Executive Creative Director Mark Knowles and Producer Cuyler Mitchell discuss the benefits of bringing in-depth business intelligence to bear at Taylor James.
Taylor James used to be quite a different entity. Back in 1999, the entire studio comprised just one man, who worked out of an old warehouse. Things were small and relatively simple.
Fast forward 18 years and the picture is quite a different one. Taylor James is now a truly global network – a powerhouse creative facility with offices that straddle Los Angeles, New York, London, and Berlin and work for the likes of Lexus, Cannon and Heineken.
The production house delivers a myriad of complex and fascinating campaigns, plying its skills in motion design, VFX, animation and more to create vibrant, memorable imagery in all shapes and sizes. Recent campaigns have seen Taylor James take to Mars to promote therapy advancements, use CGI to turn vultures into mechanical post-apocalyptic scavengers and return to the drawing board reimagine the famous Cannes Lion as a neon-hued mascot.
Suffice to say – things are no longer so simple at Taylor James. And that’s why they rely on NIM.
Simplifying the complex
Taylor James has recently rolled out NIM across their network, and it’s already proven vital in keeping the studio organized and capable – even when spinning so many plates across so many projects.
Since commencing use of NIM, Taylor James has gradually expanded its use of the software, finding it to be an indispensable ally in the fight against inefficiency.
“Prior to NIM, our pipeline revolved around a combination of shared Excel documents, Google Docs, and internal tools which allowed for control over individual parts of the pipeline – but it very much lacked the departmental connectivity that NIM affords,” begins Taylor James Producer, Cuyler Mitchell.
“Using those systems prevented us from having one localized location where we could access all details, from bids to schedules, actualizations, and timesheets. In that situation, things could spin out of control. But NIM prevents that from happening.”
Taylor James – all in one place
Makeshift solutions work to a point, but eventually, many studios find that they’re wasting loads of time trying to track down details that could be in a unified location—or worse, they’re overlooking critical information because it’s not where it’s expected to be.
NIM, with its localized, all-in-one studio management platform, allows Taylor James to manage its many needs via one simple interface.
Instead of wasting time tracking down details – or worse, overlooking critical information because it’s not where it was expected to be – the artists, supervisors and producers at Taylor James know exactly where they need to go to work out next steps. With NIM, the studio assigns and tracks tasks, takes and shares notes, handles tasks and resource scheduling, tackles online reviews, manages the complex process of bidding and actualization…and plenty more.
Executive Creative Director, Mark Knowles adds, “NIM’s offering – that of company-wide connectivity across multiple sites and departments from concept to completion – was the key deciding factor in our early adoption of the software. NIM enabled us to combine bidding, review, CG tools, actualization and finance into one cohesive package, which could be accessed across our multiple studios in all corners of the globe.”
NIM enabled us to combine bidding, review, CG tools, actualizations and finance into one cohesive package
Taylor James opted to roll out NIM’s capabilities gradually across its numerous studios, feeling out the benefits to each before expanding its use of the software. NIM was first used by Taylor James’ New York, it is now utilized in the London studio too, where the team is customizing the NIM API to best suit its needs.
Knowles adds that, wherever it’s being used, NIM saves the team “massive amounts of time”. But it’s Taylor James’ producers in particular that have found the software invaluable – especially so during the bidding stage.
“The producers love having everything in one place – all past bids and actuals are easily searchable – that means they can easily refer to past bids to help improve and refine their process going forward and make better choices on future projects.”
Cuyler Mitchell continues “NIM’s functionality of inputting a bid template from a different project when starting a new bid is also massively helpful, especially when there are similarities across projects.”
Furthermore, producers have gained back time by NIM’s ease of access to key documents. Acting as a central repository for everything related to a project and beyond, it makes producers’ lives much more streamlined across the board: “NIM has saved significant hours of duplicate data entry, while also affording us the ability to scrutinize our productions within one software.”
Business intelligence, enhanced creativity
According to Mitchell, Taylor James’ producers use NIM to keep tabs on project costs on a daily basis. NIM provides the producers with a broad financial picture of a project, while also offering the ability to drill down into specifics where necessary. Using this functionality, the producers can adjust their approach to work as needed, ensuring that projects always come in on time and on budget.
Furthermore, producers can monitor how artists’ time is spent on certain tasks, which proves invaluable when it comes to making ever more accurate bids on future projects.
This is absolutely key for a growing studio like Taylor James, where every decision counts and increased efficiency means better-focused creativity.
“In a world with tighter budgets and more aggressive schedules, tracking our out-of-pocket costs, and the areas in which our pipeline is both cost-effective and more expensive, via NIM is pivotal to our growth and expansion,” affirms Knowles. “It’s of the utmost importance for us to ensure we are both creatively effective but also financially successful. NIM helps us get there.”
The future is bright
Taylor James plans to have NIM up and running across all five of its studios, and to explore even deeper into the software’s functionality.
Nevertheless, even with an initial focus on using NIM’s bidding, timesheet, and actualization capabilities, Taylor James has already seen significant ROI from adopting the platform into its pipeline – and they believe that any creative studio can bask the same benefits.
“NIM’s a no-brainer for smaller and larger studios alike” says Mitchell. “It can scale to fit a variety of project needs and scopes, offer business insight you’d otherwise miss out on, and quite simply get stuff done, whether you’re one man in a warehouse or a multi-national creative network.”
NIM’s a no-brainer for smaller and larger studios alike – it can scale to fit a variety of project needs and scopes, offer business insight you’d otherwise miss out on, and quite simply get stuff done!