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Last Update: Thursday December 14, 2017

Key Idea: Build On Your Experience

Co-founder Ashley Postlewaite says that you should pick your partner like you would pick a spouse. With the divorce rate being what it is, Ashley's advice may need some explaining.  More...

Key Question:

A: 

It is an option but do it very carefully.  Use an attorney to create the documents to form a partnership and to provide specific instructions if a partner wants out.

Q: Why did Ashley and Darrell know they would be excellent business partners?

A: They worked together at Warner Brothers just as they do now. Ashley was the executive producer and Darrell was the talent. So in a way they were already "married" when they started the partnership. I saw the respect they have for each other and also the basic division of the raw talent.

Ashley can't even draw, much less do animation. Darrell wouldn't know or want to know how Ashley gets the business in the door and how she manages legions of sub-contractors to meet deadlines and to come in on budget. Evan Stone of T-Bone Productions admitted he could never be an executive producer and depends completely on his partner. This is key. If your partner thinks he or she could do your work better than you're doing it, the deal is dead on agreement.

We've seen amazing long-range partnerships and horrible gnashing of teeth between partners. An attorney told me back in 1980, "don't take a business partner unless they have money to put on the table and you need the money." This was harsh but kept me from taking a partner who may not have been good for me.

Rosen & Chadick have a fifty-year-old partnership, Jon Zucci and Linda Brunini are going strong, Altoon+Porter are very successful, Kathleen Barnes and Judy Canon couldn't do it without each other. It's not for everybody, but, with the right partner business can be liberating. You're in charge but you're not alone.

Think about it

To grow, would you consider finding a partner?

Clip from: Renegade Animation - Beating the Big Boys

Burbank, California: Back in 1992 Ashley Quinn Postlewaite and Darrell Van Citters left  Warner's studios to start their own business, Renegade Animation. They truly were renegades.  Their first challenge was to produce a 90-second spot for Nike.  They did it.  Called Aerospace Jordan,  it aired on the Super Bowl. Now, that's real talent.  And, that 's an incredible start.

This episode of the show takes us inside flights of the imagination, fantasy, and stretched metaphors. Today, among their customers you will find Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, CBS.com, Leapfrog, Toyota, Mattel, Barq's Root Beer, Campbell Soup, Dow, NIKE and more.

In their first year they did $1.4 million in sales. While the sales have held steady over the years, they have also have been able to do their work with four or less full-time employees.    

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Renegade Animation

Ashley Quinn Postlewaite, Executive Producer

111 East Broadway
Suite 208
Burbank, CA 91205

Visit our web site: http://www.renegadeanimation.com

Business Classification:
Business Services; advertising, marketing, pr

Year Founded: 1999

Build On Your Experience

HATTIE: (In the Studio) Hi. I'm Hattie Bryant, and this is SMALL BUSINESS SCHOOL. From San Diego to Boston and from Tampa to Seattle, we take you inside small businesses and you learn from the people who run them.

In 1995, when he was doing $14 million in sales, Ben Dominitz told us how he started Prima Publishing by writing the first book himself. As a musician in the Sacramento Symphony, he decided he was tired of being poor. Today, sales are up to $60 million. Wow! Way to go, Ben.

We hope you have a computer in the room where you're watching TV. Come online now to learn about Ben and the dozens of small-business owners we have studied here. You can register for free information and sign up for our weekly e-mails.

In beautiful downtown Burbank--and I'm not kidding--that famous suburb of Los Angeles, we found a business doing things the old-fashioned way.

(Excerpt from commercial)

Announcer: Across the universe people are asking, `What fiend would steal Air Jordans?'

MARVIN THE MARTIAN (Cartoon Character): Oh, goody. More Air Jordans for me.

DOG (Cartoon Character): Me, too.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) This 90-second spot for Nike was their first project. It aired on the Super Bowl.

MICHAEL JORDAN: This is no way for a pampered superstar to travel.

BUGS BUNNY (Cartoon Character): What the--shoes?

MARVIN THE MARTIAN: And they're all mine.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) In 1992, Ashley Quinn and Darrell Van Citters left Warner Bros. to start their company, Renegade Animation, to have control over their own lives. A lot of small-business owners are workaholics.

DARRELL VAN CITTERS (Renegade Animation): Yes, they are.

HATTIE: Did you decide early on that that's not the way you were going to run this business?

DARRELL: I had decided that when I worked at Warner Brothers you do what comes down the pipeline and you do it when it has to be done, whatever it takes. And it didn't seem right to me because I see a lot of my friends working over at the Disney Feature Animation Studio, and they are working seven days a week, long hours on those days. And it didn't seem to me that it needed to be done that way, that with a little better management, a little more organization, it could run smoother.

ASHLEY QUINN (Renegade Animation): For me it was more a feeling of--the bigger risk is staying in a place that makes you unhappy. Fundamentally for me, throughout my career, which at that point wasn't very long...

HATTIE: You were only 27 when you left.

ASHLEY: I am a happy person in general. I have a sunny countenance. I think I was blessed with that. And I just, `This is not for me.'

DARRELL: I knew I needed somebody like Ashley to do this because I couldn't do all of it myself. I learned enough to know that I couldn't handle the entire running of a business. And she came to work with me at Warner Bros. as my assistant, and we got along great. She was driven the same way I was driven, to get things done. It wasn't about playing a game, it was about getting things accomplished.

ASHLEY: Pick your partner like you're picking your spouse. It is almost no less important in your life because this is the person that you're going to spend a lot of time with, that you're going to make important decisions with. You're probably going to go through some hard times with and have to really buckle down and reach deep and figure out how to get through difficult times in your business. And if you're not in sync, you're not going to be happy long term. And we're in sync about how we want our personal lives to be and how we view where work stacks up in our lives. And so that just makes it that much better.

DARRELL: Quite frankly, the whole thing with this business has not been to make money. I didn't start by saying, `You know what? I think we can make a lot of money. Let's go do this.' I did it because I wasn't happy where I was. I didn't like the alternatives out there once I left. But this looks like a good idea to me. We can kind of control out own destiny, and it's just more fun.

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