Fresno ad company MantraHouse dreams of someday doing feature films, but for now it creates commercials for local clients directly and through ad agencies.
Founding partners Paul Abajian and Ian Mynderup created the company about two years ago after both had worked for different agencies in town, said Abajian.
Now they’re expanding what the company is capable of. They recently added a remote-controlled helicopter and green studio to the company’s available tools, he said. The company, whose offices are on the seventh floor of the Pacific Southwest Building on Fulton Mall, will also be hosting the Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s mixer in August.
The two partners have different skills, Abajian said, with his specialization falling into live-action while Mynderup is better with special effects and animation. Instead of one-person doing everything, as can happen in small markets, this allows for each to work within their specialization, Abajian said.
The company has created ad spots for Granville Homes, Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Me ‘n’ Ed’s, Downtown Fresno Partnership and Haron Jaguar, among others. Some of their clients have been outside of Fresno, extending north into the Bay Area, he said.
$2,000 to $75,000Budget to create an ad spot
The process for creating an ad spot can vary, Abajian said. If there’s a script provided then the budget is decided, but if there isn’t then MantraHouse’s team writes a script before deciding the budget. Budgets can be from around $2,000 to $75,000.
For live-action spots, there’s location scouting, casting talent and creating a shooting schedule before getting down to the business of actually shooting. After shooting, the editing and post-production process begins. Voiceover is recorded while motion graphics and effects are added, before the final audio mix is applied.
A spot that’s animation is more streamlined, going straight into post-production. Some clients are shown an in-progress wire-frame animation for approval before the final product is done, he said.
This process can take from two to three days to a couple of weeks, with the client approving the budget as they go, Abajian said.
Abajian said he dreams of not only doing tackling narrative storytelling in films with MantraHouse, but making the jump from local advertising to more regional and national work.
“It just takes the one job, sometimes,” he said.
Two days to two weeksTime needed to create an ad spot
MantraHouse also offers acting classes for both beginners and experienced actors, taught by Abajian. The classes cover on-camera work, as students approached Abajian saying they had never acted on camera before and wanted to gain experience.
MantraHouse added a studio with a temporary green screen about two months ago, where Abajian’s acting classes will be held in the future. The company is looking to put in higher ceilings and add more soundproofing and a permanent green screen.
MantraHouse also acquired an eight-blade drone for filming purposes about a couple of months ago. It is large enough to hold cameras that are used to film motion pictures instead of just cameras used for aerial photography, Abajian said. Using the drone is a two-person job, as Mynderup or another pilot flies it from the ground while Abajian operates the camera, he said.
The company will be hosting the mixer for Fresno Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. in The Vault, a bank vault in the Pacific Southwest Building that’s been repurposed into a screen room, bar and game area. About 100 people are expected to attend, Abajian said.
The company’s website is http://mantrahouse.com.
Sarah Anderson: (559) 441-6248; @Sarahsonofander