I-Story of Boris and Augustin
In 2009, Boris wanted to create the content he couldn’t find online at the time. Outside of his job, he created 3èmeGauche, one of the first YouTube channels dedicated to music and delivering HD and quality videos online. This is something he couldn’t have done with the companies he was working with at the time.
On my end, I was a teenage professional actor in the musical company of my parents. I then went to a business school with the dream to get into production. I worked in the film industry for 2 years and realized it was an industry with little to no room for the younger generation.
We realized that creativity is hindered in the production world, and that you have to wait at least 5 years before actually doing something interesting. We were frustrated, so we created Left Productions to use our skills and energy more efficiently and hopefully give that chance to anyone who would join us.
Videos and films influence the way we see the world. We want to use this power to help people imagine their future and inspire them to change for the better. By liberating creativity, we can help creators do so.
In that regard, we don’t want to become rich or powerful. We are not here to sell the company in a few years. We’re here for the long run and we want to go as far as we can.
II-Our goal: Liberate creativity, and more specifically, create a system where talents can fully express themselves with autonomy and support
Ok, this is going to sound absurd, but did you know that we have more than one brain? We actually have 2 other brains in our heart and our intestines (the size of a dog’s brain, actually!). Our bodies, our societies, and our ecosystems are not organised by people at the top, but by many different forces (you can see a great video about this here).
Companies and especially creative companies should work the same and decision-making should be distributed. We are inspired by a movement called “Corporate Liberation” where trust is put above control and where people can take the decision that affects them. In that model:
- People are autonomous and can make the decisions that affect them
- The bosses are not there to validate, but to make sure that interactions between everyone can be as productive as possible.
- However, people are not 100% independent: this model implies more responsibility for everyone, and more interaction between everyone.
As we’ve grown, we realized that there are 6 things that lead our actions:
A) Being passionate:
- We are doing the job we dreamt of when we were kids.
- We are only looking for people that share the same passion.
- We need to create an environment where we can nurture that passion.
B) Trusting that great ideas can come from anywhere:
I am a huge fan of sailing and there is a story that I find very inspiring: how Team New Zealand won the biggest sailing race, the America’s Cup, with a significantly smaller budget than all of the other competitors. They created an organization where everyone could contribute. For instance, they would all meet to discuss ideas, even the interns, the cleaning people, etc. and everyone could give their ideas and challenge others (this article talks about this win).
How do we make sure we create an environment where everyone can contribute to generate great ideas?
- Being interested in each other: if you know what’s driving people, you can come up with better ideas, have more fun and tell them more easily if their ideas are great or shitty!
- Challenging each other: anyone should feel free to challenge anyone in the company. We really like when someone tells us that we’re making a mistake and that we should do things differently. It opens the door for many more ideas and opportunities.
- Being transparent: we need great transparency within the company and we strive to always improve internal communication.
- Being interested in what’s really happening in the world: great productions address questions that are in everyone’s mind. The problem with media is that it is often a bubble outside of peoples' reality. We want to do the opposite.
C) Replacing power by legitimate authority
- Expertise comes from the work we actually do and are interested about. I honestly don't know what the best hardware is to use in post-production but the post-production team does.
- Our goal is that you can take any decision as long as you ask 2 kinds of people: 1) the people that have the relevant expertise and 2) the people who will be impacted by your decisions. For instance, if the post production team wants to make a decision regarding equipment, they need to ask post-producers and producers what they think of it and they need to ask the people handling finance to see if there is enough cash.
D) Distributing responsibility
We want people to be autonomous, but that means everyone needs to be both interested and committed to what’s happening.
- Responsibility: everyone in the company is accountable for their decisions and they bear the consequences of their choices.
- Failure is definitely accepted as long as we act fast on them. A good saying on this is “fail early”: try something new, observe the impact with an open mind and change!
- We can’t say “it’s not my problem”! If there is a problem, there needs to be a solution or someone in charge of pushing the company forward on this.
E) Outsmarting others
- We don’t want to wait our turn or wait in line. We are not patient.
- We don’t want to think like other companies, we want to create new solutions. Actually, there is an anecdote that I find very interesting on how to turn problems into solutions. There was an entrepreneur who needed to grow tomatoes in a land with scarce drinkable water, but tomatoes need a lot of water. He came up with a solution: by using greenhouse effect and condensation, he was able to use tomatoes to actually create drinkable water. This entrepreneur turned a problem - not having much water - into a solution - creating drinkable water from dirty water. We need to think that way. (see an article about this here).
- We need to move faster & better and create solutions that really help our clients and the talents we work with.
- The problem with video production is that you know how much you will pay for a video, but you don’t know what you’ll get. And a lot of production companies have terrible client relationships. Amazon says that they are “the most customer centric company”, hence their huge development. We want to be the most customer centric video company.
- We want to communicate amazingly well with our clients and make their lives easier.
F) And above all, getting rid of everything that gets in the way of expressing ourselves.
- Making videos is hard and is the opposite of a scalable business: every project is tailor-made. We need to capitalize as much as we can from every new project, for instance, by creating an efficient database of talents and technicians.
- Stop wasting time: there are plenty of actions that can be done more efficiently. For instance, for the organisation of castings, we’ve created a simple solution for actors to chose their time slots directly, so that we don’t have to email back-and-forth.
- We need to have this state of mind for everything. We use a lot of solutions to help us save time, be more organised and in the end create better videos.
- Making sure that we make the most out of every opportunity we get. The temptation when you grow is to focus on delivering and less on generating good ideas. We need to make sure we are always able to give great ideas.
- Creating an environment that makes it possible to liberate creativity: people have different characters, and we can’t change people, but we can change the environment, and such change can have great impact.
IV-Projects for the next few years
Our goal is not to have a 5-year plan but to make sure that we have an organic organisation, that we can take advantage of every opportunity we find and that we are able to change and evolve rapidly.
In that regard, here are 6 things that we will be working on I the coming years:
- Attract talents: we are in an industry that relies heavily on network, trust and talent. We want to attract people that want to take advantage of Left’s spirit and organisation to better express themselves and provide more value to their network. If you're looking to work with us, check out this page.
- Grow internationally: we believe our approach has a lot of potential worldwide. We’ve already grown internationally since we are based in Los Angeles and Paris and we have teams in London, but we need to continue! Next stop is probably somewhere in Eastern Asia :)
- Develop series: we are producing and developing series project for the US and the European market. Producing series is our long term dream.
Let’s make it happen!
Augustin & Boris