they’ve already been working with them for years, so they already know roughly what they’re spending on a yearly basis.

Kyrill (49:06)

Dario (49:13)
and how much it works they got to do with them to the point where it just made sense for both parties. So it doesn’t… So like these ones that people pitch where it’s like, oh, you know, for like 3500, I like again, we don’t see that working at all. But like it has it’s so case specific to get a retainer model working. So there’s so many different variables involved, right? And again, there’s so many different ways you can go about it as well. Like I remember someone mentioning that they basically have like a bucket.

Kyrill (49:16)
It’s like a given. Yeah, it’s like a given type relationship, yeah.

Bear Prandelli (49:18)

Kyrill (49:25)
No, not at all.

Bucket, yeah.

Dario (49:44)
Yeah, it is a bucket system and basically out of each quarter, they would just pull money out of that bucket, right? So if they ran out within the first month, because that’s a busy quarter, then it is what it is. And then the client can either decide to pull money from another pocket, put it in there to continue doing work or because over the course of the year, there’s like different periods where the client would be busy, right? They can like relocate, reallocate funds to that specific quarter.

Kyrill (50:08)

Dario (50:11)
That’s another option we heard, which is interesting and it kind of makes sense. So there’s no need to go like every month we have to create this much amount. It’s basically dependent on whatever. Right. And then I think they also had it at this level where it’s like, if they don’t use up the whole thing, then the client gets that money back, which is another thing that does make sense. And it’s like, if we need to use it, it’s there. If we don’t, you get it back. Right.

Kyrill (50:18)

It’s like buying a $100,000 gift card at the beginning of the year. It’s like, it’s a gift card model. It’s the gift card model approach. Ha ha ha. Ha ha.

Dario (50:38)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s basically what it was. Yeah. Yeah, it’s a gift card model. Yeah, that’s what it is.

Bear Prandelli (50:41)
Yeah. So, we’ve, you know, like I said, I’ll never fault anyone for finding a model that works for them. For us, that just doesn’t make sense, you know? So the direct to client, clients that we work with are pretty much all on either, you know, if they just find us in their first time, then obviously it’s just a project per project. We tend to…

Kyrill (50:54)
Of course, of course.

Bear Prandelli (51:09)
I prefer working with clients where we’re sitting down, you know, October, November, talking through the whole budget for the year and being like, what are we doing in January? What are we doing? You know, what’s Q1 look like? What’s Q2 look like? What’s Q3 look like?

Dario (51:22)
That’s what I wanted to ask you. You said clients with an annual budget. Okay, are you? Sorry. Yeah. Yeah, go ahead

Bear Prandelli (51:25)
Yeah, and can I, hold on one second, can I, 30 seconds, I just gotta grab the charger for some reason this one isn’t working. I have two chargers for the laptop, so I apologize guys, give me a second.

Dario (51:32)

Kyrill (51:34)
Yeah, don’t worry. We’ll be back right after these messages. Dario, that’s essentially it. It’s not the retainer model people want. They want the gift card model. That’s what it is. We got a name for it finally.

Dario (51:35)
Nowhere is nowhere is no-


Gift card, gift card.

We gotta like trademark the…

Kyrill (51:52)
We should patent that, yeah. Like, it’s like, oh my God, as soon as that takes off, all those like sales gurus are gonna be like, yo, you want them to pre-buy, you want them to pre-buy, like that’ll be the next big thing. Yeah. The gift card approach to video production. Should we actually go and get real gift cards and just like get them out to clients? It’s like.

Dario (52:02)
You guys, you guys heard it here first, okay? We came up with it.


And you know, we got to bring we got to bring the square machine, you know, the thing you just tap it every time we go to a shoot, they just tap the card.

Kyrill (52:20)
Guys, we just give people 25 laps dollars, instead of a Starbucks gift card, we just do it. Shroot bucks, the Shroot bucks, exactly. Yeah, you know what? That’s what we’re gonna start doing. We give clients like, here, here’s a thousand laps bucks that you can use towards your next project. Next April Fool’s, we’re doing that. That’s what we’re doing.

Dario (52:25)
No, yo, what’s that thing in the office? What’s that thing in the office? The Shroop Box? The Laps Box? Ha ha ha.

Oh my god.

Bear Prandelli (52:43)

Dario (52:46)
Oh my God.

Bear Prandelli (52:48)
But yeah, Dario, sorry, you were gonna ask a question.

Dario (52:50)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like you mentioned you’ve you like working with clients that have like an annual budget for I’m assuming just video creation right video content not marketing but

Bear Prandelli (53:03)
Yeah, typically we’re working with the marketing department kind of hand in hand, but you know, I like to say like…

Dario (53:08)

That’s not first timers, right? It’s like clients that you’ve already established a relationship with, right?

Bear Prandelli (53:18)
Um, it depends, so…

Actually both of the well so the one the two that we have right now that we have that kind of relationship with One of them was completely we actually got cold reached out to by someone who followed our Instagram page Loved what we did reached out to us. I was like, hey, I’m the brand manager for this big company Can we can we have a conversation and through talking to her? I realized like she had been kind of following us for a while. She had a negative experience with another company in town

kind of hired them to do one shoot didn’t exactly go as they had planned and then reached out to us and We just started talking about You know doing this campaign with them throughout the year

Once we did one video for them, one department in the company reached out to her and was like, hey, who did that? And so all of a sudden we now have this, you know, big Arizona company that has locations in Tucson and Phoenix and 1300 employees that has a pretty sizable marketing budget for the year. And so we became not just the video team for her department, but then the…

another department and then another department and then they need some internal videos for how they sell to their corporate clients. So the bulk of the work is like this campaign that we’re doing for them that’s like an outward facing campaign, but then that also came with a whole bunch of other having to figure out like, oh, well, we’re also doing your end of year video, which is like an hour long presentation that has so many moving pieces to it. That’s a whole separate budget.

I like working with clients like that because I know that there’s kind of some, that there’s like lateral mobility, you know? You get one person in one department who likes what, and all of a sudden you’re part of their budget for the whole year. The other client that we have that with is a museum, and that would be an example of, we met the marketing director there at his previous job where he was a creative director at an agency. He left the agency, went to the museum, brought us with him, basically.

And so, I think it’s 50-50. We’ve had a couple of these relationships like this. We had a similar relationship with a substance abuse center, it’s a treatment center, where they kind of had like a, it wasn’t a retainer, but they had kind of a monthly maximum that they could spend on video production, interviews, testimonials. And so we kind of knew like, okay, throughout the whole year, we’re gonna…

you know, kind of have a rough number of everything we’re gonna do, and you just give us your goals every month, and we’ll tell you if we can fit that into the budget and make it realistic. So it’s nice for us because that way I can look a year ahead and say, oh, okay, so I know that whatever, $300,000 of our revenue is locked in, no matter what, you know, and that might vary a little bit, but I don’t have to stress month to month. I don’t.

Kyrill (56:06)

Bear Prandelli (56:24)
And I also don’t have this same checklist of like, we were talking about retainers, like we tried that in the beginning. And that’s what I ended up finding with us was that some clients, when you’re doing a good job for them, they don’t complain, but just like, oh, it doesn’t matter that this one month we weren’t able to get that 10th video, we ended up with nine. But then you get some clients where it’s like, if they don’t count 10, it doesn’t matter the quality of the other nine, they’re asking for a discount, they’re asking for money back, they’re asking you for.

Kyrill (56:42)

Bear Prandelli (56:53)
to show up for another day to shoot, you know? And I just don’t like running into that. You know, whereas if I look at, you know, client A and they’re like, hey, my budget for the year is $160,000, and I’m like, cool. I know that roughly, for what you’re trying to accomplish, we can get X amount of shoots out of this. And let’s leave a little bit of wiggle room for the unknown, you know, for the one project that’s gonna need a more thorough audio mix, the one project where…

Kyrill (56:57)

Bear Prandelli (57:21)
you know, we’re gonna send it off and get six different versions of it at different lengths cut together, so the post-production’s gonna be higher on it. So, that’s kind of the way that we’ve gone. And you know, we fell into that a little bit, and once we started working with clients in that manner more, I was like, oh, I gotta do this more. Because it is, it ends up being that same, like, you end up having the same result as what the retainer model promises, I think,

Kyrill (57:30)


Bear Prandelli (57:52)
consistent monthly recurring revenue. It’s not as guaranteed for us, but it is, it’s big enough projects, and it’s more room to play around, I feel.

Kyrill (58:05)
It’s an understanding between you and the client. It’s kind of like a promise to work with you type approach that you’ve kind of taken care of. It’s almost like basically making the order at the beginning of the year and then just kind of like, here’s our intention of what we’re gonna work with you this year. We’ve kind of done that with one client except the difference is that we actually have budgeted in like just one simple contract. It’s like, here’s the five videos that we’re gonna do for you throughout the year.

We know exactly what it’s gonna be like. Let’s lock that in. And then if there’s additional work that comes up, which often there is, then we do that as well. So it’s kind of like, I mean, the way you could probably even guarantee it for yourself a little bit more as a suggestion would be like maybe, if you know you’re gonna do 10, lock in like three. You know? Lock in like three in a contract. It’s pretty understandable that you’ll likely do that, right? And then the other ones can kind of come in. So it’s kind of like,

It’s kind of like getting them to just like put their skin in the game just a little bit, you know? Like that’s maybe like one suggestion I would have on that approach rather than just a conversation.

Dario (59:11)
Are you are you signing them on? Are you signing them on for the whole year? Or or is it just like? For this month, we’ll do like this, you’ll do a contract on a monthly basis and it’ll incorporate all the. Yeah.

Bear Prandelli (59:19)
It’s not a, uh…

Kyrill (59:25)
Yeah, I’m just trying to think on the contract side of things, how that, how that works.

Bear Prandelli (59:26)
Sure, sure. On the contract side of things, basically we scope out what this campaign was gonna be. And then there’s kind of a, you know, there’s a list or a section where we talk about all the deliverables that they can expect. And it is very clearly specified in the section above that, that it’s like, this is an estimation based on the schedule that you gave me, based on all the meetings we’ve had, based on all the info. It’s like, this can fluctuate.

You know, which in our case it has. Like there’s been, so this one client is an HVAC client. So they run a plumbing company. They do like HVAC and plumbing, electrical, all the home services, right? We scoped out this campaign for them throughout the year. It came out to be roughly, basically we’re gonna be shooting between 20 and 27 kind of mini doc style videos to support this campaign. When we started working on some of them,

We had quoted out a little bit lower cost per shoot because of how they had explained the shoots. Okay, we just locked in a basic budget range and they’re with us throughout the campaign. That’s kind of what the contract stipulates. What ended up happening is like we started getting through some of the shoots and realizing, okay, I don’t think you guys are gonna, because of your internal, the way you guys work, I don’t think we’re gonna be able to schedule this number of them. It’s probably gonna be less per month.

But that now means that we still have the same budget because they approved the budget. So we can just spend more on making each shoot a little bit more high production.

Kyrill (1:01:04)
So are they like, so they signing with you from the beginning, like the thing that we’re just trying to understand is like, obviously like that’s how it works from the project to project side of things, which is normal for every business. But it’s like, because you’re having these conversations with them at the beginning where they’re saying, here’s a hundred grand for the, or like we have a hundred grand to spend with you for the year. Is it like a contract that you sign saying like, we’re gonna spend this much money with you this year? They’re not giving it to you right away, but they’re going to or something. Also you are doing.

Bear Prandelli (1:01:31)
Correct. Correct, correct.

Kyrill (1:01:33)
a contract. So it is kind of like you are kind of you are kind of doing the gift card approach. Like you are doing it.

Bear Prandelli (1:01:38)
It’s, a little bit, it’s the acknowledgement that everything that they’ve scoped out should cost about that much. It doesn’t mean they have to spend all of it. They’re also not getting any of it back, right? They’re not giving us any of it upfront. It’s just like we’ve scoped it out and this is what we think it’s gonna cost. It could be more, it could be less, depending on all these factors. And it’s not like they can’t leave. Like our contracts,

Dario (1:01:39)

Kyrill (1:01:50)
Oh, okay.


Oh, so it’s not locked in. Yeah. Okay.

Bear Prandelli (1:02:08)
No, because for each of these shoots, like I said, there might be some months where we’re doing three shoots for the client, there might be some months where it’s just one big one. It’s more just about, you’ve acknowledged that this is what it should cost. If it goes over that, we’re gonna have conversations about it ahead of time. If it stays under that, then there’s no conversation needed to be had.

Dario (1:02:28)
How are you invoicing for that? Hello curious on that.

Kyrill (1:02:29)
You guys are, sorry, before you ask that question, I just wanna make a note. It’s almost like you’re doing it, the approach of like how the sopranos do business. There’s nothing written, but there’s like a good understanding that you guys are gonna do a lot of work together. That makes sense, that makes sense. Oh my God, so yeah, you’re essentially going with that approach.

Bear Prandelli (1:02:30)
How am I what?

Well, I was born in Italy, so you know.

Dario (1:02:47)
And he is Italian too! I can imagine him showing up like Furio. Give me $1000.

Bear Prandelli (1:02:52)
We do business with a handshake here, you know?

Yes, but what are you doing?

Kyrill (1:03:00)
Give me one video project. Ha ha ha.

Bear Prandelli (1:03:03)
I mean we are you know the enforceability side so you asked about that so the way that The way that that’s done is we’re very strict in what? Basically if they we have all this stuff Scheduled out ahead of time right so we kind of know when all these shoots are gonna happen well in advance Since they’ve kind of committed to this they can cancel us on us at any time

But they owe us a minimum of 50% of what the possible remainder would be if they terminate with us within that contract term.

Dario (1:03:37)
Wait, wait, what? So it’s a it’s basically like a 50% deposit, essentially, is that what you’re saying?

Bear Prandelli (1:03:43)
Kind of because if we’ve scheduled stuff out and it’s already on the calendar and then all of a sudden I got to cancel a whole bunch of shoots You know, whereas I could have been guaranteed X amount. Let’s say it’s fifty thousand dollars Worth of work over, you know the remaining three four months in that contract If they cancel on it, they’re allowed to terminate they if they don’t have to stay with us But because they’ve agreed to that budget number Because they’ve agreed to work with us for the year

Kyrill (1:04:00)

Bear Prandelli (1:04:12)
If we got all those dates on the calendar, they cancel on us, they owe us half of the remaining balance. Wherever we’re at in the budget.

Kyrill (1:04:17)
Oh, so you’re booking it in that initial, like at the beginning of the year, you’re booking off all these rough dates and then you’re getting them to agree to pay a deposit kind of thing.

Bear Prandelli (1:04:28)
Yeah, and we’re kind of, yeah, we’re having very, I mean, it’s a different way of working with a client because I’m having constant, constant conversations with them and in a sense, you know, we’re talking about like doing this because we don’t want to be W2 employees. In a sense, you do kind of become kind of like an extension of their company as well. You’re learning so much more about them. You’re on more meetings with them, more calls with them. You know, I’m…

Kyrill (1:04:32)


Bear Prandelli (1:04:54)
constantly involved with these clients on I think a deeper level than we are with clients who will just like maybe reach out to us for a one-off project. The flip side is you get a lot more buying on the creative side. And like I said, it solves for us the problem of like worrying about financial security throughout the year, while still if we need to being able to walk away. And still being able to be a little bit more flexible with.

I don’t know, with other projects that come in. You know, because if we got a couple clients like that, then I think it does buy us the opportunity to, A, say no to more stuff, B, say yes to stuff even when it’s not financially feasible because we want to help a homey out, or because we just have a really creative idea and we’re like, screw it, I don’t care if we make no money on it. Like, we don’t have to worry about that right now. Like, we just go do the creative thing, you know?

Kyrill (1:05:48)

Dario (1:05:50)

Kyrill (1:05:51)
Nice. Wow. A lot to unpack, but honestly, thanks, Bear, for jumping on the show. We already hit the one hour mark. And… And like… The… Ha ha ha.

Dario (1:05:53)

And we have to record another podcast in like 20 minutes. So we have to, we got to like cut. I hear go to the bathroom. We got to make another tea.

Bear Prandelli (1:05:59)
Oh yeah.


Kyrill (1:06:07)

Bear Prandelli (1:06:08)
Yeah, well I’m gonna go make more coffee, because it’s, what time is it by you guys? Is it 10.30 there? Okay, yeah, yeah.

Dario (1:06:13)
10, 1040.

Kyrill (1:06:15)
I haven’t had any coffee yet. I basically like woke up maybe like 15 minutes before the episode. And then I’m like, all right. I had a late soccer game yesterday. So like when I have that, I’m really tired the next morning. So yeah, gotta do it.

Dario (1:06:20)
Jesus Christ, that 915, what are you doing, man?

Bear Prandelli (1:06:21)
Ah, dude.

Blame it on the soccer.

Dario (1:06:28)
Well that’s… yeah. He’s just trying to relate to you because you’re Italian. We know you don’t play soccer. Hehehe. Okay. Hehehe.

Bear Prandelli (1:06:34)
It’s alright, I get it. I get it.

Kyrill (1:06:34)
Hahaha! Handshake? We’ll talk again? Hahaha!

Bear Prandelli (1:06:40)
We’ll talk again.

Dario (1:06:43)
Okay, let’s just cut this recording and then so everyone bye, we’ll see you on the next one. Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe. There we go. Now it’s an official ending.

Kyrill (1:06:49)
I love that outro. It’s so, so natural, Dario.

Bear Prandelli (1:06:53)

There we go.

Kyrill (1:06:58)

Dario (1:07:00)
Okay, alright, alright. Ayy, oh! Hahaha.

Dario Nouri (1:07:08)
Thanks for listening to this episode of Creatives Grab Coffee. Please make sure to follow and engage with us on Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, and your favorite podcast app. Creatives Grab Coffee is created by Laps Productions, a video production company based in Toronto, Canada. Creatives Grab Coffee is also sponsored by. My name is Mehran, welcome to Canada Film Equipment.

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