Teatown focuses on service for sustenance: This 18-year-old post studio stays successful by tailoring services to meet client demand and embracing new technology - Open House - Brief ArticleTeatown focuses on service for sustenance: This 18-year-old post studio stays successful by tailoring services to meet client demand and embracing new technology - Open House - Brief Article

NEW YORK -- Today's post business landscape is littered with the corpses of companies that failed to meet the needs of their customers or adapt to rapid changes in the marketplace. The businesses that continue to survive - and thrive - are the ones that embrace change and continuously evolve. It takes vision, tenacity and the ability to stay close to one's clientele.

One such company is the 18-year-old post production facility Teatown Communications Group helmed by noted independent filmmaker and TV producer Marlen Hecht. The high level of service at Teatown has attracted projects from Spike Lee, Jerry Seinfeld, Lifetime TV, Comedy Central, Discovery, HBO, Fox News and a host of independent producers to its midtown Manhattan location.


Teatown's multi-floor facility is home to multiple Avid Media Composers and Symphony; 601 digital linear editing suites with a GVG 2200 switcher; a CMX Omni and dual channel K'Scope; Mac G4 graphics workstations running Adobe software; motion control; and all-format international duplication.

Hecht's guiding philosophy is rooted in flexibility and choice. Teatown has the ability to tailor its creative services -and sometimes architecture - to meet the evolving requirements of its clients. "Bidding on a project is so much more than a numbers game for us, notes Hecht "We take the time to listen intently and work with our clients to analyze the workflow and goals of an overall project."

Teatown recently initiated renovations to over half the facility to meet the technical requests and production-space requirements for Women Docs, a 23-episode series produced by True Entertainment and airing on Lifetime Television. For the nine-month project, Teatown provided II Avid Media Composers, Symphony online, color correction, closed captioning and extensive duplication. "The whole post process was very successful," reports Hecht. "We delivered a unified, streamlined environment that enabled the producers to concentrate exclusively on the creative process.

Other recently posted programs include Simon and Goodman's Kindergarten, a 10-part series for HBO; TV Funhouse, a Robert Smiegel-directed 10-part series for Comedy Central; and A Huey P. Newton Story, a special for Starz and PBS directed by Spike Lee and produced by Luna Ray Productions.


To ensure quality of service, Hecht has brought industry veteran Jonathan Applebaum on board as general manager. No stranger to the New York post community, Applebaum served as an editor and executive at Broadway Video for over 14 years and was most recently the VP of technology & engineering at National Video, where he also helmed National Sound.

"Jonathan's background and leadership experience as a facility executive, engineering manager, facility designer and editor is an extremely rare find. It's great to have someone of his caliber and enthusiasm in this important position as Teatown heads into the future."

GM Applebaum is looking forward to the challenges of operating a post house in the current economy." No doubt, this is an extremely challenging time," he says. "Though many factors have contributed to the current state the industry is in, the advent of affordable uncompressed desktop editing and graphics systems has arguably made the greatest impact. But even as some clients' work moves in-house, I'm nonetheless excited by the new opportunities and evolving roles that we'll be offering through this transitional period."

So what's on Teatown's horizon? "There is a great near-term focus on reengineering and expanding our finishing and distribution services, as well as taking the company into emerging markets," explains Applebaum. "As a first step, we've expanded our existing editorial and international duplication services with DVD authoring and an enhanced digital lab."

"We are also actively engaged in discussions with potential creative partners who share the value-added and creative-partnering philosophy that has been a part of Teatown since its inception." This effort has already paid-off in a co-venture with Ricochet Productions, which is actively producing content for Court TV, Discovery Channel and National Geographic.

Concludes Hecht, "Teatown's positioning as a results-oriented facility has served our clientele well. As we've always emphasized service and talent, as well as the right technology, we've been thinking 'beyond the box.' So faced with a market where some producers are investing in 'boxes' of their own, Teatown's response will always be to support their clients' efforts with new, creative services that pick up where an in-house effort may leave off."



165 W. 46 Street

NewYork, NY 10036

(212) 302-0722

Clients: HBO, Lifetime, PBS, National Geographic, Starz, Discovery Channel, Fox News, Comedy Central, Court TV

Principal: Marlen Hecht

Equipment: Avid Media Composer, Symphony, GVG 2200 switcher, CMX Omni, dual-channel K'Scope, Mac G4 running Adobe software