China Business Development

Posted on January 6th, 2010 in Entrepreneurship, The Company by Marc Bourbonnais

Not too long ago I was personally invited to visit some industry development in China. Modus is currently working on digital effects of a very ambitious project for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, so we have new contacts with the Orient to explore. I have been to Asia before, but this was a first trip to China, very exciting. Considering the work to be done at Modus, I opted for a very short trip of only three days (!) so I would not have to suffer too much from jet lag on my return; the sheer adrenaline rush of spending a few days in China is enough to keep me awake on the other side of the world for a few days.

My trip was in part as an official guest of the 2nd China International Cartoon Creative Industry Fair (CICCIF), taking part in Wuhu, near Nanjing. (Yes, coolest city name). Not too sure what to expect, on a very not and sunny  morning I was politely ushered to an exterior stage, where about a hundred delegates and myself were greeted by a crowd of thousands!


I’m on the stage, in a dark suit under the blistering sun for an hour..



My view from the stage. The Chinese sure know how to open a conference!

The conference was interesting, even though not specifically geared towards digital effects. However, a large number of production houses were on location, and this is what business development is all about. Even without a clear agenda, you can mingle with a totally new territory of business opportunities. China Central Television for example, with over 20 channels, has a billion viewers as a daily audience…

As for the rest of my time, food is always the place for official talks, so business and formal government dinners were the norm. I raised few eyebrows as a Caucasian who can use chopsticks… Gan bei!


 One of many elaborate dinners. By the way, that’s not orange juice, but corn juice.



With business and government representatives. Don’t know if you can find me, I’m the one with dark hair.

Two Years Ago

Posted on June 22nd, 2009 in Working in CG, Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

June 1st, 2007 was my last day as an employee and the first day of this blog, intended to follow my steps in the starting up of a visual effects company. Modus FX will be two years old in a few weeks…

We had a good feeling we could get through the market; we have a strong know-how for client relations, project management and, well, making VFX. The things my associates and I have learned about business administration, management and finances are overwhelming. Quickly identifying your weak spots and taking care of them, one problem at a time with clear, concise and easy solutions is key in entrepreneurship.

I’m not saying we’re on top of the world and our digital effects studio is this well-oiled machine, rendering away while I’m sipping a drink by the beach. We’re pumping a lot of hours; stress is high and our space still in renovations. But at least we have satisfied customers (even repeat business!) and we’re delivering our product.

Short Term and Medium Term Projects

Posted on December 17th, 2007 in Entrepreneurship, The Company, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

We knew that a key aspect of our success was to fill up our production calendar as soon as possible. We decided to set up strategies for short term (end of 2007) and medium term (early 2008) prospects.

Short term pitching (i.e. right now) requires a lot of work. It is fairly easy to present our company to possible clients and partners in the Montreal region and cold calling current projects in production. The process went well and the feedback was great, but it took a lot of our time with numerous daily visits. Autumn is not the best season to get involved in VFX projects and last November has been pretty awful for the CG/VFX community in Montreal.

2008 is looking much better, and we have been following up on a few projects for early next year. For longer productions, the important issue is to build confidence in the course of a few meetings while demonstrating your know-how. Our very large studio space helped us show our potential as well.

Our calendar is definitely shaping up after a rather slow start and a few delays the past few weeks. We’ll finally be more into pixels and less into 2×4, accounting reports and city permits.

Vincent Toussaint, new partner

Posted on July 8th, 2007 in The Company by Marc Bourbonnais

There is no company yet, but at least now there are two of us. Last week Vincent Toussaint (Linked profile) has decided to end his career as an employee and take part in this start-up before the company even exists. I was not looking around for partners in the CG community, so I am more than thrilled to have someone with such an impressive background on board.

Vincent has over 12 years experience in computer networks and systems. In the past he has worked as a computer technician and systems administrator at Systemcorp, Public Technologie Multimedia, My Virtual Model and Hybride to name a few. His knowledge and professionalism are a welcome addition to our new team.

Finally I can talk about We, Us and Our” instead of “Me, Myself and I”.

Living in my car, sleeping with my cell phone

Posted on June 15th, 2007 in Entrepreneurship, The Company by Marc Bourbonnais

Wow, a week of business lunches, meetings and calls with:

  • 2 accountants
  • 1 tax advisor
  • 1 financial advisor
  • 1 office space owner
  • 1 architect
  • 1 designer
  • 1 software vendor
  • 1 CG company
  • 1 CG learning center
  • 4 government officials
  • 2 possible investors
  • 2 possible partners
  • 2 banks
  • 2 lawyers
  • 1 VFX producer

I can’t wait to hire people.