The former rep
who helped put
Chicago on the national
while building a
$50 million company
brings it all back home.
Roy Skillicorn is back leading Backyard Productions, the company he founded and guided for 20+ years, recently partnering with Kevin Allodi, President & CEO of Philo Media, which acquired Backyard in 2017.
Allodi reached out to Skillicorn knowing that he ran Backyard during its most successful years, and also realized success as founder of the award winning Seed Media Arts, a non-DGA production model company.
Within minutes Kevin and Roy hit if off, sharing the same vision of production in an increasingly dynamic marketplace.
“Roy is internationally known for his innovative, focused marketing strategies and unprecedented trendsetting business models, and has had an uncanny ability to remain highly relevant throughout a long and prosperous career,” says Kevin. “His track record for nurturing the development and growth of directors’ careers is unsurpassed; as Managing Director overseeing sales & marketing I see him as the perfect ‘Sherpa’ to lead Backyard and its directors to new heights.”
Skillicorn founded Backyard with Chicago photographer Tony D’Orio in 1988 while still a “rep” for PIXAR, Colossal Pictures and HKM Productions — all start-ups he recognized as future superstar companies. He found, promoted, and secured for each of them their very first commercials, representing each company for over a decade.
Skillicorn was the first “independent” film rep in the US, representing four production companies at a time when in-house representation was the rule/conventional practice. He was the first to introduce the “vignette” genre of filmmaking to the commercial advertising community through HKM Productions, who brought the groundbreaking technique from London.
As the Head of Sales, he brought London based Passion Pictures into the limelight in the US. Roy is humbled to think he played a part in helping them become the Oscar-winning powerhouse they are.
Under Skillicorn’s leadership and marketing savvy, Backyard became a $50M/yr entity that was not only considered one of the top international production companies by the trades, but the only one to ever spring forth from a secondary market like Chicago.
After relocating production headquarters to L.A in the mid-90’s, Roy continued to lead sales and marketing from Chicago, keeping the brand’s uniqueness guarded while maintaining its notable Midwestern, honest and diligent work ethic.
Loyal clients refer to Backyard as “a Shangri-La of production”, delivering a thoroughly enjoyable experience, infused with engaging and dependable people with caring attitudes, while offering innovation and craftsmanship at the highest levels.
After leaving Backyard in 2011, Roy maintained that same culture at Seed while employing a more efficient overhead structure in keeping with the evolving demands of production in a multi-platform world. Roy relates that Seed has been a great learning experience, describing it as “…an experiment that has provided loads of fun and profit because the model holds up well in today’s changing business environment.”
In the last 12 months, Seed bid against 7 of the top 10 production companies in the world and won, scoring a Cannes Lion in the process, which caught the eye of the community and Allodi who felt strongly about returning Skillicorn’s considerable experience to Backyard.
“I’m happily surprised to find myself back in the ‘Yard’ and I’m excited to work along side several more A list directors and incredibly strong EPs, like my long time friend, Kris Mathur, and Emily Malito. When I shared my vision of next steps for Backyard, I told Kevin, this “new Backyard won’t be fenced…it’s time to unleash the dogs”.
No doubt the iconic hand puppet dog logo that Roy’s graphic designer wife crafted back in 1989 will soon return to Backyard as well.
Seed and Backyard will coexist independently but will share a new model of minimum overhead, focused and strategic individual director promotion while integrating Skillicorn’s unique marketing know-how.
Changes at Backyard have already begun with new representation and a more themed roster emerging under Skillicorn’s guidance.
About Backyard Productions
Backyard produces commercials and branded content for some of the best ad agencies and top brands in the world. Led by Roy Skillicorn, CMO/Managing Director, Kris Mathur, VP/Executive Producer, and Emily Malito, Executive Producer/Head of Production, Backyard’s team of talented directors and seasoned producers deliver a collaborative creative process that consistently exceeds expectations and builds strong client relationships. A proud company of Chicago-based Philo Media, Backyard is headquartered in Culver City, CA.
Send your production news to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, firstname.lastname@example.org.