Underscore Talent, a division of TheSoul Publishing, continues to succeed in managing talents but experienced firsthand how creators struggle in their respective production processes. This inspired Underscore Talent to launch a cutting-edge digital production and distribution company, Shorthand Studios.
Today, Nick Jacklin of Underscore Talent gives us a rundown on what Shorthand Studios is, what it does, and how it can help all creators.
About Nick Jacklin
Nick Jacklin is the Partner and President of Business Development of Underscore Talent. He has over a decade of experience working with leading companies, namely Studio71, The Walt Disney Company, and Maker Studios. What inspired Underscore Talent to launch Shorthand Studios?
Shorthand Studios was born out of need. Nick shared that many of Underscore Talent’s clients needed help with their production services, specifically with editing. Many even asked Underscore Talent if they could provide any kind of help with that aspect.
Nick adds, “What we saw was a huge need in the market for a new type of studio that’s incredibly transparent and helps creators manage that kind of pipeline and process across platforms.”
What’s the vision behind Shorthand Studios, and how does it fit into Underscore Talent’s overall mission?
The core mission of Shorthand Studios is to help grow a creator’s reach and revenue across platforms. The team behind Shorthand Studios fundamentally believes that the most valuable asset among creators is their time. Creators are focused on building their brands and businesses on a few core platforms, and Shorthand Studios will come in and help them scale that across today’s digital ecosystem.
Nick proceeds by giving us an example of how Shorthand Studios can help some of the most successful creators today.
“Take The Royalty Family as an example. They’ve done so well in growing their business on YouTube. We can come in and help them with Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. And we believe in growing their brands into media companies,” Nick shares.
Creators want to grow their audiences and provide access to their content across different platforms. But because there are different audiences across YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat, creators alone cannot achieve all these goals – this is where Shorthand Studios can strategically help. Shorthand Studios is doing this for a diverse set of creators such as Alan Chikin Chow, MissDarcei, and more. They have achieved this by tapping into TheSoul Publishing’s advanced distribution technology to further amplify the voices of creators beyond what they could potentially achieve on their own.
What services does Shorthand Studios offer to content creators?
Shorthand Studios is a one-stop shop for all creators and entertainment properties, as its services cover the entire content creation process: from strategy-making to production and post-production. They’ll even complete all the publishing and post-publishing optimization work on behalf of the creators and entertainment properties.
Nick Jacklin explains further, “We do everything for our partners – from video and catalog analysis to editing and publishing on their behalf across platforms, and there isn’t any additional work required by the creator. That’s what I think is really important about our model and the technology that we have in partnership with TheSoul Publishing, we automate large parts of the distribution workflow and create efficiencies and growth for Creators and entertainment properties. For example, take a creator who primarily posts to one platform – Shorthand Studios has a built-in system to automatically pull down their content and repurpose that video across multiple platforms. Our experienced team specifically edits and coordinates the post-production workflow for the audience on each platform, saving the creator valuable time and bandwidth to focus their energies on creating content.”
Shorthand Studios can take over the entire publishing process from writing headlines and titles to creating thumbnails. We are publishing content on Connected TVs on behalf of the creator.
What makes Shorthand Studios different from other content production companies?
Nick Jacklin shares that Shorthand Studios was developed from a perspective of transparency with a goal to be the best creative partner for Creators, and this makes them stand out from the competition. He continues, “It’s just not necessarily learned, but it’s fundamentally at the core of our management business as well, that a partnership with any Creative is built over time on trust. So, we’ve built an extensive process into the Shorthand Studios technical pipeline, which automatically shares the creative assets with talent prior to being published.”
The process Shorthand Studios implemented promotes a certain level of creative transparency, which other content production companies do not practice. They follow the same approach in working with every single creator to guarantee transparency and still provide control to the creator.
At the end of the day, Shorthand Studios exist to help creators and content owners build and scale their brands, not compete with them. And by providing that kind of level of transparency, creators become more comfortable working with Shorthand Studios. As a result, creators will be able to trust the studio and are encouraged to foster a long-term relationship with them.
How does Shorthand Studios revolutionize the way content is created in the digital age?
Nick Jacklin believes that creators will always look for partners because many of them start alone or with a small team, which often is a family member or friend. As the creator thrives in the industry and achieves success, they’ll look for specialized and strategic partners to help them build their businesses, just like any other business.
For the creative side, Nick expects it to become more tech-enabled, given that AI and other similar systems are now available online. But despite these advancements, creators would still want a creative partner they can trust and help them implement any technology they want to use for their production process and ensure that their output is aligned with their brand and vision.
Nick adds, “That’s how we think about it. It will be increasingly tech-enabled, and we’ll be able to help implement the right technology, very likely that we build or have already built by TheSoul Publishing and advise additional services as they come online in direct partnership with the creator.”
How does Shorthand Studios help creators develop a content strategy?
For Shorthand Studios, developing a content strategy for creators involves constant communication as the creator learns what works best on different platforms and how the audience responds. The studio provides analytics that has gathered the creators to provide advice to help them shape their creative process.
Shorthand Studios believes that feedback is key to creating high-quality and unique content. However, they feel creators don’t always receive the feedback they need to grow. Creators have numerous touchpoints, like their communities on certain platforms, but this isn’t always enough for them to gather feedback they can use for their creative process.
Shorthand Studios take that a step further and provide in-depth feedback useful for all creators. They’ll gather analytics and insights from different platforms, which means they understand what those platforms are experiencing holistically.
Additionally, they can also advocate for any new products creators might have down the pipeline. Nick explains, “We advocate for our creators where it makes sense to think about integrating those platform features into our processes or theirs.”
How do you manage the rights of creators’ content across different platforms?
The process is straightforward for Shorthand Studios. The rights profile is fairly simple: Shorthand Studios only licenses content [on a per-creator basis] for platforms that they’re going to help them with.
Shorthand Studios believes it’s fundamental in terms of talent management not to overreach or ask for rights for content they don’t need or use. Nick reiterates that Shorthand Studios functions as a creative partner to creators. This means that although creators don’t have to do a lot of actual work, Shorthand Studios still offers incredible transparency to show creators what they’re doing on their behalf.
Nick Jacklin believes that this kind of approach helps mitigate any kind of potential questions or concerns any creator would have. He adds, “We take a very specific set of rights, and it’s not as complicated to manage.”
How does Shorthand Studios help creators monetize their content?
The type of help Shorthand Studios provides in content monetization depends on the platform they’re working on. For example, for Snapchat and Facebook, the largest part of the creator’s revenue comes from ads. In cases like these, Shorthand Studios optimizes its post-production and publishing strategies to help creators grow their brand and audience across these platforms.
The second thing they look at is how they can make that content as effective as possible, so it will monetize on those platforms. Nick takes pride in how Shorthand Studio has a very hands-on approach when it comes to that level of detail.
Nick Jacklin says, “But there are other platforms that we’re working on, like Discord, which doesn’t monetize content through advertising. It’s a different approach and strategy when we think about monetizing content. You take a different approach to how you communicate with your audience, and what you are asking from them and what you are providing are very different. Take ShivFPS or the Gaming Illuminaughty as an example, a top gaming entertainment podcast, that brings additional perks and content to their community through tools available on Discord. We have worked with them to monetize in a different way than they would on YouTube or Spotify.”
Monetization is very important for creators to build sustainable businesses across different platforms. And the type of help or support Shorthand Studios gives to creators in this aspect depends on the platform used and the goals the creator wants to achieve.
What’s the pricing model for Shorthand Studios?
The pricing model for Shorthand Studios is a revenue share and a minority portion. The team remains transparent on how the costs are calculated. Nick Jacklin shares, “We front all the costs, so we’re paying for all this work upfront, and a revenue share with each creator.”
Can you share any success stories or case studies of creators who work with Shorthand Studios?
CelinaSpookyBoo is one of the many creators who worked with Shorthand Studios. They took over her Facebook page and completed several processes, from curating and editing content to content publishing and community management.
After partnering with Shorthand Studios, CelinaSpookyBoo’s earned 400x more in revenue, increased her video views by over 500%, and video engagement by over 125%. In only the third month of their partnership, Shorthand Studios successfully drove this sustained growth.
Aside from helping CelinaSpookyBoo’s engagement on Facebook, Shorthand Studios is also helping her on different platforms, namely Snap and Instagram. Presently, the studio is optimizing and making strategic edits to her existing content posted on the platforms mentioned.
Nick Jacklin adds, “I think what’s really interesting is that when she launched her cosmetics line, BeautyxBoo, we were able to tap into her audiences across platforms. If she had dropped the project prior to our partnership, she probably would have just used TikTok.”
“We advised a lot on that, but we were also able to help launch and talk about those products across Facebook and Snapchat. And we found a lot of success with doing that. Creating that community on these platforms went a long way to the success of her actual launching her own cosmetics line,” Nick states.
What are the plans for Shorthand Studios, and will Underscore Talent continue to support its growth and success?
According to Nick, Shorthand Studios will continue to add more services for creators across different platforms. Right now, they’re working on five core platforms, namely Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Discord, and Roku, and will explore adding more services and supporting more platforms over time.
Shorthand Studios has already helped creators on Instagram and will continue to work with creators on other kinds of social video platforms that the industry will come to know and love.
Nick Jacklin states, “What we really want to do is provide a path for long-term success for creators and entertainment properties. Where there is an opportunity to grow the audience and revenue for a creator on a new platform, we really want to be there and support them on that. We believe that these creators are artists who need support in building their businesses. And if we execute well, it’ll allow Creators to do what they love doing for a long time and will be more sustainable.”
The idea behind Shorthand Studios is to help creators build sustainable businesses — and they believe they can achieve that goal by helping them across different platforms.