from the desk of the coo – jan 2nd, 2024


the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.


behold! the first and possibly last attempt to keep a proper “start of a new month” email log of our efforts together. 2020 and 2021 i was pretty on it – we had a bit more time back then… 2022 and 2023, however…

easily blamed on our achievements, both years saw high water marks. as beleaguered as they were in their own respective ways, they were absolutely transformative for dft’s march toward quarter life. here we are, in our 25th year, and all i can tell you for certain is that this one will likely be quite a bit different than all the others.

we find ourselves in a bellwether year. what’s a bellwether you ask? well, the historic, literal meaning is the lead sheep (a wether) of a flock who wears a bell so the other sheep follow it. figuratively it’s a key predictor of how situations will go (i.e. a bellwether state in a presidential election, “where ohio goes, so goes the nation”). being that we just emerged from arguably the most tumultuous 4 years in the entertainment industry’s history, and we’re heading into both an election year (critical in everything from the global economy and trade agreements to the environment and any medium of art’s collective voice) and another potential strike, yes, i’d say this year has all the makings of one that will show how the next several will follow.

this month we’re going to watch and learn:
– how much work studios intend to pump out before august
– the best intentions of those around us
– just how well we used our “strike time” to prepare for what’s in store


uncertainty is the refuge of hope. – henri frederic amiel


for my part, i can tell you that the past 4+ years have taken it’s toll on me. four years with nary a vacation or sick day. four years with almost all working days in office, including the pandemic. four years that saw us expand the team over 50%, increase our square footage & parking another 50%, open an actual business in a whole other country, vary and increase revenue streams, open new branches of the business and widen our footprint in original content.

folks, i tell you now, none of that was luck. it was preparation and planning in the face of opportunity. and a lot of white knuckle grit. many, many people on this team decided, repeatedly, to bear down, to push forward in moments of frustration, to remember and believe in the whole when it felt so brutally solo. we have come so far only because we went together. there is, however, a cost to being that against which others break. and i tell you, many of us have paid it. i’ve looked around at many here who have also been up against that wall and pushed through. my hope is that we make the effort to find that which offers us some respite as we step into the next year.

it’s time to repair a bit, and to begin building the next few staircases, the kind that get dft to a 50th anniversary.


faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – dr. martin luther king, jr.


while i can hear the universe laugh when i say i’m making some changes for myself this trip around the sun, i did want to share what may impact some of you more than others. my focus for 2024 will pivot from securing the storehouse for a brutal winter, to instead rebuilding that storehouse for spring showers – and beyond:

  • one on ones, i’m increasing. this is some of our most productive time – goals, common ground, immediate action, and just being human together. while i have regular meetings scheduled with about a dozen folks, if you ever want or need one, my zoom is always open.
  • client relationships: we have done an incredible job of encouraging and communicating internally these past several months, but it’s time we rekindle some of the flames we have missed with our creative partners. they’re as excited to be back on the lot and in office as anyone, and we’ve remained fully staffed, hunkered down on the latest advancements and battle tested our workflows – it’s time to help them get back to work, too!
  • launching dft university. whether it will continue to be called dft university will depend on the hurdles we need to clear to become an education institution in name, if not by trade, but the hope and goal is to lay the ground work for what will be the return of apprenticeships in our industry. while the drop has become a giant step in the right direction of leading people to crafts again, it’s not enough. watching people like stormy, peffley, and rollins (#younginpost) all take on roles that they made into so much more has been remarkably humbling. we’re equipped to open more doors for more folks.

last, but not least, i will aim to be a better communicator. i do believe that, in light of the exceptional circumstances of the past year, we gave it our best effort to keep everyone informed, but i do think that, had i been better at these (admittedly long winded) emails, we’d have been more on the same page across departments, especially the many of you who are singular in your department, work off hours from the larger crew or don’t have the benefit of working with/along with your team in person often or at all. my hope is it helps bring us a bit more together and reading from the same page.


art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.
doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.
 – khalil gibran