How to start a motion graphics studiowith Mack Garrison from Dash Studio
Many motion designers dream of starting a motion graphics studio one day – but how do you know if it’s really the right decision for you?
Are you willing to give up the creativity of actually doing motion design work to become a strategist, manager and entrepreneur?Our latest guest will help you to decide if aspiring to own a motion graphics studio is right for you and how to make it a success.
About Mack Garrison
Mack started Dash Studio in 2015 from a desire to create beautiful, bespoke work for clients and champion the creative talent of motion designers in the process.
Before starting Dash he had a diverse and varied career in different specialisms of design, before settling on motion design and in time, co-founding his own studio.
How to Go From Freelancer to Motion Graphics Studio Owner
Mack started freelancing after he graduated as, like many new graduates, he struggled to find a job. This led him to try lots of different design specialisms, eventually niching down into motion design.
He then joined a local agency where he worked his way up to become an Art Director but ultimately, he knew he wanted more creative control over his day-to-day and the freedom to be able to create really bespoke, personalised work for his clients.
The pivotal moment for Mack was when he and his colleague (and now business partner) Corey were offered a huge, 15 video project. To take on the project they would need to quit their jobs at the agency.
They created a pitch deck, won the work, and planned to start freelancing full-time once they finished. But a bigger conversation arose, they decided to pool their talent, skills and resources and that’s how Dash Studio was born.
Hiring a Great Team is Vital to Your Success
A large factor in the success of Dash Studio are Mack and Corey’s complementary skill sets – where Mack struggles, Corey is able to help and vice versa.
Many people believe that you can’t succeed in certain areas if you lack certain skills, but by hiring people in-house or remotely you can build a multi-skilled, talented workforce.
Dash now has a team of 8 members of in-house staff and 20-25 contractors working on anything from 8-16 projects at any one given time.
The combination of full-time employed staff and freelancers allows Mack to be flexible to the needs of different clients and projects.
Everyone has different skills and one of the best things you can do for yourself is to work out what your individual strengths are and your weaknesses – that way you can recruit the skills that you don’t have into your team.
You can then collectively use everyone’s talents to make amazing work that is beyond what you’d be able to make on your own
Understanding What You Want Your Career Path to Be
Mack suggests that if you like the idea of creating something special yourself, growing a business and managing people, then starting a studio could be incredibly rewarding for you.
However, if your passion lies in actually doing the motion design work yourself, then becoming a studio owner may not be the most satisfying career path for you because as your studio grows, you’ll find yourself doing the work less and less.
It’s important that you don’t try to do it all and that you work out a defined role within your studio.
If you want to start a studio with a business partner but you have no idea how to find one, it’s important to look to your community and network to find someone who has a similar mindset, outlook and work ethic as yourself.
Do you dream of starting your own studio? Is it something you would tackle alone, or with a partner? Has this podcast made you think differently about your goals? Leave a comment on the episode page and let us know!
In this episode
- Mack’s journey from student to freelancer to employee to studio owner [3.48]
- The benefits of working for an agency before you start a studio [4.30]
- The power of working with freelancers [10.48]
- How to know if owning an animation studio is right for you compared to being a freelancer [12.20]
- Are you a manager, a technician or an entrepreneur? [15:00]
- Tips on how to find a business partner if you want to start a studio [20.33]
- The opportunities surrounding starting a business remotely during Covid-19 [22.30]
- How to build the kind of studio culture you want [27.34]
- How to stand out as a freelancer trying to get work at an animation studio [35.48]
- How personal projects can help you to get hired by studios [42.38]
- How to find clients when you’re a studio and the importance of connections in the motion design industry [44.00]
- How to utilise LinkedIn to find more work as a motion designer [49.58]
- The Dash Bash conference in Raleigh [53.00]
“It was really critical for me to experience working for an agency as it gave me a better understanding of the business side of design which when you’re coming out of school, is a subject they don’t talk about that much.” [5.06]
“We started Dash through the belief that power, creativity and motion design matter. We really felt that if you create bespoke work, something that is really catered for the client, it’s going to stand out from the crowd.” [9.10]
“When you start a studio, you’re really pivoting from being a designer, an animator or an illustrator to being a studio owner which is a career in entrepreneurship. So if you like the idea of managing a team and growing something as opposed to doing the work yourself, then I would highly suggest starting a studio.” [12.30]
“Ultimately the biggest benefit I think hands down in having a business partner is being able to share the weight that comes with the stress of running a business.” [19.05]
“I learned that I don’t necessarily need to be the one making the work to feel so proud of what we are making.” [26.28]
“It’s important that no matter how the project goes to always end things on a positive note. This industry is built on reputation and it’s a lot smaller than you think.” [45.44]
“Some of our biggest projects that we’ve ever had as a company have been from other agencies who have recommended us and sent clients our way.” [47.57]
Ultimately whether starting a motion design is right for you depends on a number of different factors. But you shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t believe you single-handedly have all the skills you need. Finding someone to partner with you as a Co-Founder can be a solution, or hiring staff or freelancers who have different skills into your team.
Similarly to finding work as a freelancer, finding work as a studio relies on building a great reputation for your work, a willingness to participate in the motion design community and making as many meaningful connections as you can.
Mack Garrison: I think this a lot of this industry, um, for better for worse is based on connections, right? And the importance of a connection. Like I can't stress that enough, how important it is to make sure you take that coffee invite with that random person that maybe you don't know that well, but always taking that coffee because there's just so many times that random things have led to bigger work.
Hayley Akins: Hey hatchlings, welcome to the motion hatch podcast. I'm your host, Hayley Akins. Hey hatchlings. And welcome to episode 81 of the motion hatch podcast. So today we have Matt Garrison on the show. Here's one of the founders and executive producers at dash studio in Riley, North Carolina. I wanted to talk to Mike about how he and his business partner Corey started dash and how they've grown their team over the past five years. So we haven't talked much about hiring a team on this podcast, but if you're looking to build an animation studio then hiring a great team and having the right people in the right places is going to be vital to your success. So we also discuss how to hire full-time members of staff and also how to hire freelancers. And we also talked about how you can get hired as a freelancer. So this episode is really great.
Hayley Akins: I know that you're going to really enjoy it just before we get into the episode, though, if you aren't part of our community, yet we have a great free community for you. This is why we send you the latest resources by our newsletter to grow your freelance business on your career. But we also give you access to our Facebook group. We have over 7,000 motion designers in there all helping each other with their businesses and growing their careers. So if you're interested in joining our community, then just go to motionhatch.com/community. Now let's get into the episode. Hey Mack, thank you so much for coming on the show. Hey, glad to be here, Hayley. Thanks for having me. So do you want to start by telling us a little bit about your background and what you do?
Mack Garrison: Absolutely. So my name is Mack Garrison. I'm one of the co-founders and executive producers at dash a high-end animation and motion design studio based here in Raleigh, North Carolina. Um, so how I got to this moment is a long windy road, but I think for the purposes of getting into the content today, I can short it pretty quickly. My background has always been designed, you know, I really dabbled in a lot of things from graphic design to illustration, uh, to editing live action video and even doing some animation. Um, but it was really after I graduated from the college of design at NC state university here in Raleigh, uh, that I really found this career and what I would refer to as motion design started off as a junior animator at a local agency, um, progressed up to an art director status. And while I really enjoyed my time there, you know, I was always looking for more, in a way that I could bring more creative to the projects and the clients that we're working with. And so as a result, um, I ultimately decided to start a company with my now business partner, Cory live and good. And we started dash back in 2015, uh, fast forward to today, you know, we've grown by, um, there are eight staff members and then we probably work with 20 to 25 contractors on a regular basis. Um, and we've been doing that now for five years and are looking forward to what's to come.
Hayley Akins: That's awesome. Yeah. And you were actually just saying loads of stuff before we like officially started recording. So I just want to get right back into that. So tell me a little bit about the time from when you were like freelancing and doing the agency work to then, um, starting to build your own studio and kind of how did you make that switch and what was involved?
Mack Garrison: Yeah, absolutely. It's really a great question because I think for us, and I think for a lot of folks, it just sort of naturally kind of happens. Um, the way that we ended up transitioning to DAS wasn't exactly planned per se. Um, you know, I was freelancing when I graduated school because I couldn't find a job. Um, you know, I graduated back in 2011 and you know, it wasn't too far out from the housing crisis that we had. And so, you know, I just was so naive and thinking that, Oh cool, I have this degree, people are gonna hire me. I can make cool stuff for them. And it just wasn't the case. And so my hand was kind of forced into, you know, working on a myriad of different things, um, right out of school as a freelancer. And the stuff that I really started to like was motion design.
Mack Garrison: And a lot of folks can probably attest to this in the freelance community and really any creative community is that once you start doing a certain type of work, you have more of that in your portfolio andit has a snowball effect and it kind of builds on itself. So some of my early projects, coincidentally just happen to be more motion related. And so my portfolio ended up heading more in that direction. Um, that ultimately led me to this agency work where I really kind of grew. I mean, I was really junior coming out of school. I mean, I thought I was really talented like everyone does, you know, when they're coming out really confident. Um, but getting into the agency experience, I just recognized like how much there was to learn and how little I actually knew, but it was really great. You know, I think one of the things I really enjoyed about working at this agency here in the area was that it was big.
Mack Garrison: They had about a hundred to 150 people while I was there and they had huge creative teams. And that just really gave me a ton of exposure, not only to the process, but the project files to some of the peers and folks that I held in high regard. And so, you know, as far as like learning, I think it was really critical for me to experience that because I just got a better understanding about the business side of design, which I think when you're coming out of school, at least where I was, they didn't talk towards that as much. It was all about the creative design process and design thinking. Um, but working here at this company, it was like, Oh, wow, we got to knock this out here in a week and a half or two weeks or whatever it may be. And so it kind of gave me a good insight into that.
Mack Garrison: So, you know, after growing a be at the agency for just under five years, you know, I found myself being really frustrated. I think everyone kind of goes through this and the industry to a certain point where you kind of get into that burnout phase where it's like, you know, I feel like my work's not quite good enough, or I feel like I could be doing better stuff. Um, you know, the situation I was in, you know, I had a lot of higher ups who were very pressing on trying to get work done as quick as possible and doing as much work as possible. And that just, wasn't my taste. You, I wanted to spend more time on these individual projects and not make them look great, but look amazing. And I just kept getting pushed back from that. So after meeting my now business partner, Corey Livengood, who is working in the agency with me as well.
Mack Garrison: You know, the two of us just really hit it off, you know, so we were great friends hanging out at the, at the agency. You know, we did stuff on our own on the weekends and we always talked about like cool projects and like, you know, how he wanted to grow up and, you know, work at a place like buck or giant ant, you know, those were places that were like, Oh man, I'd be so cool to go work with some of the best in the industry. And, you know, I remember thinking that like I had to get better and better to work at a place like this. And then it was around 2015, um, that we actually had this moment where there was a friend of mine, uh, John Reyes, John Reyes, if you're listening to this, thank you for, um, my career decision ultimately from you.
Mack Garrison: But, um, John was up at, uh, CNN, I believe he was like a creative director, art director at the time. Um, but he had this project that he needed help with and it was to create these 15, um, health videos, um, for this package. And ultimately it was so much work. There's no way we could have moonlighted on the side. Um, we really wouldn't need to like quit the job that we currently had for Corey. And I have to take this on. Um, I forgot to mention that John was also friends with Corey, uh, as well as me. So we kind of had this kind of group, uh, friendship, which just made that conversation easier. So Corey, now when we can, we put together like a pitch deck, we sent off a couple of style frames and I mean, we had no idea what was going to happen.
Mack Garrison: Um, we ultimately ended up winning the project and I was like, Holy cow. So then it was like, you know, are we going to quit our job and take this project on? And after deliberating it and the conversations and some beers over the weekend, you know, Corey and I were like, yeah, let's do it. You know, why not? This can be the next move to freelance or whatever we're going to do. So we put in our notice, we took on this project and over the course of like three or four months, we cranked out like 15 videos. I mean, it was absurd how much we were working. And, you know, at the time we thought we were getting paid like really well, you know, but like looking back on it now with like hindsight, I was like, you know, they definitely chose us because we were like the cheapest option.
Mack Garrison: It was like two kids instead of a hiring agency or another studio. Uh, but what that ultimately did is it really kind of put Cory and I in this position where we were like, okay, cool. So, you know, now what, right. We finished this project, you know, we didn't have a job. We were both just planning on freelancing at that point. You know? And that's when the conversation really started was like, well, what if we just like pool our resources together? You know, both of us had done a little bit of work on the side. We both had a couple of clients and we were thinking, you know, maybe we could kind of go in this together. You know, my background, um, comes from design school. So I'm a very much a design thinker, very conceptual. I feel like I'm definitely like an idea person. Um, Corey on the other hand is very technical.
Mack Garrison: You know, he was self-taught with, um, the software. And so he learned it all on his own. And I think that was a really unique combination. So when we came together, our work really accident one other, it was like, Oh man, how are we going to make this? You know, I don't know how to come up with, I got this idea, but I don't know how to bring it to life. And Corey was like, Oh, well, we can go about it this way. This is how you can do that. And so it was really easy to kind of work back and forth. So in 2015, that's when we decided to form dash and we started dash with the belief in the power, creativity and motion design that matters. You know, we really felt that if you create bespoke work, something that's really like catered towards the clients.
Mack Garrison: You know, it's going to stand out from the crowd. You know, this is coming up in an age where YouTube was blowing up and everyone in the world can make a little video and post it. And the market was just totally saturated. And so, you know, one of our selling points to clients was just like, Hey, if you really want people to pay attention to your product, to your service, do you wanna stand out from the crowd? You can't just buy a stock piece of video or a little, you know, animation that looks like everyone else out there, you really need something that's tailored to what you do. And so we went into dash with that mentality, not really knowing how that was going to work, or if people were going to buy into that. Uh, but very quickly we recognized that like, it was not only the right decision, but everyone needed something like that.
Mack Garrison: So, you know, dash is located here in Raleigh, North Carolina. Um, you know, there's about 400,000 people in Raleigh, proper, I think maybe a million in the greater area. And it's a very heavy tech, um, tech town. So, you know, folks will compare it to similar, to like a miniature Silicon Valley in the sense that there's, you know, a lot of startups in the area. Um, there's a lot of big tech. And so that all means that you're talking about content. That's really hard to explain and animation is a perfect conduit for explaining that complex material. And so as soon as we started, you know, being able to create this really unique and different type of work, um, for some of these bigger clients, it was really going back to that snowball effect kind of took off from there. Um, so we ended up starting with just Cory and I, we quickly found that we needed some help.
Mack Garrison: So we started to bring in people to accent us, um, folks who were good illustration design, uh, 3d animation. And we quickly kind of grew over the course of the last five years into what we are today, which is, you know, eight full-time staff that can really handle a bunch of different things because we think of ourselves as a little bit more generalists. Um, but then we also have about 22, we've got contractors we probably work with on a regular basis. So, you know, at any given time Dash's handling, you know, an average, probably about eight projects, uh, at a time. And then sometimes it scales up to 16. Sometimes it's a little bit lower. Um, but I think our smaller team is actually really catered towards that because we can be a little bit more nimble and more flexible. You know, we're able to work with agencies, um, who are just hiring us out and they want us to execute on the piece, but we're also can scale and bring in bigger teams when the direct client work comes in and they want us to kind of handle the majority of it. So we've found ourselves in a good position and we're excited about looking forward. I know that was a lot to digest, but, uh, that's like, that's like the dash history and what is essentially like five minutes of conversation.
Hayley Akins: Yeah. So that's great. So one thing I wanted to ask you a bit more about, because I think there's a lot of people who listen to this podcast and in the industry who've been working as a freelancer for about three to five years, something like that. And then they're like, okay, cool. Like, should I make my own studio? Um, I kind of wonder why, what you would say to those people, because coming from my point of view, you know, running a business and like hiring people and doing all of that stuff is very different from being a freelance motions designer. So what's your take on that. And what would you kind of say to these people thinking about building their own studio?
Mack Garrison: Yeah, absolutely. And that's a really great question. And I think like, looking back now, I wish there was a few things people had told me going into it that I kind of know now I think the first and the biggest takeaway is that, you know, really deciding what it is that you want to do because when you start a studio, you're really pivoting from being a designer and animator an illustrator, uh, to be in a studio in R, which is really a career in entrepreneurship. And so, you know, if you like this idea of sort of more managing a team and growing something, as opposed to doing the work yourself, then I would highly suggest it because it's incredibly rewarding and you can bring a lot of those, you know, creative mentalities to solve business solutions. But if you're the person who really likes to actually do the work yourself, um, starting a studio is only going to make you do that less and less.
Mack Garrison: You know, I was under the mindset when we started dash, I was like, cool, we'll just be Corey. And I, you know, the two of us could still be doing work and we can manage the projects and there'll be great. We'll just take on the work that we want to do. Well, then you get these questions to start to rise where it's like more and more people want to work with you, particularly for doing really great work. And you're gonna have to ask yourself, like, do we want to keep the small so that we're able to keep doing this. We want to grow to accommodate that and bring in more people. And I think that's really where the decision comes in. I mean, I know there are smaller shops out there that if you're comfortable taking on a handful of projects, you can still operate like a freelancer in a small studio model.
Mack Garrison: But as if you're going into it, thinking that you want to grow a team and bring more people in, there's just no way you're ultimately going to be able to be the person doing the work as well as, you know, growing it just because you get so many things that come up like, you know, managing the HR side of stuff, you know, managing the business side and trying to bring a new work. I mean, you just juggle so many hats. I mean, I'm not saying that's impossible that you can't still do work to some degree. In fact, Corey still does a lot of our 3d work. Um, every now and then I get to touch some 2d stuff. Um, that's really more in emergencies if like we're really up a Creek, but yeah, I would say the biggest thing is just understanding, you know, what you want your career path to be.
Mack Garrison: If you find yourself a really good people person, a good facilitator that, you know, the ins and outs of the project and the process, then you can be a great studio owner. Cause you know, all the pieces that need to come together for the project and you have a good eye to find the right pieces. So I think that's important, but if you're the person you're like, look, you know, I'm the technician. I want to jump into this. I want it to be making this stuff. Then I don't know if starting the studio is the, uh, the best methodology. Um, on another note I will say is that I heard this book and it's called the E-Myth I believe is what it is. Um, I'll have to give you, uh, the, the title and the author for it. Uh, Haley just put in the notes.
Mack Garrison: But, uh, in the book that talk about everyone has three personality traits. You know, you are a manager, um, you are a technician or you're entrepreneur and we all have those three aspects. But the difference between us is that everyone has a strength higher or lower in one of those three categories. So you may be the technician where you're really good at making the work like, you know, the ins and outs of the program. You're very, you can basically create anything, but maybe you're not as organized in the managerial side, or you're not as good as entrepreneur and going out and finding that work. Sometimes you have folks who are really good at finding the work and they're thinking big and they're like, Oh, we can tackle the world, you know, and grow this into being something that's like buck, but then they don't have the technical side or the expertise to make the happen, or they don't have the management side to stay organized for that growth.
Mack Garrison: And then you have the third person who's like really good manager. Everything's organized. Every project is like slotted a plan and you have everything under control, but then you don't have as much of the entrepreneurship side to find the work or the technician side to create. And so the idea is, I think like kind of identifying what your strength is, uh, as an individual. And particularly if you're trying to grow a studio who can you find and bring in that can accent those other categories that maybe you're lacking in. And I think if you focus on those three things, that's how you start to bring the culture and people together, uh, that will really enable success.
Hayley Akins: Yeah. I was smiling to myself though, because I knew you'd read the E-Myth cause he said technician. I was like, yeah, max read the E-Myth. He knows where it's at. Um, yeah. So, um, yeah, I think that's fantastic advice and, and something that we talk a lot about in our mastermind programs as well is, um, the fact that, you know, like sometimes you think that you want to build a studio, but actually you don't because you don't want to be the person who's kind of going out there, getting the clients, that kind of thing. Um, I'd love to know from you from, cause obviously you have a partnership with Corey and stuff like that. Um, has that helped and have you kind of found yourself taking on different roles in that sort of relationship?
Mack Garrison: A hundred percent. So I don't know how folks do it on their own. Honestly. I mean, I feel so lucky to have found my Cory in life. You know, we're like an old married couple, like kind of, you know, we just know each other so well and like the fact that we're still friends, like after all this, I mean, don't get me wrong. Corey and I were not hanging out every weekend, maybe like we used to, but can we see each other every day, but having someone that you can trust that really gets you and to help carry some of that weight is so important. I mean, there's so many different decisions that arise, um, and running a studio that are really just hard to weigh. You know, a lot of what we do is really just based on experience, right. You know, that not everyone always has the right answer.
Mack Garrison: You just kind of have experiences and you learn from it, you make mistakes and you Perot. But I think having someone that you feel really close with, you can kind of share that weight with and talk through some of those things is incredibly important, you know, in the early days of dash, um, it wasn't as defined like Cory and I were just kind of like we're doing everything right. You know, like I'll creative direct, I'll produce, you know, and it went back and forth at the time. Um, and it was kind of nebulous, but as we grew, we sort of that we needed to have some more of that sophistication and structure just because the clients almost wanted that. Um, you know, once you were dealing with one or two projects and now you're dealing with like nine or 10 at a time, you know, it came really evident that, you know, I'm a people person I love to talk, you know?
Mack Garrison: And so naturally I kind of found myself in the front facing role, the company where I'm sort of in that more entrepreneurial role, you know, talking for a new business, talking to clients, um, you know, I always felt really comfortable talking about pricing and, you know, just making sure like, Hey, this is what it is, is what it costs. Uh whereas Corey will self-admittedly, you know, say that he's a little bit more soft and likes tapping around that. And so Corey has such a great understanding of our programs and creative that, you know, it just made more sense that he was kind of on that side. And so, you know, we started off both doing kind of everything together. And then as the company started to grow, we really started to have more defined roles. Um, I don't get me wrong because we're still small.
Mack Garrison: We can't, we do like switch things up. I mean, even though my role is executive producer, you know, I creative direct a lot of our projects as well, our help accent Corey, and you know, same with Corey. You know, even though he's creative director, you know, sometimes he's still acting as producer and finding the right assets and reaching out to clients and things. But I think as we started to grow, those roles started to become more defined. But ultimately the biggest benefit I think hands down and having a partner is being able to just really share the weight that comes with it because, you know, I want to take vacations, we want to have our time off. And so to have someone that says like, Hey Corey, I'm, I'm gonna leave for two weeks and know that I can leave that in Corey's hands and he can manage the team and everything is going to run smoothly. I mean, that's a huge relief. And I think that's where some folks can get in trouble as particularly if you're off on your own endeavor and you don't have the support, that's there with you, you know, you really feel like you have to carry that weight or you can't take time away. And I think that's where that burnout starts to creep back in.
Hayley Akins: Yeah, definitely. I think it's really difficult. I mean, I guess people will be thinking, okay, cool. But so how can I like find someone to help me with this stuff, you know, and I guess for you, you found it in your friend luckily, but do you have any advice or any tips that you could give people on kind of, you know, partnering up with people and seeing if those relationships are going to play out and that kind of stuff?
Mack Garrison: For sure. I think one of the reasons that Corey and I have been so successful in our partnership and while we're still friends today is because of our working relationship for four years prior to this. I mean, Corey and I worked together for four years at our agency. And so I really knew his style and how he liked to work on projects and he knew mine. And so for anyone that's listening to this podcast and you're thinking like, you know, I actually really like to start a studio and I don't really want to do our own, so how do I find that right person? You know, I would say to me really start looking within your community to folks that sort of accent you, you just enjoy being around that you have similar methodology on how you approach stuff. You know, if you're a freelancer, you know, keep an eye out for people that you're partnering up with on projects, either with agencies or studios and saying like, you know, really liked this person's style.
Mack Garrison: You know, we get along really well. And the few times we've worked together, maybe just to start having that conversation with them, or, you know, if you're in a situation where you maybe don't know as many creatives, you know, that maybe you're the only one in your town that does animation. You're like, okay, well, how do I build something with someone else who's not creative? I think that's where you start to lean back into those three things we were talking about, like the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur. You find someone that has that business side or that growth mentality, or find someone that's really organized. It could be the producer that could manage clients as you're trying to support the team. So it doesn't necessarily need to be a creative person, I think naturally for what Corey and I were doing.
Mack Garrison: It worked out really well because we were both creating the work initially. And I think when you pair someone up as a business partner, maybe who's not making the work, it just puts a lot more pressure on the technician. I feel like the initial outset, not that that can't be remedied early on. Um, so yeah, I would say, definitely look at your community, look with people that you have working relationships with because that's really important to know how their style is and how they operate, particularly as it comes to like crunch time when there's deadlines that are rising and things like that. Um, and then I also think, you know, we're really lucky with the motion design industry and how helpful and willing people are to share tips and tricks and things of that nature. Um, you know, I also encourage people a lot, particularly now that we're in the COVID era.
Mack Garrison: Um, you know, as we're recording this podcast that, you know, really just connected with online community and need to know folks on there, you know, I think there is also a really unique opportunity around the corner where we're really going to be talking more about, uh, remote positions that haven't been in existence before. So I don't see why you couldn't have someone who lives in LA and someone who lives in New York start their own studio. And then they have two offices, you know, there's this one, the West coast and one on the East coast. I think more of that is going to be common, particularly as people get more familiar from working remotely and not having a true studio atmosphere. Um, so I think ultimately it's getting creative as well on how you can find out those partnerships. So find someone that accepts you really well, um, find someone that, you know, you can work together well with and then be a little bit creative on how you're finding those, uh, those people, whether it's internal communities in your local area or online.
Hayley Akins: Yeah. So I read a book called rocket fuel as well, which is really good to kind of similar to the E-Myth, where it talks about, um, where you have visionaries and integrators and I'm very much a visionary kind of person. So I know that I need to bring people in who are more kind of, you know, the detail orientated kind of people, you know, the integrated people who are, who are going to get stuff and who are going to manage the projects, stuff like that. So I think a lot of people, um, can relate to that. And I think that was very similar to what you're kind of saying with, you know, um, the E-Myth stuff where, you know, you have these people in these different roles and it's kind of almost about identifying who you are and then trying to find the people who compliment you the most. And also getting to know yourself. I mean, I don't know about you, whether you've had this, but on my kind of entrepreneurial journey, guess I've figured out so much about myself that I didn't know. And just from like hiring other people as well, and like really bring some stuff up to the surface that sometimes isn't very pretty and isn't that, you know, you're like, I don't want to be that person, you know, I know that you've had that kind of experience when you're, when you've been building your team as well.
Mack Garrison: Yeah, I think so. I think like, just because naturally you're tapping into new conflicts or new problems that you haven't had to think up before, there's requiring you to think about how you really want to approach that. It's just naturally requiring you to think in a different way. I know I found out how much I actually enjoy that entrepreneurship in growing the company. Like I initially going back to like the conversation we were talking about earlier and like starting dash and realizing that was pulling me out from the creative, like at a high level, you know, that doesn't sound good, you know, it's like, why would I want to start a studio? Like I love the creative, you know? And so like that line just doesn't sound good. But one thing I did learn and I think is incredibly important. And what is so rewarding about having a studio is that, you know, dash is responsible for bringing together some of the most creative minds in our industry to execute on some of the best work possible.
Mack Garrison: And I take a lot of pride in that, like, there's work that we're making that if I was still doing the creative, I would not have been able to do. Right. And so there's something that I take and just bring it together. This team that is able to make this fantastic looking work and like, yes, I didn't physically make that, but, you know, we made this happen. It was like, I talked to this client who was interested in this project and we came up with this idea because of this idea, we were able to find the right team to execute on this idea. And then it came together into this video and that was a result of dash. Right. And so to me, that's incredibly empowering. So I found that while surprisingly, initially I was, I was like upset that like I wasn't doing the work anymore.
Mack Garrison: And that was like making me feel down that I ultimately ended up finding so much satisfaction and this idea that dash is still make great work, even if it's not me directly making it. And there's a lot to be proud of because of that. And that's the biggest thing. And what I'm most excited about for Dash's future is that every year of the last five years, I generally believe Dash's work is getting better and better. And that's what we set out for. You know, we started asking, we believe in power, creativity and motion design that matters. And I feel like five years in, we were holding that in the same position in high regard that we did when we first started. And I feel like we're, you know, achieving those goals that we had. And so like, that's really exciting. So going back to your question, I'm like, you know, if there's anything that surprised you or things that kind of came out, you know, I think it was this idea that like, I don't necessarily need to be the one making the work, um, to feel proud of what we're making. Right. You know, that even though there's a disconnect there, there's still a lot of pride in being able to bring together these teams and execute on this stuff, which I think is really cool.
Hayley Akins: Yeah. I think that's awesome. I think there is, um, it's something that you have to think about when you're starting a business, isn't it like growing the team and like team culture and stuff like that. And like this stuff just never gets talked about. I don't think, you know, and like how you do that. So like we talked to loads about on this podcast, like how to get clients and that kind of thing. I do want to dig into that with you as well, but I'd love to hear from your side, like how do you pull these teams together and who do you know who, you know, how do you find the right freelancers and that kind of stuff?
Mack Garrison: Oh, this is such a great question. And I love that you asked it because it's something that we hold in such high regard at our studio. So when I'm talking about it in two ways, um, and we'll talk about it as like a studio culture and how we've been growing our full-time staff. And then I'm also going to talk about it from a freelancer perspective. So I think both are incredibly important. So one of the best things that Corey and I did early on is really established what is the foundation that we want to build dash on? You know, we talked about the work and doing really creative work and like, yes, that's great and incredibly important, but equally as important is the people that we're bringing on to grow that with us, you know, being in a small studio just adds a ton of weight to all the people that are here, because it's just, you know, it's not a big ecosystem of talent, you know?
Mack Garrison: So every person that brings on who we bring on has huge weight and what they bring to the studio and what they bring to the conversation and our culture in general. So early on Corey and I discussed some key personality traits. So we think of when we think of dash and that we wanted to look for when we hire people to bring in. So it's, um, six key personality traits. It's gregarious, you know, not only in the idea that we're outgoing, uh, Corey and I both are relatively talkative people, but it's outgoing in the design sense that all of us love to talk towards our craft. So even if you're an introvert, you still feel comfortable wanting to talk towards your design capabilities, your illustration capabilities, why you're doing something, the reason behind that, because that is so critical to the growth and the success of our studio, to be able to communicate that with clients.
Mack Garrison: So being gregarious and outgoing as it pertains to our craft, the second is a symbiotic relationship. You know, we genuinely believe that collaboration is the best way to move forward in this industry and to make the best work. So that's not only collaboration with our staff and people who enjoy working with other people and this not this me mentality, but this us mentality, but it's also with our clients as well. You know, when we kind of keep that in the back of our mind, if we come across clients who are very directive in saying like, Hey, this is what you're going to do, execute on this blah, blah, blah. That's not a good fit for us. Like we want to have clients that are, feel like more like partners where we're looking back, working with them, you know, they're subject matter experts in the projects that we're working on.
Mack Garrison: And so we're trying to work with them to find what their needs are so we can execute on the best creative process. So having a very symbiotic relationship, um, we're also the other personality trait is optimism. So being optimistic, um, I think unfortunately, uh, the crave industry, uh, from a business standpoint, it can be a very pessimistic industry. You have timelines changing, you have budgets that are getting cut. You know, there's just a lot of things that can really derail someone's positive spirits on a project. And so we really look for staff that have this kind of, I don't want to say tough mentality, that's the wrong word, flexible mentality. So where they can say like, Hey, you know what, that's feedback, right. You know, we're designers, we're not artists by trade, so we're gonna try and make the best work we can for the client.
Mack Garrison: So we're happy to do that. Right. So always keeping that positive outlook, um, creative is another one of our personality traits, right? So, you know, first and foremost, not only on what that final product is, but that process on how we get there, you know, the having creative thoughts, being able to conceptualize and think about things in new ways. That's, what's really differentiating studios. You know, it's not that you're a great creative and you can execute on work, but it's like, how am I going to come up with this unique visual, Oh, this client's problem that also feels unique within, in an industry of people making the same stuff. Right. So having that creative mindset from start to finish is important. Um, the last two are also equally or, uh, honesty, um, you know, where we believe that you need to have full transparency. Um, you know, not only with our clients, but with our staff, you know, we understand that every project we take on cannot be the most creative project possible, right?
Mack Garrison: Sometimes there are projects that pay the bills. Um, sometimes things just aren't as creative as you wanted them to be, but we try and make that clear with our staff on why we're taking that on say, Hey, we're taking this project on, you know, we understand it's not very creative, you know, which is like one of our core attributes, but we're taking on because we need to make money and we're having a slower quarter and we're transparent. Or with clients, Hey, we can't do what you're asking us to because there's just not enough time. You know, we would be putting too much pressure on our staff or, you know, we can hit this deadline because of XYZ. If you're able to do this, we can hit that deadline. So just being honest and transparent with the client, and then the last bit is efficiency. You know, we always look for, um, not the fastest way to get stuff done, but putting the right person in the right seat on the project.
Mack Garrison: So having an understanding of your staff and knowing what each person really excels in and looking at the project as a whole and seeing where their best fit for their skillset would be so that we can plug and play to make sure that no time is really wasted and that everyone is put in a position to succeed. And that also just means understanding as well, the creative needs of our staff and what they're trying to do. So if someone is trying to improve at something, finding a project where there is an opportunity for them to try something and fail if necessary, but then they're going to fail in a good way where it's not detrimental to the whole project. And so being efficient in putting in plugging people in those positions is good. So as a recap, that's the six key personality traits are gregarious, symbiotic, optimistic, creative, honest, and efficient.
Mack Garrison: Those are what we're looking for as we're trying to build a core team to keep that culture there. So those are Dash's key personality traits as we look at for a studio and we're trying to bring in the right people. So how does that work from a freelance standpoint? Um, you know, we keep all those personality traits in mind as we're looking for freelancers to bring on for the right project. Um, and we're also looking for ways to sort of accent that as well. You know, for us, when we're looking for freelancers, you know, these same traits are incredibly important. It's someone who's really gregarious or communicative about what they're doing. You know, the creative aspect is really important. So we're always looking for folks who have, you know, little bits and pieces on their process and what they're bringing into things. Um, you know, transparency, you know, social media is really interesting because it allows people, a channel to sort of, you know, that and talk about things that are both good and bad.
Mack Garrison: So we keep an eye out about how engaged they are with the community. And so the people that we ended up working with, you know, a lot of times, um, as a producer dash, I will find someone that has really cool work and I'll give them a follow on Instagram or Twitter. And then I'll kind of see like, you know, just what their interactions look like. You know, how are they engaging with the community? What are they posting? And a lot of the people that end up coming on to work with us on projects are people just naturally feel like a good fit. Like I almost feel like I'm engaging with them on Twitter, like the way I live with our staff on our Slack channel. And so it makes it an easy switch. So for anyone who's looking at trying to get into a studio from a freelance perspective, honestly, this day and age and social media, you know, really trying to make sure that that reflects your personality and who you are.
Mack Garrison: Not only from just a creative standpoint in the work that you're trying to do, but it's a personal standpoint and kind of, you know, your thoughts and things on the industry. I love to see people talking about that and when people are engaged and very active within the community, they're sharing their thoughts and their opinions on the community where things are going, talking about projects, you know, engaging with other folks, all that stuff resonates really well with the dash team and allows us to find freelancers that not only are going to be creative Bergen to really accent our staff and what we kind of have from a culture standpoint as well.
Hayley Akins: Yeah, I think that's great. Um, I'm so pleased you brought this up because there's actually something that I talk a lot about in my cos client quest, because, um, I think that social media is a really, really powerful tool that people aren't utilizing in the right way. Yeah. We're all sitting there like scrolling on Instagram in the morning or whatever when we wake up, but we're not actually like putting ourselves out there, put in the workout that we do and our personality and all that kind of stuff. And also, like you said, really, really important, just engaging with the wider community in the industry and like all the studios and stuff like that. And, you know, like common and non people's work, giving people help trying to give people value and all of that. So I'm really glad that you said that, you know, from the studio side as well, like you're looking out for that and you're actually like watching what people are doing.
Hayley Akins: Cause I think people need to know that they need to know that people are on these platforms and kind of looking for the next freelancers and that kind of stuff. And if you do a bit of that, you know, you've like say you've like engaged with someone on Twitter a bit and they followed you and you followed them. You had a bit of conversation and then maybe they like reach out to you on email and say, Hey, like, Oh, here's my work, blah, blah, blah. Like, I really love what you're doing at dash and all that kind of stuff. And you know them and you know that they follow you and you've been talking to them online. They're much more likely to come and work with you all on like, you know,
Mack Garrison: A hundred percent, I'm a hundred percent, you know, I have a statistic back and give you, um, from this year it's I wish I had the numbers in front of me, but in 2020 we had 358 freelancers reached out to dash for work. So we had 358 people contact us through our forum that we have on our website. Um, you know, we basically have this form that you fill out and it puts you into our system. So it kind of organizes you based on your skillset and your talent, what you do. But we had 358 requests come in for people wanting to work with us. And so as you can imagine three to five to eight requests on top of all the work that we're doing, you know, it's just hard to really go through that. And so I think that's why, where the importance of staying relevant and being in the eyesight of dash and other studios is really important.
Mack Garrison: You can't just submit that one request and then be like, cool, all right, they'll reach out. You gotta be engaged. So, you know, doing follow-ups, uh, posting stuff on like Twitter and engagement or liking some of the stuff, comment on some of the stuff. I mean, ultimately, you know, you don't want to be annoying and not telling everyone that you can just be sending emails to everyone once a week. But I think it's important to understand that, you know, we're all human as well. And so things get busy and things fall by the wayside. And it's not that there's a disrespect for you and your work, but timing is really everything. I can't tell you how many times we've hired freelancers because I've gotten an email the same day that I needed to find someone for a 2d thing or a 3d thing. It's like, Oh man, who are we going to find for this project person reaches out right?
Mack Garrison: Then this just happens to be, um, you know, at the right timing. And so, you know, as far as vice versa, freelancers sort of the same thing we do with a lot of our clients and companies, you know, I should have an email, you know, some of our contacts, you know, like once every two or three months just being like, Hey, hope all is, well, you know, this, some of the work that I've been working on, here's a few things that we've been making a dash, you know, let us know if you have any upcoming projects and it's not even that I'm, we're expecting a response from them, you know, but it's just a light little touch that says like, Hey, we still exist and we're making cool work and we're moving forward. Here's some of the new things we're doing. And I think freelancers could benefit from doing that.
Mack Garrison: You know, making sure that you're staying in touch and just shooting a quick email to the studio says, Hey, you know, I have some upcoming availability. Here's some work that I'm working on. Hope all is well, you know, that's all it needs to be. Um, you know, and then be cognizant as we were talking about on your social media platforms, you know, sign that you need to be posting stuff every day. I think that's a big misconception is that people think they need to constantly have new work up there. You know, as a producer that's hiring, I would much rather see you post something, you know, once a month, that looks amazing. Then something you're trying to post every day. But I do think you can be involved on comedy, on other studio stuff, sharing things, you know, posting stories or comment on stuff on Twitter, all that stuff still makes you sort of relevant.
Mack Garrison: Um, and in the Ford focus of the community, uh, without having to necessarily post stuff. So just a little bit of advice I would say is just kind of staying engaged, not only with your community, but with studios and then the email stuff as well is really important. Um, and then one last thing to build on that is, you know, I get this question a lot from folks who are coming out of school, you know, and they're like, how do I get jobs at these studios? Or like, how do I make these connections? You know, maybe I don't really have a big social media presence. Um, but I want to be connected. You know, one thing that I wish I did earlier on in my career was just reach out to people like in general, like I tell students all the time, you know, find studios that you like, shoot him an email and just say, Hey, you know, I really liked the work you're doing.
Mack Garrison: You know, what would it take for me to land a job at your company? What are you looking for in a candidate? You know, and you're starting to do two things there. One you're getting valuable information for what it takes to work at that studio. But two, you're also just making a connection with the person that's going to reply. And, you know, at worst case scenario, someone either says nothing, you know, they don't reply back or they give you like a one line answer. But, you know, I think the nice thing about our community is that everyone is really generally nice people and we've all been there. I know I have personally. And so most of the time you're going to find, you'll get a nice response. That's like, Oh, we're looking for X, Y, and Z. We don't have anything available right now, but, you know, check back.
Mack Garrison: And then that's your opportunity to kind of keep reaching out, you know, every quarter or every few months and just stay on the radar. So that's one thing I would do that I would encourage anyone who's like new in the industry are trying to get their feet wet with some connections. That's the best way to do it. It's just to reach out to folks. And the second thing is knowing who you're reaching out to, I think any producer at a smaller studio, it'd be a great place to connect. Cause they're gonna be the ones that are really in charge of kind of building these teams out. So you want to make sure that you're in their digital Rolodex of people to contact. Um, but then also I think creative directors are good too, because they're the ones who are ultimately kind of deciding on what the creative direction is.
Mack Garrison: And so if they really liked your style or you feel like you have something really unique, uh, getting in front of them as well, too. Um, and then the last little bit, I would say, if you feel like you're having a really hard time finding producers, creditors to talk to, you know, again, reach out to your community and reach out to other freelancers and other people who are working at the studios that you want to work at. So maybe you can even get in touch with the studio, but you can get in touch with the freelancer to get some advice on how to better shape your portfolio or how to better shape your communication interactions with folks. You know, again, this community is so willing to help if you're willing to put yourself out there and ask for it.
Hayley Akins: Yeah. A hundred percent. And I think also there's this thing I was talking to someone the other day about, um, you know, where everyone's like, Oh no, but I'm not ready for that studio yet. Like the work is too good and my work is not good and all of this kind of stuff. And it's like, even if your work, maybe isn't quite up to that standard yet. I would still say because one thing I think that people always think they're never good enough and you know, all that kind of stuff, I would just say, reach out anyway. Cause like you said, the worst thing that can happen is someone doesn't reply. Probably what will happen is I'll put you on like a list. Like, you know, like you said, you have a list of freelancers and that kind of stuff. And like, you know, but then if you follow up again and you're like, Hey, look, this is my new piece of work that I've done. And that piece of work has, you know, is better. And, and you've, you've shown like progress. I think that's like amazing. And I think that's something that I'm sure it was like Zach Dickson or someone on the podcast before was talking about as well. Like, you know how like it's great to see progress. And then it's like, okay, cool. Now we know that you're working your skills and now this piece of work is good enough. And like, Hey, maybe there's a job coming up next week or something, but you can work on, you know,
Mack Garrison: Exactly. It's the goes back to that like personal investment, you know, it's, if you're even struggling trying to land new work, you know, just staying on your craft, whether it's, you know, a MoGraph mentor school of motion course that you took and, or it's just something you've been doodling or you did, you know, whatever it was the October, you know, doing the illustrations every day. I mean, you know, studios love to see that our very first employee was hired as a result of her Instagram. So I had a recommendation from someone, um, for max Snyder. She's, uh, Dash's first employee, she's an illustrator with us then with us from almost the beginning. Um, and she came to us through a recommendation and we interviewed her and you know, her portfolio looked good, you know, it was fine, but I wouldn't say it was like incredibly exceptional that it like stuck out to me compared to other portfolios we were looking at, like I said, it was good, but what really sold me was looking at her Instagram, where she had all these personal projects of illustrations, of just friends of characters, you know?
Mack Garrison: And I was just like, wow, like these are really, really anatomically correct and accurate, wonderful looking character work. And it just sold me immediately, like immediately set her apart from like all our counterparts, because she had, uh, you know, she was pushing the social. She was trying to get better. She was engaged with the community and this was something that she was clearly passionate about. Cause she was doing it on the side. It wasn't just work related and that's ultimately what people want. That's ultimately what studios want. They want passion in their work. And so it just goes back to the importance, I think of not being so dependent on the work you're being assigned to when you more work, but really taking that self initiative on what can you be doing to better yourself every day, even if it's just a little bit on some of these personal products to show that you're not just in it for the work you're in it for the craft and you know, want to be a part of this industry.
Hayley Akins: Yeah. I think that's awesome. Um, I just wanted to ask you about like how you get clients and what, you know, what, what kind of clients do you have at the moment and what kind of clients did you have when you first started out, like in that transition bit where, you know, you, you had the CNN projects and then kind of what happened after that.
Mack Garrison: Yeah, absolutely. It's a really great question. And I think it's one that's like tough because it's easier for some folks and harder for others. I think this a lot of this industry, um, for better for worse is based on connections, right. And the importance of a connection. Like I can't stress that enough, how important it is to make sure you take that coffee invite with that random person that maybe you don't know that well, but always taking that coffee because there's just so many times that random things have led to bigger work. When we first started, you know, Corey and I were lucky that we had a little bit of freelance already under our belt. You know, we had done some stuff, both of us prior to starting at the agency we were at. And then, um, afterwards, you know, we had some of those contacts still, so it wasn't like we were coming in with nothing.
Mack Garrison: Right. And I think that's really important. You know, if you're thinking about going freelance, um, and leaving your full-time job, I would really highly stress that you don't come in with absolutely nothing. And then trying to build from that, but have at least a client or two, um, and how you get those initial clients. You know, I think it really starts off with just your community, you know, lean on your connections. Um, so people in your community, whether it's on Facebook, friends, family, all know what it is you do. So make sure you have your Thanksgiving speech, you know, for the U S folks or, you know, Christmas speech or holiday speech, uh, that you could tell all their friends and family, what does he do so they can advertise you as well. So getting a few of those clients, um, when dash first started when it was Corey and I, a lot of our early projects were results of former colleagues that we had worked with, which is why I do think it is important for folks to work a bigger agency, maybe prior to starting a studio, not a necessity, but because we were at a, such a large company, there was times of people coming and going.
Mack Garrison: So folks didn't necessarily hang around for years on end. So we would work with a project manager or something who would be there a year and then she moved on or he moved on to a different company. And so some of our early projects were with those people that we had gotten to know, uh, at the company. And then it really is a snowball effect. You know, it's why it's so important to make sure that no matter how the project goes, that you always end on a positive note, you know, there's ebbs and flows, things work well. Things sometimes take a term, but just making sure that at the end of the day, you don't want a bad taste in your mouth as it results with that client or them working with you because this industry is just built on reputation and it's a lot smaller than folks think.
Mack Garrison: So a lot of those early projects that we met, you know, we got through connections that we knew kind of started to snowball where then people started to hear a little bit more about dash find out that we existed getting more recommended to us. And it's really been that effect that has carried us to where we are now. Um, you know, I would say as high as like 80 to 85% of the work that we take on is all referrals. So it's either people that we have worked with previously, or they have referred us to someone else when they have been asked. And that's why it's so important to have that good relationship with your clients and making sure that, like I said, even if things don't go smoothly ends on a good note of customer, most of the work comes from now. I think the way to accent that and to go, try to find work for us, we found success in, um, you know, asking directly to those clients.
Mack Garrison: If they have any colleagues that they might think could utilize our services or anyone they could recommend or connect us with. Um, I also think getting involved with local communities for Raleigh there's AIG American Institute of graphic arts, um, there's also the AMA American marketers. So American marketers association, you know, and so understanding who your demographic is and who's hiring you. It made sense for us to join the marketing association. Cause now we're starting to interact with people who are interested in creating and buying videos. Right. Um, and then I think, you know, also there's something to be said about being friends with other folks in the industry in the sense that sometimes may be work that comes in, that they can't take on. They've happy to throw your way. I can tell you right now that we've had anywhere from like five to 10 projects have come from us as a result of other studios sending it our way now, how great of an industry is that?
Mack Garrison: I mean, tell me any other industry where people who could be considered you know, as competitors are sending you work because they can't take it on and they want to do well by the client. I mean, it blows my mind. I mean, some of our biggest projects we've ever had as a company have been from folks in our industry who have recommended and said sent them our way, which I am incredibly flattered for and appreciative of that relationship with these other studios so much. So it just goes to show that like, you know, this community and, you know, these connections that you're making are so important, right. And while we really need to embrace and kind of foster this like inclusiveness and helping one another, because that ultimately helps all of us, I think as soon as you start to think about like, what's in it for me instead of us, that's when things get derailed and you're not going to end up in a good place. So that was a long-winded way of saying basically make as many connections as you can and keep foster.
Hayley Akins: Yeah, definitely. I think that's great. And it's, you know, I was just talking to someone who's kind of, you know, a bit of an expert on LinkedIn, I guess, yesterday. And all he was talking about is like this human to human connection, you know, like don't be a robot when you're sending people messages, don't be like, hello, here's my real, do you like it? You know, like talk how you talk on line and, you know, connect people. And especially in, LinkedIn's a great opportunity because it's a more of a B2B platform, I think. And I never the, you know, this, but you, when you like, and comment on other people's posts that comes up in your feed, so then like, that's just an easy way for like, people's keep seeing you in the feed and, you know, like always, yeah, like always thanking people as well for like commenting on your posts.
Hayley Akins: Like if people are like, Oh, that's a great piece of work. Be like, thank you so much. Like, I really appreciate that. You know, and like coming in on other people's work and trying to give over the people value. I think that's like a really great thing. I mean, it's for all social media, but like LinkedIn I know is, especially at the moment, just really tuned in on that kind of stuff. And I think like, whereas Facebook and stuff like that, you used to be like that. And obviously Instagram as well. But I think the organic reach on LinkedIn is like a bit more, you know, in our favor at the moment and especially for video stuff
Mack Garrison: And it's underutilized by our industry too. Like I think there's a handful of, there's a handful of people that I see on LinkedIn that are you utilizing it a lot, which is great. I mean, if you think about various industries, one of the bigger challenges is having great content to share. And we've, we're already over that hurdle as Pusha desires, we have great content. And so all you need to do is posted on there and get people to comment on it. And you're starting to expose yourself and your capabilities to other folks out there. So, uh, I guess this is, this is our public service announcement that, you know, if you're a motion designer and you're not using LinkedIn, what are you doing? What are you doing exactly. And like, definitely,
Hayley Akins: Um, something else that he said, um, was about getting, um, testimonials and like having them get, getting those recommendations on LinkedIn and stuff like that. Cause I'm using it kind of almost like, and putting your contact information and all that stuff and like make it easy for people to contact you on there and that kind of thing. And just being a nice person, you know? And like when someone comments on your posts, they're like, thanks so much. I appreciate that. It sounds so basic. And people are going to be like, Oh, what, like, but you know, if you do that like a few times a week and then post a couple of times, like I'm, I'm a hundred percent certain that all lead to, you know, building those relationships or at least getting them started.
Mack Garrison: I think one of the harder things that folks probably run into is this overwhelming feeling of like, trying to do so much like, Oh, am I supposed to manage my Twitter? My Instagram, my LinkedIn am I supposed to update my portfolio? I'm supposed to be reaching out to these studios with a Mac sitting here and telling me I should join the AMA and AIG. And there's just, the list goes on and on. And so it's like, Oh, I'm just going to focus on the work that I have at hand. Right. And that's the mentality. And so I think something that I have found, particularly when we're in the weeds and we're incredibly busy is I'm a big list person. Even just having something that you can like throw up and just cross off is so important and give yourself just the smallest tasks possible that like this week for this hour of this week, I'm going to post some stuff on social media.
Mack Garrison: If I don't have anything to post, I'm going to comment on people's stuff or share some other people's stuff and share their work as well. But just giving yourself that little bit of moment and directive on what to do, um, you know, 1% every day, I know everyone hears this is going to do boatloads versus like 0.1% or 0.9, nine, you know, and just the exponential growth of that. So yes, I think it's like how you combat feeling overwhelmed, you know, making less and just doing a little bit every day. I think ultimately it helps.
Hayley Akins: Yeah, definitely. I agree with that. And it's, for me, it's about scheduling it in like regularly, even if it's just like half an hour, like on your lunch break, you know, just like going through and doing that stuff. But yeah, I know like you, haven't got tons more time, but I wanted to just mention Dash bash cause I'm so excited about it and I'm sad that it didn't happen last year. Do you want to just tell everyone a little bit about that?
Mack Garrison: Oh yes. And a great segue. I was hoping we could talk about this a little bit. So, um, the dash bash was an idea that originated, um, about a year and a half ago. Uh, and it was ultimately a result of a combination of going to so many festivals over the years in particular blend fast, which, uh, myself and our staff. And I know so many others hold in such high regard and we love so much. Um, but you know, we just love this idea of community. And so as dash was coming up on our five-year anniversary, which was October 15th of 2020, you know, we were like, Oh, we should throw a big party. We've never done any celebration for dash in any of the years that we've been around and to be around five years, you know, it's tough, you know, so I'm very appreciative that we are.
Mack Garrison: And so what started off as a conversation of one big party turned into like, who do we want to have this party? And then it became into like, well, we want to bring all our industry friends. And then it was like, well, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. You know, blend fast is all the way on Vancouver. It's fantastic. But it's a haul for a lot of people, you know, and they are doing it every two years at the time. I was like, maybe there's a way we can accent this. Like what if we did like a little cough conference or festival here in Raleigh? And so that idea really blossomed into what is ultimately the dash bash. So the big party to celebrate not only dashes five years, but the community, at least over the last five years and how much they meant to us.
Mack Garrison: You know, I remember going to, uh, you know, the first dash bash, you know, and meeting folks like Ryan, honey at bok and getting to know a Jake Randon at giant ant and these people that I put on this pedestal of some of the best in the industry, I realized that they were just humans like us. Right. You know, everyone thinks like, Oh my gosh, all these like really famous people in our industry, you know, our industry outside of the door of anyone of these festivals is not, you know, bringing in Oscars and you know, not getting autographs. And so I think it was like humbling to see just that like, Oh, these people are regular people and kind of feeling empowered and confident to ask questions and talk to them and how much I've benefited from those conferences. Like those early conversations with some of these studio leads early conversations with other freelancers, we held in high regard to really see what people wanted in this community and how people were willing to help.
Mack Garrison: You know, it just resonated with us so much and really help build a foundation for dash as we were growing. And so the dash fash has ultimately been a way that we can give back to the community. You know, we want to create this inclusive space that brings together animators, illustrators, designers, markers, creatives, from all across the United States and hopefully the world into an area that feels intimate and enough where we feel like we can make those connections, right? Because while social media is fantastic for starting the conversation, you know, there's nothing that ultimately beats that in-person experience and getting to know that other human beside you. And so we've benefited so much from these early conversations that we want to return the favor to this community. And so we want to bring in people that have some experience that can talk towards things that can be hard to talk about.
Mack Garrison: Like, let's talk about money, let's talk about diversity in this industry. You know, let's talk about where the industry is going. Let's talk about improvements that we all need to be doing. Let's talk about things that we don't like and how we're going to fix them. You know, just as like, we all look to our legislatures to fix some of the problems and the various issues that are going on in the United States, you know, we can do this for our own community as well. And so the idea of on the dash bash is yes, it's a celebration of everything that's going on, but it's also a conduit for being able to talk towards people and learn from one another over the course of three days. So the dash dash is officially on. As of right now, we have new dates and the 23rd and 24th of September, 2021, we were in the midst of trying to ramp up, um, posts and things like that.
Mack Garrison: So there's more to come. Um, but yes, you know, as of right now, you know, we feel confident and hopeful that with the vaccine that is circulating that by September, um, you know, we'll feel like we're in a good shape to host it. And then of course we're developing contingency things in case it needs to either be virtual or if we need to half the size of the conference itself so that we can make sure that our social distance and things like that in there, but it's going to be really fine. I'll give you the Raleigh experience. You try some North Carolina, barbecue. Uh, you find out how nice people are in the South. They'll, it'll be a good time here in North Carolina.
Hayley Akins: Great. Yeah. Well, it sounds fantastic. I hope, I hope it can go ahead. You know, it's a bit uncertain right now, but fingers crossed. We can all go. Yeah. But it's great. Cause you know, like you said, like we met a blend as well. You know, I met so many cool people there and it was just a really good experience and um, yeah, I can't wait. I want, you know, more conferences the better and hopefully we can all get there. Um, soon fingers crossed, but yeah,
Mack Garrison: But I'd be craving it, you know, as soon as we're coming out of lockdown, I feel like every one of these conferences are going to be sold out, you know, everyone's going to want to be doing stuff. So there's a lot of good things to come around the corner,
Hayley Akins: Hopefully. Yeah, definitely. So if there's one thing that you want the audience to take away from this episode, what would that be?
Mack Garrison: I think just, um, rather than focusing on any in particular thing from this episode, I think it's just always good to remind folks to be kind, you know, I think one of the things that has been really exceptional about this community, and I think one of the reasons people love it so much is the kindness that is so pervasive throughout it. And so, you know, we all are dealing with our own demons. You know, everyone has a lot going on in their lives, particularly with the pandemic that has been happening. And so just remember that, you know, when you're critiquing other people's work, reviewing portfolios, talking to freelancers, working with studios, just remember in the back of your head to be kind, because I think people who've been going through a lot over the last year and I think one of the best places they can find refuges within this community. And so we want to just keep that moving. So I would say be kind.
Hayley Akins: Yeah, that's great. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Mack Garrison: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me, Hayley. It was a blast.
Hayley Akins: Thanks again to Mack for coming on the show. That was such a great episode. And there were so many fantastic takeaways in the, you can find all the show notes on our website, our motiohatch.com/81 If you enjoy this podcast, please consider leaving us a rating and subscribing wherever you get your podcasts from. Also please tell a friend about this podcast so you can help them to grow their business and career as well. Thank you so much for listening. I appreciate you. See ya.
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