Abernethy Media Professionals (AMP) is a full service, turnkey production company with offices in Dallas and Seattle. AMP was founded by husband-wife team Sandy Abernethy and Amy Lou Abernethy. They lead an award-winning team of directors, producers, coordinators, shooters, editors, complemented by a large roster of freelancers, allowing AMP to scale up and down to meet the demands of their varied projects. The AMP crew is team of artists who truly love what they do, are passionate about their craft and that’s what makes them successful. With access to an extensive network of video production crews, the AMP team has been able to bring their passion quite literally to clients all over the planet.
How does AMP manage the underlying business to support this tremendous, complex, and ever-changing effort? There are no easy answers; and there’s no easy plug-and-play app that can solve the day-to-day logistical minutia that – if not managed properly – can quickly grow into a logistical nightmare, which can have a way of grinding business to a halt, no matter how passionate, or driven, or creative you and your team may be.
But that said, the past decade has seen many technologies arise to attempt to untangle the quagmires inevitably arising in production studios everywhere. And as powerful as some of these solutions may be, the history of tech has taught us that; software is only as good as the people implementing it and ultimately using it. Meaning – if it’s either integrated poorly by the vendor, or not used properly by the customer, it’s useless.
The Abernethy team has learned this lesson; long ago abandoning the notion that writing a check and installing a piece of ‘enterprise-wide, scalable studio management software’ is not necessarily the answer. They tried that; a solution that seemed to have all the bells and whistles, and that embraced the latest trendy features. Pick a buzz word – mobile, web-based, scalable, intuitive, leading edge….
AMP: Combining Creative Passion with Business Acumen
While Sandy Abernethy is an award-winning director and director of photography with over 30 years experience in the film and video industry, he also oversees day to day operations at AMP. Sandy draws on his business school background to manage, train and motivate his staff. We spoke with him about his experience over the years, and the trials, tribulations, and ultimate success of implementing a studio management solution that fits his organization.
“The fact that we’re a full-fledged production company, with so many facets of the business to manage, we were hoping to find a software solution that could help us with everything we need. A few years back, we were working with a studio management solution that was, at the time, very advanced. It was web-based – which was important to us, and frankly, a big selling point. But the fact is, it was actually limited in functionality. It did some things very well. It was a great scheduler; it was a trusty project management tool. But we needed so much more.”
Four years ago, Sandy and his team decided to go with AlterMedia’s Studio Suite.
“We started with version 9, began creating custom databases and adding modules as we went along – which was a great way to go for us. We realized we were slowly building a studio management system that was specifically tailored for us. It wasn’t easy at first, but mainly because we didn’t realize the commitment it required from our team as well. We discovered that we had to really get our heads around what our needs are, how we really needed to use a system like this, and how we tied it into all the different aspects of our business. All throughout the initial process, we kept asking ourselves, ‘is this the best way possible.’ And the answer was always yes.
The fact is, we looked at lot of solutions out there, but there’s nothing as comprehensive as Studio Suite. There are so many moving parts – to our business, and to our studio management system. All these moving parts need to talk to each other. We discovered throughout this process that it forces you to analyze your processes, fine tune them, tweak them – and the beauty of Studio Suite modules is, you can constantly make revisions and re-imagine your workflow.
We also realized that while we made an investment in the software and the process, the team at AlterMedia had made an investment in us. When I talk about this process – we didn’t go through this alone. They were with us every step of the way, over the past four years, working side by side with us to continuously fine tune a system that – while deeply rooted in Studio Suite – is entirely Abernethy Media Professionals.
Software developers in general tend to make changes, add or take away features, based on market trends. What’s hot this month. Over the past four years, it’s remarkably clear to us that AlterMedia fine tunes their products directly based on what their customers are asking for. We know that first hand; when we see a new product release with new features, we say to each other, ‘Hey, that’s based on what we’ve been working on with them – we helped them solve that issue!’ It’s pretty gratifying to also know that in a way, we are trailblazers, participating in what makes Studio Suite swhat it is today. We like to think that people adopting Studio Suite today will have a much smoother integration because of our experience working so hard together.
And therein lies the value of a company like AlterMedia. You don’t typically see the level of commitment from a team that we do with this company – from the CEO of the company to their techs. They all roll up their sleeves and tackle the issues.
Studio Suite Xi is the backbone of our business today – it’s not just an app that we run. We use it for everything! We’re much more efficient with our tailored, customized Studio Suite. We’d be in a bad place without it!”