Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bastiaan Koch, Founder of Marauder Film, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Marauder Film is a story studio and film production company that helps creators and rights-holders adapt, develop, and realize their projects.
Tell us about yourself
I am a 10-year alum of Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic, a WGAW writer, director, executive producer, VFX Supervisor, and founder of story studio, Marauder Film. My industry experience spans all stages from ideation to release, including content at both ends of the budget scale, from blockbuster IPs like STAR WARS and MARVEL to indie and even experimental projects.
I have been part of 3 Oscar-winning and 5 Oscar-nominated VFX teams that includes AVATAR, TRANSFORMERS, READY PLAYER ONE, and RANGO, working alongside visionary directors such as Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Guillermo del Toro, Michael Bay, Danny Boyle, Gore Verbinski, and the Wachowski sisters.
My goal is to marry my love of dramatic cinema and emerging technology to create pictures that move people. I also have an enormous passion for revitalizing IPs from other mediums that I love. Mediums such as anime, manga, video games, and toys.
I first came into the film industry as an artist. Looking back, I can see the foundation upon which my career has been built. My mother’s essence is that of an artist, teacher, and healer. And my father’s essence is of an actor, showman, and inventor. Art and theater have always been revered in our household, so in a way, with the kind of “play” I grew up with as a child, it was inevitable that I’d choose a profession in film and cinema.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Selling my Original Series to Netflix was an incredible moment, of course. Not just seeing a financial return for the business but the mental shift from seeing myself as just an artist to a businessman too. Receiving checks with both Netflix and Marauder Film’s names on them caused a profound psychological change for me. Ultimately the real value of that business win was the education that came with developing the show over the next 2.5 years. That experience put me deep inside one of the biggest real-world pressure cookers in our industry. And it’s a pressure cooker that’s hard to access, so I’m incredibly grateful for that entire experience.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think the hardest thing was the initial barrier to entry. When I first started Marauder Film, we were leaning on my hi-concept VFX past, so I did what I knew best at that time, and we went crazy developing worlds and visuals. We filmed a lot of content and even did full production screen tests—which isn’t the typical way to pitch. A lot of shows are sold based on scripts and outlines alone. Looking back, I do feel that this unconventional, maybe even naive, approach led to some of our success, but when I develop projects now, I try to streamline them a bit and keep things more simple. I do still, however, lean on the visuals because that’s what we do best.
Along the way, many people told me that I was insane for developing so much of a project before it was sold, and we heard a lot of nos while pitching, so sometimes I worried they were right. But because we primarily create VFX-heavy, tentpole IPs, buyers actually do need more than a script to evaluate the quality of a project, especially when the pitch is coming from someone who’s not “a name” in Hollywood yet.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- When hiring and collaborating, I use T.A.T. It is an acronym for the qualities I seek in order of importance, but it is critical to have all three. TRUST is first. Without it, any one individual can cause havoc. ATTITUDE. With the right attitude, anyone can do or become anything. Hollywood is highly collaborative. Even keel people are incredibly hard to find, and I can guarantee you no project is ever perfectly smooth. TALENT. They need to have talent or the promise of talent. This one is somewhat symbolic — placed at the end — because TALENT is only the third most important quality in anyone I work with.
- Harry S. Truman said something especially useful in Hollywood: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
- If you are a creative service provider of any kind and are not dedicating at least 10% of your resources toward IP creation, you are missing out on unbelievable potential. VFX studios are a great example of this. They get by on razor-thin margins to satisfy the studios that are doing this, yet so few of them build this kind of innovation into their culture.
Where can people find you and your business?
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