News Flash! PopMark Media’s Principals, Lisa Horan, Stephen Joseph Antonelli and Kevin Hill will be appearing at an upcoming SPARS Session, titled, SPARS Talk – Lessons from Savvy Owners, Saturday, October 22, 2011, 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM as part of the 131st AES Convention in NY. They will be sharing some of the “out of the box” thinking and marketing concepts, which have allowed them to thrive and expand their business in recent years.
PopMark is like a new-fangled ad agency – minus the corporate mentality The folks at PopMark take what they do very seriously and are passionate about their work – but they know how to have fun with each other and make the process fun for their clients. If you come to the PopMark studio, be prepared to laugh and have a good time. The staff has a laid back style in terms of their approach with people, but don’t screw around when it comes to doing an amazing job on their work and delivering the project to the client by the deadline.
One of the greatest things about PopMark is the chemistry between each of the staff members, which is very evident when you see them together. It’s something that can’t be manufactured; it’s organic.
In addition, PopMark’s new space is comfortable for clients, has a creative/artsy vibe, and provides cutting edge technology.
The PopMark Story
So how did the PopMark team meet? It goes a little something like this: Lisa and Kevin first met in the Spring of 2007 after Kevin placed an ad for a singer for his country songwriting team. Lisa happened to answer, and the two hit it off so well that they soon teamed up on the production of some of Lisa’s original material. Not long after, Steve, who had just moved back into the Baltimore area from NYC, was looking for someone to help fatten up a track he was producing, and he happened upon Kevin. The three started working together on music, audio post, and business.
At the time, the studio was experiencing pretty significant growing pains, and, as a result, Lisa’s background in marketing/PR was called upon. At first, she, Kevin, and Steve traded services: Lisa developed and implemented marketing strategies and Kevin and Steve produced her music in exchange. In the course of it all, they realized that their areas of expertise could complement each other well, so they started entertaining the idea of joining forces to generate more money.
During this time, there was an opportunity to attend Mix Nashville. While there, Kevin spoke with Mix’s editor, Tom Kenney, mentioned that his creative director (Lisa) was a writer, and pitched the idea of possibly getting into the magazine. After a conversation between the three, Tom was sold, and the “Confessions of a Small Working Studio” column was born. It celebrates its second year anniversary this month. The column in Mix not only provided the three with a marketing vehicle, but has also opened up the door to networking opportunities with other professionals around the world, potential collaborations, and a wealth of new ideas.
Meanwhile, the music created by Lisa, Steve, and Kevin receiving the attention of industry professionals in Nashville and LA and landing placements and awards, and the three were working tirelessly to develop ways to bolster the studio’s position in the market. They finally realized that each of their services combined – and a cross-marketing of these services – would be beneficial. In the Summer of 2010, they officially joined forces and launched PopMark Media. There was something in the air – the smell of change – and they could sense that a new season was on its way.
This new season wouldn’t come like a gentle, spring wind, however. Instead, it involved a lot of heavy decisions, a willingness to take a step out into the unknown, and a reach down deep into their pockets. In the Fall of 2010, this all culminated in a move to a larger space in a more suitable location, which they believed would put them in a better position to land more business – and new types of clients. After a long and arduous creative financing adventure, they secured a new space, endured major renovations, and transformed what once was a bland, non-descript office area. The resulting space became a cool, contemporary, and comfortable multi-functioning media-music-audio post studio. What followed was the opportunity to work with a growing array of clients on creative projects that range from independent films to corporate videos; jingles to branding campaigns; websites to custom music for nonprofit organizations.
A few examples of PopMarks’s cross-over work:
The Photon Effect: This film first came in for audio post, ADR, sound design, and Foley. In the process, the filmmaker took advantage of PopMark’s new media services. PopMark developed a website and myspace page, developed and launched a social media campaign, and oversaw PR efforts.
Rockin’ the Rage: This non-profit organization originally asked PopMark to write an original piece of music to promote its message, along with a children’s song that would be taught in public school. After the initial meeting, the client became aware that PopMark also offered media services, and commissioned PopMark to develop its website, intro animation, a script for a video, print material, and general marketing consultation.
Sweet Leda: This popular Annapolis neo soul band had their album produced, a website developed, and a press outreach campaign launched under PopMark’s roof.
Ameri-Dry: PopMark developed the company’s web development, manages a media buying campaign, conducts social media, marketing, and PR campaigns, wrote, produced, and produced a radio spot.
Lovely Molly: For this film, which made its worldwide debut at the Toronto Film Festival, Kevin oversaw all audio post production (ADR, mixing, sweetening, Foley). Two of Lisa’s songs (co-written by Steve and Kevin) were chosen and used in the film.
In the year and a half that PopMark has been in existence, the company has taken on a life of its own. When it first started, the company catered solely to bands and filmmakers, but it wasn’t long before businesses started to hear about PopMark’s services. And it seems this trend will continue.
What started out as a solo recording studio has transformed into a busy new media company that is gaining a tremendous amount of momentum. While each member of the team has been successful on his or her own, they are enjoying much more success working together as a unit, helping to support each other, working towards a collective goal. At the end of the day, the trio is doing what they love – being creative, making music, sound designing films, working with like-minded people, and enjoying some good times and laughter along the way.
PopMark Media Principals
Lisa Horan: Co-Founder/Executive Director
Lisa’s role in PopMark combines her 18 years of writing/marketing/PR experience with her songwriting/music background. In addition to overseeing the day to day operations of PopMark, Lisa works with businesses, ad agencies, government agencies, and non-profits; musicians and songwriters; and filmmakers to create and enact effective strategies that help their projects stand out. Whether it’s developing a website or creating a powerful social networking plan, she works closely with each client to address their unique needs. She also puts her songwriting skills to work, as she helps to create music for artist projects, radio and TV spots, videos, films, and other marketing campaigns, in conjunction with PopMark’s Music Production Director. Lisa is an award-winning songwriter whose music has been used in films, videos, the Web, and other projects and has been licensed by music consultancy companies that place songs with CBS, NBC, HBO, ESPN, and Columbia-Tristar Entertainment. Her articles have appeared in a variety of industry publications including Mix magazine (for which she currently writes a monthly column), Videography, Government Video, Digital TV, iCOM, and others. Lisa’s professional background includes serving as the associate director of TIVA-DC (an organization representing film, video, and production community professionals) for eight years; a PR/publications manager at Rosenberg Communications, a communication/PR firm; and the creative director of Studio Unknown.
Stephen Joseph Antonelli: Co-Founder/Music Production Director
Steve is a multi-talented producer, engineer, arranger, and songwriter. As a producer/musician, Steve’s passion has always centered on producing and arranging. This passion led him to pursue a career in the music industry, first in Nashville – where he received his musical education working in busy demo and commercial studios – and later in New York City, where he fine-tuned his skills by working with such greats as Grammy-winning Engineer Frank Wolf and composer Douglas Cuomo and in studios such as Right Tracks, Sears Sound, the funk East side, and Mercy Sound. Steve’s clients have spanned multiple genres, including hip hop and rap, Contemporary Christian, rock, hard core, neo soul, R&B, gospel, singer/songwriter, and pop. In addition to his busy recording artist project schedule, Steve also works with businesses, advertising agencies, corporations, government agencies, and non-profits to create custom music for their projects.
Kevin Hill: Co-Founder/Audio Post Production Director
Kevin regularly works with filmmakers, production companies, ad agencies, and other organizations to provide expert sound design and mix services. He is an engineer/producer who began his career 20 years ago. In 2001, he launched Studio Unknown, an audio post production facility. Kevin’s sound design and original music have been featured in film, TV, web, stage productions, and video games. Most recently, Kevin served as the Supervising Sound Editor and Re-recording Mixer for Lovely Molly, a film by Eduardo Sanchez, (Blair Witch Project), which is making its worldwide debut at the Toronto Film Festival. Other projects have included sound design and 5.1 mix for for Freedom Dance (a film that earned multiple awards, including a CINE Master Series Award) and Lost in Woonsocket (an Official Selection at the SXSW Film Festival); original music and narration recording for the Telly Award-winning A&E series “Random 1″; and sound design and mix for programs for Discovery Communications, National Geographic, NASA, PBS, and others. In addition, Kevin served as an adjunct professor, teaching Audio Production, at Anne Arundel Community College, and is a member of the country songwriting collaboration MoranHillHurwitz.