Mastering the Creative Process in a Competitive City
Sep 11, 2013
The story of Harbor Picture Company is the story of how two successful artists first collaborated on a project and then joined forces to start the production business of their dreams. Each owned their own company at the time; Theo Stanley focused on production and Zak Tucker specialized in post-production. They formally merged their businesses to form Harbor Picture Company in 2010, working on everything from advertising to films. The company's name was inspired by a motel in Sag Harbor of the same name that Tucker came across when his pickup truck broke down in front of the motel. Tucker thinks of New York as a safe harbor for post-production and post-production as an escape from the chaos of production.
Stanley and Tucker set out to build a company and headquarters true to the name. It wasn’t until they connected with Bank of America last year that they were able to find a location to build from the ground up. Their client manager, Mario DiCerbo, spent several months helping the artists prepare their financials for a move. “He really was quite supportive in terms of being part of the creative process,” said Tucker. “We view this whole thing, whether it’s on the banking side or on the filmmaking side, as a creative process.”
After months of searching, they landed on an old printing press building in west Soho. They designed a 25,000 square foot space that lent itself to the creative process by blending high-tech and organic touches, like wood reclaimed from a silo in Upstate New York. On a given day, there are up to 100 artists, producers and coordinators working on up to 15 films at Harbor Picture Company. The business, which doubled its space after a successful year one, is continuing to expand. Bank of America recently provided equipment loans to support the development of a new sound studio.
Success like theirs doesn’t come easy in this town. “It’s extremely competitive, costs are very high, there’s a lot of pressure, there’s not a lot of room for error,” said Tucker, a native New Yorker. “By the same token, the best talent is in New York. It’s a place where people want to push themselves as hard as they can. It’s exhausting and the hours are relentless, but it’s an adrenaline rush.” He added, “It’s an especially exciting time for feature film and television in New York.” That’s because new tax credits are drawing artists and projects from around the country and world to the city.
In a competitive environment, relationships are important. So, when Hurricane Sandy hit, Stanley and Tucker were determined to meet their clients’ deadlines. They brought in a production generator truck, parked it outside and ran electricity up the side of the building. Harbor Picture Company was the only post-production studio open south of 32nd Street throughout the blackout. They expect the same commitment to relationships from their partners, and they’ve found it in Bank of America. “Our relationship with Bank of America is actually quite critical to our current success and our future expansion,” said Tucker.