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Famous Frames and The Napoleon Group Announce Joint Venture

Noted talent agency for storyboard artists combines with creative production company and industry leader in test spots and animatics to launch FamousFrames @ Napoleon.

Famous Frames and The Napoleon Group have announced a new strategic partnership that represents a merger of their respective and highly-regarded offerings in both storyboard art and animatics, and test spot production. Spiro Kafarakis, Chief Operating Officer of The Napoleon Group, and Mark C. Miller, President, of Famous Frames, made the announcement jointly. The new bicoastal association will operate under the name FamousFrames @ Napoleon.

The move brings together two companies with a combined 60 years of experience working with agencies and creative teams early on in the conceptual stages of ads and campaigns. The Napoleon Group was founded in New York in 1985 as a specialist in creating test spots and animatics. It has since grown into a bicoastal creative production company with almost 50 full-time employees working in end-to-end production, from pre-viz and prototyping to live action production, experiential, editorial and finishing, audio production and post, motion capture, 3D animation, VFX, design and motion graphics.

Famous Frames was founded in Los Angeles in 1988 and has become the preeminent talent agency representing artists who specialize in storyboards, shooting boards and comp art. It also provides full-service cinematic and animatic production. With headquarters in Culver City and a regional office in New York, it represents an exclusive roster of over one hundred of the world’s top illustrators who work in the areas of advertising (both print and video), feature films, television programming, video games and theme park attractions.

FamousFrames @ Napoleon will focus on storyboard art for ad agencies and brands, with Famous Frames’ clients now having one-stop access to the production and post capabilities of Napoleon while Napoleon’s test spot clients will have exclusive access to the storyboard artists at Famous Frames. Napoleon’s West Coast offices, where its live action production arm is based, will move into the Culver City studios of Famous Frames, while the Famous Frames talent agents based in New York will now work out of the Napoleon studios on West 25th Street.

“Famous Frames has the most robust talent of exclusive artists in our business, be it in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or any other market,” said The Napoleon Group Founder and Chief Creative Officer Marty Napoleon. “They’re considered the top talent agents in the business when it comes to storyboard art, and we’ve competed with them for storyboard assignments over the years, as they’ve competed with us for test spots and pre-viz. Merging our capabilities in these areas makes a great deal of sense and will allow us to focus on our core capabilities.”

Miller, who co-founded Famous Frames along with CEO Janine Miller, says the time was right to make this move with The Napoleon Group. “The industry has changed so much since we first opened our doors,” he said. “The market for our services is now global, as is our community of artists. Partnering with Napoleon will let us really develop that, which will bolster the art offerings to all of our clients, while we rely on the talents at Napoleon to handle all of the animatic and test work we used to do.”

“Clients are increasingly looking for single-source, streamlined solutions,” added Tara Aarons, Famous Frames’ VP/Executive Producer, who will oversee the combined entity alongside Napoleon Group EP Perry Morton. “Many are making concerted efforts to deal with fewer partners. When you look at the breadth of services, creative resources and experience we collectively possess, it opens us up to assignments we wouldn’t have been able to tackle in the past.”

The catalyst for the merger was Kafarakis, who’d been a Famous Frames client while on the agency side, prior to his joining The Napoleon Group as a partner earlier this year. He saw the potential for the combination of the two shops, not just in terms of their services but their cultures as well. “We share truly similar values and approaches to our work,” he points out. “Having Mark, Tara and their entire team as our storyboard art division is something our clients have responded to very positively, and having a woman-owned company as our art partner is equally appealing in this era of initiatives designed to increase opportunities for woman and minority-owned businesses in advertising.”

“When we all sat down and got to know each other, Marty said that coming together felt totally natural, and I have to agree with him,” says Miller about the new entity that FamousFrames @ Napoleon represents. “I can’t think of any other company we could have aligned ourselves with that would enhance our capabilities in any greater fashion. And with Napoleon’s move into production and experiential, the opportunities for more synergy and collaboration are just going to explode.”

Source: FamousFrames @ Napoleon