Big projects need big teams, right? Not necessarily. Thanks to today’s technology – paired with the constantly developing talent of today’s artists – the nimble boutique team can take on projects for the world’s biggest brands without fear of falling short.
The Sequence Group’s founder and executive director, Ian Kirby, has built a company around this very belief – and he has the evidence to show that such as setup works.
Sequence’s small team has worked on projects for the likes of Microsoft, Disney and Marvel, such as Transformers: Forged to Fight, Star Wars Commander: Rogue One Extension and Halo: The Fall of Reach – an hour-long narrative expansion to 343 Industries’ hugely popular Halo franchise.
For Kirby, it’s Sequence’s flexible structure that allows it to meet even the biggest client’s demands, while also giving projects full attention from the studio’s top creatives. Here, he lists the top six reasons he believes bigger isn’t always better.
“Fewer layers between the client’s vision and the artist allows us to work quicker, more efficiently and with better results. It means our communications aren’t filtered through a million producers, leads, department managers, production managers, and coordinators. That means a final concept that’s more in line with the initial brief – it’s not confused in a game of ‘telephone’.”
Top-notch problem solving
“Our small team of artists pride themselves on problem-solving and troubleshooting anything that comes up. We rely on this skillset during every project, both from a technical and a creative standpoint. Our team at Sequence have been carefully chosen to reflect this. They’re the best in their field; whatever the problem, they know how to approach it in the most efficient way. This close, collaborative, and quick approach to problem solving can get diluted at larger studios where you might face a too-many- cooks situation.”
"Yes this is obvious, but true: a smaller studio means less overheads to worry about, which means clients can get more bang for their buck. We keep things small because we know that we can deliver with the right combination of tools and talent, while keeping costs low for clients looking for quality without the massive outlay that is often required."
“As a smaller boutique, we have the ability to shift our structure and pipeline whenever necessary, ensuring we’re working towards our clients’ needs. We’re not stuck with legacy systems that are so entrenched into the pipeline that it’s near impossible to extract the studio the right tools to achieve what they need to creatively.”
“Our pipeline isn’t a river, where things can only head in one direction. Our team works in an open office where everyone collaborates together. From animation talks to rendering, compositing to previs, we think about things holistically from day one. In larger companies this approach can be lost in a system where projects only head downriver. We like to keep our workflow as open as possible. It always results in a better final product when you’re thinking about every element of a project, and talking to different departments, from the earliest possible stage.”
Listening to your staff
“It’s an unfortunate reality, but in larger studios, the voice of the front lines artist can get somewhat lost in the noise. This is the last thing that you want to happen – you need to talk to the artists doing the work to understand the issues they face, and to hear the ideas they might have to improve a project. After all, they’re intimately involved in it. By keeping things small, we can ensure that the lines of communication are always open, and everyone – and we mean everyone – gets a voice.”