What is a full service animation studio doing in a quiet Northern Virginia neighborhood?
Producing animation for “the big screen, the small screen, and all the screens in between,” says its founder, Charlotte Rinderknecht.
Studio Kinate is a “concept to completion” studio whose artists use traditional hand-drawn animation to create its projects.
But it’s not just its unusual location and old-school style that set Kinate apart from other animation studios. “It is our process that makes us stand out. I believe in apprenticeship. The animations we produce rely on interns and apprentices working alongside veteran and senior animators,” Rinderknecht says.
Rinderknecht feels this is an important part of what makes her company special. “Our films not only engage audiences, they inspire a new generation of animators. Each and every Studio Kinate project includes the work of student, intern, and junior animators.” This, she says, is the key to creating relevant and progressive storytelling that resonates with young audiences.
While she had been involved in other businesses, it wasn’t until she decided to seek funding for Studio Kinate that she embarked upon writing her first business plan. “When I was looking for help, it was the reviews that made me turn to Business Plan Pro, because I had no idea where else to turn.”
“My business model is unusual, so people who were advising me had a hard time seeing the possibilities outside the norm,” Charlotte notes. Then she discovered the Business Success Coaching service, and found a coach who supported her vision and helped her achieve it. “My coach, Paul Gibson, was amazing. He helped me keep on goal and helped me with questions that were related more to my industry, that helped me understand how to write my plans. For instance, since my company produces animation for feature distribution, I need to build a plan for each of those projects. Paul was amazing and encouraging.”
Charlotte considers any business plan a work in progress. “The business plan is a living document and should be revisited to help keep track of where you are going. I feel it is like a map, and you don’t just look at the map when you begin a journey. You need to review and plan new routes as you travel.” On her planning journey, she’s found the most challenging part to be crunching the numbers. “It takes considerable research and planning to develop the funding requirements of the studio. Business Plan Pro helps me get organized and walks me through the process. It also provides additional resources,” she says, which provided valuable assistance in finding the data she needed to complete her plan.
Studio Kinate is not just a business. Its productions include both traditional hand drawing techniques and innovative digital technology, says Charlotte, “because we believe the warmth and artistry of hand drawn animation is an art worth preserving for the next generation.” And since the animations are created by young animators sitting alongside seasoned professionals, viewers and creators alike benefit from the process.
And so does Charlotte. “I love watching people come together on a project. Working with young people and introducing them to veterans in the industry has been priceless. I love watching them work together to produce something that audiences will love. Don’t get me wrong, this is the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but it is also the most rewarding.”