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Rascal: “Creative Management Is Back”



As he joins as partner at Rascal, LBB catches up with Andrew ‘Barnsley’ Wood - the 30-year Mill veteran - and the rest of the team on what they hope to achieve in their new venture

Rascal: “Creative Management Is Back”
Rascal Post was founded by Kalle Lundberg, Markus Lundqvist and Gareth Brannan. They are now joined by Andrew Wood (AKA Barnsley) and colourist Dave Ludlam. Since forming, a whole host of post and audio stars have joined the post house. The team, corralled by head of production Lou Cherry, chatted (fairly enthusiastically) to LBB about how they are setting up their stall.


LBB> How did Rascal start? Did you start during the pandemic? Was that tough?

Kalle> We had already started Rascal before the pandemic. We were always working from home. The pandemic didn't really affect us adversely. In fact, it actually did the opposite, because many other great folks wanted to work a different way. So we started expanding.

Gareth> Basically, Markus and Kalle had been working remotely for years between themselves. And that just made launching this much easier. When I joined it was pretty easy to go to the directors I'd been working with. Many wanted to try something new, try a different company and a way to work.

I think the worry, obviously, with small post houses has been this idea that you need to scale up to do big projects. We have a very good core of really talented people. We kept it really nimble, really tight, But, because of the way we work we knew how to scale up and down as we needed to. 

Markus> Then Neil and Aaron joined us from 750mph and Grand Central Recording Studios and added the sound elements to the business. Again this all came about from a change in the ways these two wanted to work and a change in the way they could.


LBB> So tell us what makes up the Rascal offering now what does the team look like

Markus> It’s a small team of core talent, backed by a whole army of Flame operators and others who want to work a different way

Gareth> The energy is amazing and the word has spread very quickly and a lot of the people we have worked with over the years like our model and the freedom that it brings. And they like the proximity to the client. With us, the clients are so much closer to the actual artists than in the big houses. 


LBB> Barnsley, what appealed to you about this model?

Barnsley> It’s a great group of talent working directory with the client buying our skills. You know you don't necessarily get the right talent if you go to the big places. You get sold on the big names, but get little of their time. What I like about this is that it is crystal clear who you are working with from start to finish.

We haven't got big overheads. There is no mass middle management, there are no investors. You deal with the people who open the company and they want to give you the best product.

Every director wants to just deal with the person actually doing the work. With us, that is exactly what happens.


LBB> What work do you want to be doing at Rascal?

Gareth> We want to be working on high-end work, but also have the ability and time to work on great creative work which often has lower budgets. This is stuff that interests all of us and the thing that keeps you current and keeps you interested, it’s why we work in the business. We have the fastest kit in town and that helps us in this area.


LBB> Er... what?

Markus> I’ve been building Flames my whole life so instead of having them like these massive staff/costs we build them ourselves. We build laptops, we can take them anywhere - we can go on set, we can go home. 

Gareth> Because we use the kit every day it’s our interest to own the best. We always jump at the first chance to try something new, the kit is moving at such a pace. We have really been working more akin to the gaming world. Which is way ahead of the industry in lockdown. We kinda work more like a gaming studio than a post house.

Markus> So that's why it was so easy for us in Covid. Everyone had to reinvent the wheel. We didn’t, we were working/meeting on chat channels for years before Covid, from digital rooms to colour. It’s how we have always worked. We have just carried on.


LBB> How are you going to manage the growth of the business? You are pretty well-connected people that others are going to want to work with.

Gareth> We have to be careful of course. The key has always got to be with managing our relationships properly, not about how big we are. We just want to do every job really well. So I think we have to be brave enough to say no from time to time. We’d rather not do a job than not do it properly.

Barnsley> I think also we are older and wiser we've done all that shit, you know? We've spent enough time trying to squeeze everything in. That is not what we are doing here. Who does that benefit?

Markus> I agree. And we don't really like the model of trying to push down the rates just to win work. Staff/freelancers need to be paid properly and with us, they can kinda choose when they want to work, not just when they have to.


LBB> What's the ambition with Rascal?

Gareth> We have been doing this a long time. It’s what we do. We want to come to work, work on nice projects and enjoy ourselves The same as ever really. Post houses have come and gone over the years. We just want to find our niche and run a nice business

Markus> But we have ambition. We've just opened colour grading and taken more space. But we don't work like a company where everyone comes in and works every day, they are just basically showrooms and the showrooms are there, if the client needs a live session. The rest is pretty much and has always been in the cloud or at home or in the shed in your garden. And that's been the model we never want to break. We want to have all the freedom to work pretty much from wherever we want OR the client wants

Gareth> We are building an infrastructure around us that allows us to work at the top level and giving us the flexibility to take the projects we really care about, you know, whether it's helping a director that we've like to do a film, or whether it's a music video that's got some amazing ground-breaking effects in it. So it’s really just working the way we used to.

Barnsley> But for me, it's also important to have fun. We want to surround ourselves with people who really love the work.


LBB> Obviously the business is evolving. You come from post houses that have worked with many big clients/brands. Is that a market you will work in?

Markus> We already are. Anyone can be your next client now. 

Dave> I have a comment here. Barnes said something recently that is very true. He summed it up beautifully. With lockdown, the genie came out of the bottle and it won’t go back in. As a post house, you don’t need to be backed by a massive multibillion-dollar investor anymore, that myth has been busted open. You can do it a little bit smaller, cheaper. Everyone's got a pipe at home now and it works. We were just as quick, if not quicker, to move than these big companies. This pandemic has sped up everything and made people think differently and choose who they want to work with.

For me, there are certain times in your life when you see an opportunity that is right and for me, this was one of them. This the first time I have seen where the industry is actually going. Post is changing now and I believe this model gives everyone what they want.

Barnsley> I also believe the power is swinging back to the creatives. Not just the management, but the creatives who want to move fast and do great stuff with great people. I feel like creative management is coming back. I think Covid has forced that.

LBB> Can you sum up what excites you about Rascal and why you think people will come?

Barnsley> I’m the new guy, let me have a go. It's basically really personable people. Everyone's completely genuine. There's a lot of down to earth people here who just really want to do great work. No big egos. People who have created a lot of great stuff over the years who you can work directly with. That is probably pretty appealing. Especially to lots of new start-up agencies and those who want to work differently. We have cut all the fat out. It’s just the artists with lean production. It’s not rocket science.

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Rascal, Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:30:00 GMT