Logo Rob Buckley – Freelance Journalist and Editor

Gold diggers of 99

Gold diggers of 99

A breakaway gang from The Moving Picture Company has gone west to that other Soho square and is ready, as Robert Buckley discovers, to take on the big guns of the commercials world

Start small, and you'll end up small; start big and you'll stay big. That's the business theory behind the new Soho facility Golden Square Post. The aim: to be one of the top five commercials post-houses.

“The idea is we set up at a size to take on the work we're all used to,” explains co-founder Ewan MacLeod. “If you start up as a one-machine house, that's how you stay.”

MacLeod and co are used to large jobs, since - almost without exception -they're refugees from the Moving Picture Company. Alan Young was senior editor there, while head of 2D digital effects Harry Jarman was its award-winning Flame and Inferno artist. Brian Stephens (head of technical development), Richard Harris (Fire) and MacLeod himself (sales manager) are also former employees - and even the editors' assistants have followed them across.

Md Phiippa Gillies, from marketing firm Kudos, is the exception. “It was Philippa who went round asking people to come on board – Alan wasn't recruiting while at MPC,” MacLeod points out.

Ties with their former employer are still strong. though, despite them all upping-sticks earlier this year in the space of a few weeks; with no telecine of its own yet, the facility routinely uses MPC's equipment. “It was touch-and-go for about a week but the last thing we want is to make enemies. We want to keep our relationship as good as possible. Obviously, though. I'll try to steal all their clients...”

Creating a major facility from scratch (right down to decorating it themselves), the team aims to retain the look of their Golden Square listed building, combining the feel of an old-style gentleman's club with modern luxuries like floor ports for laptops. All suites have ante-chambers where clients can “get away from it all and moan about the editor,” and all are interchangeable, with access to the same equipment throughout.

What the firm doesn't have – apart from its own telecine – are Avids and 3D renderers. It is talking to editors and 3D companies about dry-hiring equipment or renting space, but currently has no intention of doing off-line work or modelling. “We don't see it as a major requirement. But if some processes are more efficient that way, we'll obviously call on other companies.”

But is there room for Jarman and Young's names, it would be hard to break into the market. But “although it's pretty full right now, I think there's a gap for a company with the technical know-how and local knowledge these guys have. It's just a question of getting the word out and seeing what happens.”

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