Reid Brody of Filmworkers Club is packing boxes of personal goods, such as his vintage guitar collection, as he prepares to leave the company he founded in 1991 as the city’s first video dailies service, at the dawn of the Avid editing age.
Brody, VP/co-founder, officially tendered his resignation to owner Alan Kubicka last Friday. He will say goodbye, with no small emotion, to the company’s some 35 staffers when he leaves the premises Friday, Jan. 22.
Naming Brody’s replacement was easily made: General Manager Manuela Hung, a company stalwart for 23 years. Her elevation also positions her as one of a very few women who head post companies in Chicago.
Hung and Brody have had a symbiotic relationship, says the Cuban native. “We worked together very closely for many years. I’ll miss working with him but I am also excited to have the opportunity to run the company.”
Brody’s reason for leaving after 25 years is tied to the current revolution in media and entertainment that visionaries like Brody feel must be imperatively investigated in order to be integral to whatever new is coming around the corner.
“We all know is that the business is changing radically and rapidly,” he says, “and I want to be in a flexible situation where I can investigate all those new models. I want to take what I’ve done in the past and repurpose them into what’s going to be demanded tomorrow. And God only know what that will be.”
His plan is simply to spend a year exploring the visual media landscapes in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, “to discover where the business is going — advertising, content, capture, distribution – and how best to pursue the newest and most viable.”
Filmworker’s was Chicago’s first digital video facility.
Prior to Filmworkers Club, Brody had been with Editel, one of the first full-service post houses in the days of early computer use. He had run the stage, bringing in 70% of the business, and developed the audio business that helped workflows transition from traditional film mixing to digital mixing.
His big idea, however, was to build a digital video facility in Chicago. And if there was anything that Kubicka, owner of CRC, liked, it was a new and big idea. He agreed to back it and Filmworkers Club was in business.
“Avid editing had eliminated the need for film dailies, we first addressed video dailies. We seized on the trends we saw rapidly blowing in and got into film processing, color correction — everything,” Brody recalls.
Over the past 25 years, with Brody’s captaining the ship, Filmworkers Club has emerged into “a collective of creative boutiques.” Filmworkers specializes in color and visual effects; Vitamin, in motion graphic design and Giannini Creative handles print and cross platforms.
Filmworkers also has branches in Dallas and Nashville and editorial company, Treehouse Edit, is thriving in Dallas.
Brody’s ability to keep staking new territories was also evident when he formed 2DS Productions to produce mainstream content independently and so far has been reasonably successful at it, with four films to 2DS’ credit.
“Phunny Business: A Black Comedy,” a doc he produced with writer/director John Davies, will air on PBS Feb. 4, and his latest, a comedy, “Who Gets the Dog,” is going through a sales cycle heading for a spring release.
Brody says he will set up an office within a week or two and in the interim he may be reached at 312/401-9333.