Something a little different this month. All because – in true click-baity fashion – there’s a bit of an announcement at the end, but you’ll have to read through the rest of this before you get to that bit. Or you could just skip to the last paragraph if you want. I can’t tell you what to do. Who am I? Your Mother?
I think most of you will be aware of the name ‘Bee Productive’ because we may have worked together, or you may have emailed me, or maybe taken a look at that website. I thought I’d explain a little about the history of Bee Productive, and how I get to my current place before I give you the little announcement.
A short history of Bee Productive
Bee Productive came into being in 2012. Before that I’d been working at a voiceover production company where I was Head of Production. I won’t name the company as it’s under different management from when I was there and I don’t want my tale of woe to reflect on the current owners. I’d started there in 2001 as a junior producer and had risen through the ranks, but in 2012 my bosses put the staff on a 4 day week and encouraged us to find other work to make up the loss of income. They tried to push us into becoming voiceover artists but I wasn’t interested in that so I set up Bee Productive to help voiceovers with their studio kit, offer training and do some live engineering or freelance AV support. To be diplomatic my bosses didn’t like this and from that point on my side-hustle was destined to become my main-hustle as soon as feasibly possible. It became possible towards the end of 2013.
I’d imagined the voiceover support bits to be the smaller side of Bee Productive, with the majority of my time spent doing the other things. I soon realised that there was a lot of need for the services I was offering voice artists and more. So I was able to leave my job and add editing and showreel production to my services, which previously would have been a conflict of interest with my main job.
Always expect the unexpected
Fast forward slightly to February 2014, and I’m doing ok-ish. Jobs are coming in and my young business is starting to be noticed more. We are living off Helen’s salary while I build up funds from my business to replace a few bits in my studio to bring it up to a proper professional studio standard as I’d obviously lost access to the old work studio.
Helen had made a career for herself in advertising, and it’s quite a ruthless world. Winning and losing clients leads to taking on staff and redundancies (can you see where this is going?). At the time, she working as an account manager for a big agency with a major national client to look after.
One afternoon she was called into the office and her employment was terminated. As had happened on previous occasions, she signed up with a couple of agencies and started freelancing as an artworker/designer while she looked for a job as we couldn’t afford for her to simply sign-on.
Cue her birthday when we were sitting outside in a beer garden (it was unusually sunny for March!) and we discuss whether she should get a regular job or stay freelancing as a long-term plan. She comes out with the immortal line, “I’ve seen how much happier you are since you’ve been working for yourself…” and the decision is effectively made; I’m not such a twat of a husband that I want my wife to be miserable!
And so there were 2 of us in the household with young businesses and no fixed income. A very good friend of ours told us we were ‘F**king idiots’.
The first Studio Tickling Tour
Some time around August 2014 I got a phone call from Fran Guy who asked me whether it would be possible to visit her in London to give her studio a tweak. I explain that the travel costs would be prohibitively expensive from Manchester, but if I could get other appointments with other voice actors that cost could be split between them, and so the Studio Tickling Tour was born.
Hello B Double E
Between 2014 and 2018 we work at our individual businesses. Bee Productive builds, I become busier (as does Helen) the reputation of Bee Productive grows within the UK voice industry. I am – and I remain – extremely grateful to all my clients who trust me with such important parts of their businesses.
In 2018 Helen and I brought our businesses together and formed B Double E. This is initially almost an umbrella company and we continue to run our businesses separately, but bit by bit we start to work closer together. Until we get to where we are now – working together…
…Helping voiceovers to be seen and heard.
And so we come to the announcement.
Bee Productive has been great and has become a fairly recognised brand, but it’s time to move forward. Having Bee Productive and B Double E (and Helen’s Mrs Bee brand) was fine, but now it’s counter-productive, and so it’s time to retire Bee Productive (and Mrs Bee).
The Facebook page has already been merged into B Double E, the website will soon re-direct to B-Double-E and I have to remember to not use my Bee Productive email address as my main one. You still get me doing the work for you and you’ll still get the same high level of service, but you may need to save a different email address (email@example.com) in your address book.
It’s a fond farewell to the old brand, but it’s for all the best reasons. Here’s to working closer together in the future.