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Last Update: Sunday April 11, 2021

Key Idea: Keep Making Things By Hand

Owner Darrell Van Citters is an artist and the look he is able to achieve only comes from hand drawings. Just like any artist or performer, he keeps making things by hand because it is his unique selling proposition.

Key Question:


Respect the look and feel of handmade things.

Darrell  is using computers now to duplicate and animate his drawings which can speed the process but he does not draw on the computer. Many small companies need to use technology but must resist the temptation to become ordinary.

Chef Thomas Keller is like Darrell. He believes that making a few customers happy with his small handmade output makes him stand out in the crowd. All of his restaurants are small and all of the portions appearing on plates are small.

Q: How does this philosophy translate into a marketing strategy?

A: First, because Keller has limited seating and it is so hard to get a reservation, even more people want to come to The French Laundry. Thomas is not knocking down walls to add more dining space, he just makes people wait two months to join him for dinner. People brag that they have a reservation. They brag that they went to The French Laundry and tell stories about the fabulous food. This creates a buzz and more demand.

Darrell only has 24 hours in a day and he is the lead artist at Renegade. If he is booked, customers have to get in line and wait.

Think about it

How can you use this idea to raise your prices or target new customers?

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,, 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:

Business Classification:
Business Services; advertising, marketing, pr

Year Founded: 1999

Keep Making Things By Hand

HATTIE: This right now is called direction because you're, like you said, setting guideposts. And each one of these sheets will have multiple drawings associated with it.

DARRELL: They use this as a guidepost. And it'll hit some of these key poses. Some of them they find, you know, `It would be a little smoother if I didn't follow this drawing exactly, if I made an adjustment here or there.' But that's what it's there for, is to give you something to go from rather than have you trying to figure out what I want and what the agency wants and what the client wants. If everybody sees it in this form, they say, `That's roughly where we're headed,' then it's a lot easier. This is, basically, the bible for the animation product. Everything plays off of here. All of the instructions are on this sheet.

HATTIE: And you're the one that decides if it's on for one second or two seconds. And you're the one who decides what motion the character is doing while the words are going on.

DARRELL: Right, right. And you do it the way you think is appropriate.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Ken McDonald explains how he moves Darrell's storyboard through the process.

KEN McDONALD (Renegade Animation): What Darrell does is he gives me drawings like these. These are the drawings that Darrell did for this scene. And, basically, the kid takes the yogurt away and then he delivers his line and, `Silly rabbit,' and the rabbit reacts. He says, `Ohhh! don't take my yogurt away,' which happens every time. With the little boy I followed Darrell's starting in poses pretty closely. But with the rabbit, we decided to do something a little different at the start and the beginning of the scene. So I altered the poses a little bit. Darrell enjoys that part of the process. And it gives me an opportunity to, you know, come up with ideas and be more creative and try to come up with a different expression or an action or an idea to make it even more interesting or entertaining, or to make the communication clearer.

HATTIE: So now tell me what you're going to do?

KEN: Well, I've done the corrections and changes I wanted to do on this. So I'm going to shoot a pencil test. And it used to be that this was all done on film, and it would take two or three days. And now with the computer, I can pretty much just shoot a pencil test in a matter of minutes. You know, frame by frame drawing by drawing. It's already up there. There's one frame.

HATTIE: So this is actually the first time the computer has been injected into this process. So now what are we going to see?

KEN: I'm going to take the first scene that I did a couple of days ago, and the scene you saw me shooting, and we can put it all together and we can see the whole seven seconds that we're doing and see how it all hooks up together with the sound and everything.

(Excerpt of commercial animation) Announcer: This spring you'll be in the dark.

TRIX RABBIT: Wow! Announcer: Until you open Trix yogurt.

BOY: Silly rabbit. Announcer: Four surprise color combinations now in marked packages. (End of excerpt)

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