Since Animated Storyboards opened its seventh international branch in Chicago last May, its opening staff of five has swelled to a dozen and could further expand by the time its first anniversary rolls around.
Co-managing directors Wes Mallgren, in charge of production, and Paul Grajek, who handles Midwest marketing, transferred here from ASB New York, where the global company is headquartered.
Mallgren and Grajek, with local talent director David Shapanka, producer Nikki Piazza and designer Jordan Peters, set up shop in 3,500-sq. ft. offices on the 29th floor at 55 E. Monroe, with one of those million dollar views of the lakefront
ASB is a full-service test spot production company, working in 3D cinematics, 2D animation and photo-realistic HD test, with audio tracks, for big agencies like Energy BBDO and Leo Burnett advertisers like Bud Light, Mercedes, Keebler, Head and Shoulders, Dove, Hershey’s, Kenmore and brands all over the world.
Their business spurt occurred in November, which necessitated adding more staff: Brian Heath came aboard from producing at DDB; editor Shane Lamberth moved from freelance to staff; audio engineer Sara Krohn from Another Country; client services director Veronica LaPage from Publications International in Lincolnwood and director Jeff Chin who came from the esteemed Vancouver Film School.
Grajek anticipates possibly hiring another designer and ASB has formed a roster of graphic illustrators to provide traditional static art storyboards.
“We had a lot of expectations coming to Chicago and overall they have been met,” Mallgren says. “Given the size of the agency industry and amount of talent here, it’s been easy to grow and expand the business.”
Mallgren, a Colorado native who worked in New York with ASB for eight years, says he loves Chicago. “It’s got a great vibe to it. The food is fantastic. Our son was born here in November and we feel it’s a great place to raise a family.”