Starting your own production house is exciting, ambitious, and super challenging. From finding the right space, to building a studio, hiring a talented production team, and finally finding a steady stream of clients. The challenge can be daunting. Sure, it can be done with a few people, and we see many production houses these days starting out with just one or two determined filmmakers, but a lot of work goes into growing the company into a profitable business.
Let’s say you’ve been doing really well and your production house has grown to a point where you need more space. Most businesses simply rent a bigger office. And when you’re hired for a job, you assemble a team and find a studio to shoot in.
For CBR Media, it made more sense to go a different route. Rent is astronomically high in the New York City area - where CBR Media is based - which means the cost of renting studios is correspondingly high. Rather than renting out studios for every shoot they were doing, they decided to build one of their own. Brennan Rowe, creative director & co-founder of CBR Media, shares with us why this made sense for their business.
The Right Kind of Jobs
“CBR Media was founded by my brother and myself in 2015. It was something we talked about during my time in college, while I pursued a business management degree at Saint Peter's University in Jersey City, NJ(2017). My brother, Christian, handles the tech and logistics side of our company, while I handle all of the creative side with the rest of our team. In just the last 3 years, we’ve grown from just the 2 of us to now having a team of 10 part and full-time employees.”
“Back in 2015, I was shooting a music video for Fetty Wap, who is a major Rap and Music Artist. I was constantly making connections, while working, which led me to meet two of Fettys friends, WorldWinn & Fuzz. I credit these 2 individuals for giving me a chance to step up and create their vision. There was a time between then and 6 months ago where we had not produced that “next level” work together due to tour and other conflictions. Fast forward to May 2018, Fetty was headed to Dubai for multiple performances and he called me the day he was leaving and told me he wanted me to be part of his trip and film his performances. Since this trip, my career in the production world has grown significantly. Between the music video and automotive industry, the connections we have made have allowed us to take our business to the next level. This was also around the time that Instagram really started taking off for businesses such as these to market themselves on social media. The exposure we received on social media through our work brought a significant increase in requests to produce social media content for other companies. In just in the last 3 years, we have shot over 150 cars with wheel companies, wrap shops and Global Brands BMW & MINI Cooper. Between CBR Media & CBR Studios, we were able to thrive as the need for social media advertising and promotion content expanded.
“During my rise through the music video world, I have been fortunate to be on-set, learning virtually every video/ production role. This provided me the ability to use the learned skills in our own productions. Through the Fetty Wap shoot, I was able to able to gain exposure to a much larger audience which led to collaborations with many other A-List artists. Some artists I have DP/Dir/Produced are Lil Baby, PnB Rock, MoneyBaggYo, Rick Ross, 2Chainz, Kodak Black, Albee Al, Shanna Kress, ItsYourGirlZ and SkinnyFromthe9.
Making Sense of the Cost
“With the types of projects we are involved with, we soon realized that a production a studio environment would be needed. The challenge of six people working in a 1,000 sq. ft. office space was both constraining and costly as we had to rent studio time. We realized we were spending close to $2500 a day for studio spaces in New York City. These costs were too high. It was time to scale up our operation . We decided to design our own 4,000 square foot studio in Woodland Park, New Jersey, creating CBR Studios!”
“Our state-of-the-art studio is approximately 20 minutes outside of New York City in Woodland Park, New Jersey. We wanted our studio to be affordable for filmmakers in the New York City area, so we chose a location outside the city, yet still convenient, to keep the expenses manageable. The space had to be large enough and accessible for vehicles as we do automotive shoots and some our artists utilize cars in their videos. We offer an entire production service, including providing equipment/lighting, booking models and cars, and producing videos from concept to finished product. We specialize in music videos, commercials and custom set building. We have a makeup and wardrobe room. We can handle productions from A-Z.”
“Since we opened the studio, we’ve been able to bring in much larger clients. We recently shot Skinnyfromthe9 featuring Fetty Wap, the Fetty Wap music video “Too Fast” at CBR Studios using a RED Weapon Helium 8K with Cine Sigma 18-35mm lens. We had our Bolt 500 streaming video to a SmallHD 1703 in video village for the crew to monitor. As we attract larger clients and well known brands to our studio, we also get the opportunity to network and attract leads for our CBR Media Division. While we are more known for our video production services, many clients are not aware of the services we offer through CBR Media."
"As we move forward, gaining more clients and exposure, we are evaluating expanding additional studio space in the area, as well as expanding to Florida next and then Los Angeles.”
Check out more of CBR Media:Instagram: @cbrmedia @cbrstudios