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4 April 2018

Fable FX want to take you to the zoo.

by Jason Stone

 
 

When they established Fable FX in 2015, Swedes Kaj Steveman, Janak Thakker and Anders Freij decided they could get ahead of the increasing demand for CG animals by creating a virtual zoo.

This was such an intriguing idea that DAVID had to find out more and over the Easter weekend, we spoke to Kaj to delve further into the company's menagerie-based business plan.

DAVID suspects Fable FX have come up with a killer proposition after a recent conversation with a leading figure figures in London's VFX scene who said that clients often think a particular company are limited to the animals they have generated before.

It doesn't take a great deal of common sense to recognise the flaw in this notion and yet this virtual elephant in the room sits there... or at least it does for the companies who've made virtual elephants before.



According to Fable's Kaj Steveman, one of the key incentives for building the zoo was entirely pragmatic: "Being remotely placed in Sweden, we needed a niche to reach out."

Having already established a VFX company in his home country, Steveman understands the challenge: "My old company had some 30-plus employees... which is what you'd expect from a company doing visual effects. But I wanted to start something that is more in line with the future... working more in the cloud and being more flexible and agile."

Animals were an obvious starting point because it had been a request he'd frequently had to service at his previous company: "We got requests from all over the world." It became a niche, he thinks because they were flexible, had fast turn-arounds and were able to offer what he calls "a nice budget".



Flexibility is built into the company's DNA. They have a solid infrastructure built around a core team, which is spread out. geographically... with four studios around the world, they are able to expand according to demand which in turn means they "can then easily hand pick experts for each assignment."


I wanted to start something that is more in line with the future... working more in the cloud and being more flexible and agile.

Kaj Steveman   

 


The concept of the zoo was something they were working on from the start of the company, and they've continued to build new animals whether there's a specific demand or not. Ideally, a new creature will be created on the back of a commission but if they feel there's a gap in their inventory, they'll get ahead of demand by building it before they're asked for it.

Not only does this strategy forestall the 'I can see that you know how to create a horse but how do I know you can create a cow?' challenge, it also enables Fable FX to be extremely competitive when it comes to price.

As Sweden is a relatively small market where "the need for animals is not an everyday thing," Fable FX is already working with a lot of companies outside their home country.

Unsurprisingly, they are extremely keen to forge new relationships in the UK and they recently invited Corin West of Lemonade to represent them in London.

But their ambition doesn't stop there: "Obviously the two biggest markets are the US and China."

Both territories can be annoyingly parochial when it comes to using foreign companies: "It's very much a relationship-based business." But, equally, Steveman has seen how their virtual zoo arouses interest and he's excited to show it off in London and beyond.

Who knows, perhaps within a few years, Fable FX will be providing the Americans with golden eagles and China with giant pandas.

To learn more about Fable FX and their zoo, contact Corin West on +44 7792 675779 or via email at corin@lemonadereps.com.


David Reviews is hand-crafted by Lovely Lenzie Ltd, 7 Seven Sisters, Lenzie, Glasgow, G66 3AW. Editor: Jason Stone. Phone: 0141 776 7766. E-mail: jason@davidreviews.com.