business Archives - The X Gene

Nail in the wall text written in texta

The Nail in the Wall

By | Narrative | No Comments

It’s that time of year: funding responses. At the end of last year and for all of 2016 so far, I’ve been submitting work to grants and funds. After nearly ten years of corporate and advertising work, I’m finally serious about growing The X Gene into a fully fledged narrative screen production company. We’ve done stuff before. Short films, TV productions, theatre and web. All of it was around the edges until now.

When I started out of film school, I thought it prudent to get good at my craft before I embarked on a feature film sized project. I also saw how ridiculously tight, competitive and limiting government funding is. So we started Green Rabbit and then I started The X Gene to do two things: get good at producing, and make connections with the private sector. Filmmaking is way more of a business than the other arts, and alternative sources of money, multiple revenue streams, are the life blood of business.

So with our feature film projects front and centre, I’ve been open to every possible revenue stream available to us. Australia Council, Film Victoria, Creative Victoria, Screen Australia, AMP Tomorrow Fund, Awesome Foundation, micro grants, oh my. Any possibility has been seized upon. I’ve also started pitching to potential private investors and brands, but right now I’m in the opening week of when all these established grants bodies email a yay or nay.

There’s a crazy number of articles on ArtsHub about how to deal with rejection, so I’m bracing myself for some rough thumps to the old ego, some fists in the hopes and dreams department. I just remember what Stephen King says in his book On Writing:

“By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”

Dropbox icons

Why I Chose Dropbox As Our Cloud Service

By | Technology | No Comments

Let’s hear from our founder, producer and mad scientist Simon J. Green. Take it in the face, Simon…

When I set up The X Gene, I’d just moved from a digital media company I’d also co-founded called Green Rabbit. While we were there, cloud services had just started becoming a ‘thing’. At The X Gene, I knew I wanted to move all our creative, briefs, client files and general business documents to a cloud service, because I knew I’d be on multiple computers as well as needing mobile access while out on shoots or in transit between client meetings.


I’m a nerd. Massive. I looked at all the current cloud services and compared their features in an excel spreadsheet. Plan costs, GBs of space, shareability, mobile apps, integration with other apps and online services. Back then I think I was looking at three main contenders: Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive (although I think Google had  just rolled out their paid version), with YouSendIt floating around the edges.

Ultimately, I decided on Dropbox. Since then, heaps has changed. YouSendIt have become way more attractive, adding a solid cloud service as well as online document signing. Interesting, because I know a lot of people who use YouSendIt anyway, and I even still use it for a quick send that I can leave uploading. I know, once it’s upped, it’ll be immediately sent. Dropbox doesn’t do that, although I can easily leave it uploading and then email the link from my mobile while I’m out.

Box seemed to scrape together a lot of key integration in apps, but I found it rather American-centric in that regard, and hardly anyone I work with uses it. On an iPhone or iPad, this might have been a concern, but since I’ve moved to Android, the cross-app shareability options have exploded.

Google Drive is probably the most viable outside of Dropbox for me. Our company email and calendar is set up through Google, we use Chrome for browsing, mobile and tablet are now Android, Google Apps looks tasty, especially with some of the business tools available, and we have a chunk of documents in Google Docs, because the collaboration is so damn useful.

Dropbox is our winner, though, and hear’s some of the reasons why: they’ve since increased plug-in support for multiple apps and online services, in particular Vimeo. Vimeo is fantastic for us, because we display all our finished work through a paid Vimeo account with embedding on our sites, and deliver drafts to our clients using password protection. One incredible feature sees us able to upload a video by clicking a button and browsing our cloud and choosing the video within that ecosystem. The video is already online, so the processing is a matter of seconds instead of up to an hour. That means just the one upload, which saves us bandwidth and allows us to deliver drafts to clients in two ways – one a Dropbox short link, another a Vimeo password protected link. Dropbox has a teams function now, which will help us as we grow. Using the integrated desktop app means when a client or contractor uploads a file to our account, it immediately starts downloading on our computers, giving us instant access instead of having to wait for manual clicking of the Download button. This shared folder system also makes it easy to keep our briefing and creative files neat and tidy for our contractors. We’ve also gathered something like 60 GB of additional free space from their referral system. If someone joins one of our shared folders, then adds Dropbox’s app to their desktop computer, we get a chunk of free space. If someone clicks this link http://db.tt/bgtBRkG and joins Dropbox, we get free space. Through various online tweets, surveys and offers, we’ve received free space. SO MUCH FREE SPACE!

We looked long and hard at the others, but we’re happy with our decision. We  love seeing the add-ons that increase productivity as cloud services become more prevalent. So that’s why we went with Dropbox.