Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SLC-based Metcom Studios thriving in new state-of-the-art facility

By Brad Fullmer

The Enterprise

Salt Lake City-based Metcom Studios, formerly Metropolis Integrated Media, has undergone a significant transformation since moving into its new state-of-the-art $4.5 million facility in January 2011.

Located at 352 S. 500 E., the 16,000 square foot building features myriad unique design elements, from curved walls and hallways to modern light fixtures, exposed ceilings and high-tech video and audio rooms.

“It’s just an incredible build­ing for us,” said company presi­dent Brent Marshall, 62, a long-time local radio-production veter­an who founded Metropolis along with partner John-David Brewer, 43, executive vice president of creative, in 1998 at 445 S. 300 E. in Salt Lake. “I don’t know of another post-production facility of this size between Denver and L.A.; not many are being built brand new or are this nice. We put a lot of time, effort and money into making sure we got exactly what we wanted.”

The building is nearly double the size of Metcom’s previous 9,500 square foot location and has four audio control booths, three video edit bays, two recording studios and a 1,600 square foot film/sound stage. Other ancillary rooms include a spacious kitchen and break area, offices, and a stylish conference room with a modern-retro light fixture high­lighted with old power pole glass insulators.

Sensitive sound attenuation requirements prompted the need for double walls with special acoustic and isolation materials – including mass-loaded vinyl – between certain rooms. Each room has a unique name: audio con­trol rooms are named for gasses (radon, argon, krypton, xenon); video edit bays are named for met­als (mercury, cobalt, tungsten); and recording studios are named for parts of the atom (electron, neutron).

The move to the new facil­ity wasn’t something Marshall and Brewer intended to happen – it was necessitated when Salt Lake City unveiled plans for a new Public Safety Complex in the very spot where Metropolis was located, just east of the Salt Lake Public Library. City officials could have exercised a legal “eminent domain” statute, but didn’t have to since Marshall was able to negoti­ate an equitable agreement to sell the property to the city, a deal he said was “extremely fair” for both parties. Marshall and Brewer real­ized it was a golden opportunity to reinvent their firm with a new building, logo, additional services and overall brand.

“It was a pretty gutsy move,” said Marshall, the sole owner of the building. “We really didn’t [have a choice], but went way beyond the ordinary to create a truly unique studio. I have a lot of faith and vision that there is busi­ness out there – you just have to find it. You have to get outside of your own market sometimes and find different opportunities and that’s what we’re doing.”

The project was funded from money from the sale of the firm’s old building to the city, a business loan from Wells Fargo Bank and a sizable amount of money from Marshall’s own pocket. In addi­tion, the firm invested more than $300,000 into new equipment and d├ęcor items, including computers, microphones, audio-mixing con­soles, software and furniture.

So far, the results have been extraordinary. Metcom has picked up some large national corporate clients and expects revenues to grow by more than 10 percent this year, to approximately $4 mil­lion. Marshall and Brewer envi­sion continued annual growth of at least 10 percent.

“We had an opportunity to rebrand ourselves and separate ourselves from what Metropolis used to be,” said Brewer, who ran Franklin Covey’s video production department for seven years before hooking up with Marshall in the late ‘90s. “We want to be more of a leader in media development from a communications or agen­cy-like perspective. I wouldn’t say we’re trying to be an ad agency, but as ad agencies are doing more of what we do, we’re doing more of what they do. Our clients come to us with not just a video or audio project, but an entire communica­tion problem they need solved.”

“There was a time we pro­duced a lot of audio and video work in the advertising field; we have essentially flip-flopped,” Marshall added. “Now, 85 percent of our work is corporate and a lower percentage is advertising work. Our market has changed, too. There were several other post-production companies in Salt Lake that were servicing large media advertising companies, but most are gone. There are certainly other production companies that edit video and do audio recording, but there is nothing like Metcom.”

“Our most profitable projects are those we produce ourselves from script to finish, but every little piece goes into the pie, so it’s all good for us,” he added.

“It’s a signature company for the Utah film and video indus­try,” said Marshall Moore, direc­tor of the Utah Film Commission. “Losing Metcom would have been a big deal to the film and TV com­munity in the state because the services they provide are unique to the area. This new facility will open doors to new relationships based on the opportunities that exist there. I toured the facil­ity a couple months ago and was impressed with the layout, design, and quality of equipment they have. What they offer to the state and the city of Salt Lake keeps us competitive in this market.”

Metcom is a full-service pro­duction firm that offers an array of audio and video production ser­vices – corporate bio videos, info­mercials, TV and radio commer­cials, integrated voice response (IVR), telephony voice-over, and music recording, among others. Metcom also leases space to out­side firms like Voices Online Now (of which Marshall is part-owner) and Too Many Legs Animation Studios.

Metcom has 12 full-time and six part-time employees – four of whom have been hired since January – including directors, edi­tors, engineers, producers, writers and artists. The firm has done work for corporate clients such as Chevron, Disney, General Electric Imaging and Microsoft’s Tellme Networks. Metcom has done pro­motional product videos recent­ly for large MLM clients like Tahitian Noni in Provo, Melaleuca in Idaho Falls and Forever Living Products (FLP) in Scottsdale.

“Larger clients are more diffi­cult to get but when you land them it’s a good thing,” said Marshall. “We’re looking for clients that have bigger budgets and more media needs.”

Brewer recently returned from an assignment for FLP, a whirlwind, 32-day global jaunt that took him and a camera­man to nine different countries, including Great Britain, France, Hungary, Nigeria, Mexico and Japan. Metcom is wrapping up production on 13 different 2.5- to 4.5-minute videos that chronicle the lives of various FLP distribu­tors.

The trip included being escorted by guards with AK-47 rifles in Nigeria to being pulled over by a corrupt cop in Mexico City who was going to impound their vehicle for what Brewer said was allegedly an incorrect turn. They ended up giving the cop a 2,000-peso “bribe” (about $200) in return for their freedom.

“It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said of the cross-continent venture.

FLP director of marketing Paul Muehlmann said he had worked with Marshall and Brewer in the past, but looked long and hard at several larger studios before choosing Metcom.

“We wanted to put a face on Forever, not just this massive $3 billion MLM; there was a par­ticular look I was going after and they delivered,” said Muehlmann, a project he estimated cost in excess of a quarter million dollars. “Half the people we did videos on didn’t even speak English, so they’ve dealt with a lot. There are other studios bigger than Metcom, but their combination of price and what they’re capable of…most studios would not have been able to do this much volume in a short period of time.”

Metcom Studios was designed by Salt Lake-based HKG Architects; Duane Marsala Construction Inc. of South Jordan was the general contractor.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Foreign Voice Over

Foreign Voice Talent--

Apart from our large US voice talent pool with over 400 national voice talents, VON also has a surprising amount of foreign talents representing over 25 different languages. Voices Online Now offers translation, localization, foreign language VO coaches and foreign language VO talents from their native countries. It’s amazing how many foreign language projects we get involved in. We translated and recorded phone prompts for Merrill Lynch in 10 languages. We also translated and recorded a project for Chevron in seven different languages. Last year we produced a walking tour audio podcast in 4 languages for Carlsbad Caverns which included Japanese.

We would love to take on any upcoming projects you may have. Let us know what we can do to help.


Laura Gabour:


Direct: 801-994-6159

Cell: 702-460-2430

Mackenzie Delatore:


Direct: 801-994-6158

Cell: 801-718-7166

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Soundcheck Series - Benton Paul

What is Soundcheck?
The Soundcheck Series is part of a nonprofit 501c3 program created to help aspiring artists achieve their greatest potential. Their workshops are held at our affiliate recording studio, Metcom Studios. Soundcheck workshops and expos are oriented specifically toward educating artists in any genre about the different parts of the music industry including:

* songwriting
* business organization
* fan base building
* leveraging social media
* performance coaching
* publishing
* licensing for film and television
* mentoring

On Tuesday, July 12th, Soundcheck welcomes Las Vegas singer/songwriter Benton Paul! Benton has toured with David Archuleta and cowritten with the Jonas Brothers, and was recently a featured artist on iTunes. Come join us for an evening of networking and inspiration. You just may get a performance, as well...

Benton will talk about:

- building a bigger network
- how to grow your online presence
- the value of industry vs. artist contacts
- being resourceful in today's music market

For more information you can visit the Soundcheck Series website: www.soundcheckseries.com

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One in 5 divorces are blamed on Facebook. And 69% of parents are friends with their children on social media. Those are just 2 of the facts included in the latest installment of "Social Media Revolution." Watch it!

A New Home for Voices Online Now

When the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office decided to expand its campus into the block east of the library, Voices Online Now’s affiliate production studio, Metropolis Integrated Media, sitting directly east of the library, suddenly was at a crossroads. Owners, Brent Marshall and John-david Brewer, decided to see the city’s exercise of eminent domain as an opportunity to reinvent their business with a new location, a new building, and a new brand.

The old Metropolis building has since been razed to make way for the city’s Public Safety Complex. And the former Metropolis Integrated Media is now Metcom Studios, Salt Lake’s newest resource for leading-edge creativity and development of digital media. Located just three blocks northeast of their home of 20+ years, Metcom is nearly double the size. And when you visit, you’ll quickly see that it’s poised to be one of the audio & video production jewels of the west.

Metcom Studios, the new home of Voices Online Now, will be located at 352 South 500 East. Centrally located in Salt Lake City, the exterior architecture and landscaping are traffic-stopping, ultra-modern, with a stunning interior that houses a most impressive list of recording studios, edit bays and sound stages. The last time a full-service facility was built from the ground up was STS Productions in the early 80’s.

In spring 2010 Marshall demolished the former Replicolor building and began an aggressive construction schedule. In early January 2011 Voices Online Now moved into the new Metcom Studios - custom designed from the foundation to the lighting grid. Their attention to design detail is not only striking but pushing the edge with the latest technology.

Metcom is a full-service production company with highly skilled directors, editors, recording engineers, producers, storyboard artists and animators, as well as strategic and creative resources. “I’m most excited about our new capabilities that our team now has to offer to our corporate clients,” Marshall stated. “These strategic relationships are producing great results and fueling some really exciting new work,” added Brewer.

Metcom is excited to continue their relationship with Voices Online Now as their affiliate production studio in the new facility. VON features over 400 voice actors from Dallas to Moray shire, Scotland. The company has found voices for local, regional and national projects for radio, TV, telephony, corporate and internet. Some of their clients include, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo Bank, Plantronics, Verizon, Tellme Networks, Adobe and many other clients I’m sure you would recognize.

Voices Online Now also offers translation, localization, foreign language VO coaches and foreign language VO talents from their native countries. They have translated and recorded phone prompts for Merrill Lynch in 10 languages. Melaleuca hired them to translate and record VO in Spanish and Canadian French for 2 of their product videos. They also translated and recorded a Mandarin project for Verisign’s Chinese website.

Metcom Studios is one more jewel in the crown of Utah’s assets for attracting production business to Utah.

Metcom Studios Specs
Sound Stage 36’ x 44’
2 Coved Walls with 8’ Corner Radius
Black Cyc Curtain
17’ Ceiling (floor to grid)
Acoustically treated for optimum sound quality
Large Garage Entry
Spacious Dressing Room
3 Video Edit Bays
Film/Video Production Services
Video Switch Room for Multiple Camera Shoots
Animation and storyboards
4 Recording Control Rooms
3 Studios
Isolation booth
C7 Yamaha grand piano
Foley Pits
Metcom Global:
5 Voice Booths
5 Language Coach ProTools Stations
Audio Master Control
2 ASL Green Screens

Monday, January 3, 2011

Starting a Voice Over Career

Voiceovers can be a career, or a little extra money on the side, but it's always fun! First, forget any preconceived notions that you have about the business. If you are returning from a break from VO... understand technology has completely changed the anture of the animal!

For example, if you want to get into voiceovers simply because people say you have a nice voice... consider this. Voice is less than 10% of what's needed to do voiceovers. VO is a skill that requires training, preactive, and technique. In fact, if your voice is too good, it can work against you, if you are not skilled enough to be transparent. Clients don't want people to notice the voice... they want people to notice the message the voice is communicating.

If you want to get into voiceovers because you think it'll be easy... and won't cost much to get into, you're only partly right. Compared to franchises (like Subway, Curves, etc.) that will be starting a business, and you will need investment capital. You'll have expenses for training, marketing, equipment, etc. just like in any other business. If you can't afford to start a business right now, you can't afford to get into voiceovers right now. However, if that is the case, and you may want to enter the field in the future, DO take advantage of all the free services available to you, to research your possible future career!

If you have been told by an agent or client that you need a demo CD, and you are wondering what to put on it, STOP! You do not want to do your own demo! And any reputable coach I know will not do one for you if you don't have training, because they don't want to take your money knowing that you won't get any work!While it's obviously not their job to get you work they don't want to take advantage of your desire to enter this biz... knowing that you will definitely not get work--since you have nothing to offer yet but a voice (which is worthless without skill.)

Unfortunately, there are a number of unscrupulous cmpanies and coaches who prey on the dreams of wanna-be voiceover talent. For liability reasons, I obviously cannot name any for you. As a rule, I'd suggest you train with individual coaches, rather than big companies. As with mom and pop businesses, they tent to care more about you and your success. I also suggest you avoid voiceover training that studios provide. FOr th emost part (not always) they know a lot about technical, but not as much about VO itself. And you typically should not learn how to be better at voiceover from a coach who does not DO voiceovers! Another red flag... do they have a "curriculum" in which your demo is produced based on a formula? This class + That class = demo? That doesn't really add up! You need a coach who does your demo when you are ready!

Written by Julie2
Listen to Julie2's demo here