Community and Dropbox are key to Myth Studio’s very real growth.
Every business has an “is-this-really-happening?” moment that happens right before it jumps onto a bigger stage. Like the moment when a side hustle becomes a full-time effort… when it dawns on a solopreneur that it’s time to make their first hire… when a big-name client finally comes a-callin’…
For the team at U.K.-based animation studio Myth Studio, that last one happened in 2022 when an agency they’d worked with in the past contacted them “out of the blue,” says Jimmy Gordon, Myth’s business partnership director. The agency wanted Myth to create an animated explainer video for one of their huge clients. (We can’t say the company’s name, but let’s just say they’re “beer royalty.”)
Exciting as it was for the young firm—Myth started in 2020 with founder James Finlay and head of animation Jono Kamester and now has nine full-time employees—the ask came with “an extremely tight turnaround”: The client wanted the video to accompany their submission for a Cannes Lion, also known as the Oscars of advertising.
We got together and took a look at our resourcing and reliable hands we knew could work together. We swiftly onboarded some freelancers into a shared Dropbox folder whom we knew could pick up what we started and continue production over the weekend. This allowed us to maximise the limited time we had to deliver.
“It was an overwhelming yet exciting challenge,” Gordon recalls. “We love to push the boundaries of what we can do, and we knew we couldn’t turn down an opportunity like this.”
The team called in for reinforcements, onboarding freelancers from their community to help make the deadline. Working inside a shared folder over the weekend, Myth was able to complete the video and send the final product via Dropbox Transfer. The time constraints actually helped inspire design choices that made for an especially punchy and impactful Cannes Lion silver medal-winning video.
“It was quite a turning point for us. Since then we’ve been working with these big, well-known names. We kind of, really, quickly, went up,” Gordon says, raising his palm from his chest to just slightly above his buzzed head, “like that.”
Myth’s enviable growth often encourages the use of such casually dismissive phrases like “overnight success.” But really, it’s an expression of something fundamental to Myth: “Using technology, both for animation and ensuring that we’re streamlined as a business and that we work as efficiently as possible,” Gordon says.
These days that includes using Dropbox Dash’s Stacks feature to access business development files and client inquiries, Capture to create a video archive of their processes for onboarding new freelancers and team members, and Replay to host live-feedback watch parties internally and with clients.
“I do really love it,” Myth’s head of productions Francesca “Frankie” Evans says of “working completely with Dropbox.”
“When you’ve got a big project that comes on and maybe the scope is a bit bigger than you thought it would be, you have to double the team size,” she explains. “Being able to onboard them, integrate them within the team, and [have] everybody essentially singing from the same hymn sheet? That is invaluable.”
Evans and Gordon spoke to Dropbox about what they’ve done to stay on their toes for Myth’s next “Is this really happening?” moment.
1. Prioritizing their operations
How do we get work done? How strong is our security? How do we get and stay organized? Growing businesses often ignore these questions until there’s a problem. That’s why Gordon made stress-testing Myth’s operations part of his job as business director. He’s always looking at their tech stack and seeing if there’s something better out there.
“I get it’s a real time-consuming process, especially for small businesses where you don’t necessarily have a lot of time,” he says. “But it really is worth finding that time to look into your systems and your processes because that’s really the springboard for growth.”
For Gordon that meant finding solutions that would support the business as it began working with bigger clients and external partners outside of the mythstudio.co.uk domain. Last year Myth migrated over to Dropbox Enterprise from Google Drive so they could have more flexibility and security. Now they can control folder permissions and put two-factor authentication on shared folders, something that puts Gordon’s mind at ease. (Although his teammates do tease him about his penchant for 2FA-ing everything).
It also meant looking at cost efficiency. Myth recently switch over to Dropbox Replay from Frame.io because their Enterprise plans were a lot more expensive with less access for the whole team.
“Now we can have the whole team on Replay, so they can put [assets in] without having to go through Frankie or I uploading it,” he explains.
“It just is one less thing that we need to worry about,” Evans adds. “When you have Slack, and then you have Dropbox, and then you have other external software that you use, it’s nice to not have to go to another platform to upload your video content.”
“It was literally a quarter of the cost, had more features, and was already integrated with the stuff we were using,” Gordon says. “It was a no brainer.”
2. Using tech to make things easier for everybody
With operations humming along in the background, Myth can then focus on what they do best: turning their clients’s stories into legends.
As head of production, Evans oversees all the projects that come through Myth’s doors, keeping tabs as they move from pre-production to post and guiding both teammates and clients along the way. With jumping from internal to external communication, “all the tools that we’re using have to be externally-facing professional, but then they also have to be familiar enough and easy enough for the team to use,” she says.
While the quality of Myth’s work speaks for itself, they’ve learned the way it’s packaged can speak even louder. It’s another point in Replay’s favor; Evans uses its live-review function to get feedback from her team and Myth’s clients.
“Rather than sharing my screen and talking through a film, which then lags and can sometimes be a bit annoying… Me, James [Myth’s founder and creative director], and whoever needs to jump on, jumps on and we’re all watching at the same time,” she explains. “It just saves that awkward lagging problem, because if we drop a few frames, the animation doesn’t carry the original quality.”
3. Taking their people with them
Myth wouldn’t have been able to take on a lot of their new projects without the help of freelancers. Depending on the ask, their nine-person team can balloon up to 17 or 18, “which is why the kind of collaborative tools [we use] are so important,” Gordon says.
And many of those freelancers just happen to be good friends based in their hometown and around the world. (In fact, Gordon became Myth’s third employee after many a late-night convo with his friend and Myth’s founder about the business.)
“The fact that we're hybrid meant that … we were able to get the best people,” Evans says. “You have to have a strong community of people that you can be like, ‘Hi, we've got a project. Do you want to join in?’ If people are like, ‘Yes, we love working with you,’ then that's the biggest compliment that you can have as a team.”
As their global team expands and contracts, having a single source of truth on how to get things done has become more important. Instead of a team member or freelancer pinging Evans or Gordon in Slack or hoping to run into them in Myth’s London studio, they can access screen recordings created using Capture.
“I like knowing that I've got those resources and more complex walkthroughs on different parts of systems [available], because it's just quick and easy. If Frankie or myself got to sit down with somebody and jump on a video call and go through things, that's our time,” Gordon says. “It's good to know we can just be like, ‘Hey, look: Here's a video of me doing exactly what I'm going to sit and do on the call with you. And you can rewind it, you can pause, you can go at your own pace with it.’”
4. Staying true to what made them unique
Myth now works with some of the most recognizable names in consumer goods, but they’re far from content. The team is constantly exploring new methods and mediums to express their point of view, from incorporating AI into their pitch process to one day (fingers and toes crossed) making their own award-winning films.
But as Myth continues to grow, the team doesn’t want to lose touch with what made them special when they were smaller. It’s the one bit of advice Evans would share with anyone facing a similar point in their work.
“Your love for it and your passion for it and your quirks and all of your charm that you bring to a project,” she says, “you can't let go of that just because your clients become bigger or more demanding. It's very, very easy the minute you get approached by someone whose name scares you to suddenly completely take away all of your personality. You need to remember that you're talking to another community of people who also care.”