By Kathy DeSalvo
CHICAGO – Few people anticipated that interactive multimedia would become the force it has. But director Ari Golan, who opened his film/video live-action company Golan Productions here in 1985, says he saw it coming early on. He’s reaping the benefits as a result.
Golan began dabbling in computers as a side interest about five years ago. “I just found it interesting and was doing it for fun,” he said. “I’ve always liked to try and make money at things I enjoy.” His spare-time experiments with computers intensified as more-powerful software with graphics applications for the Macintosh was developed.
Four years ago, Golan Productions began to see an influx of 3D animation and effects jobs. The work solidified Golan’s interest and he turned it into a profitable business. The company also began to get involved in hardware/software sales, and in 1992 Golan launched Atomic Imaging as a separate graphics division.
“Since then, it’s been booming,” Golan said. Atomic has doubled its revenues every year, he says, and over the past two, much of the gain has come from interactive multimedia projects, which now account for more than half of Atomic Imaging’s workload. Its 15 full-time staffers provide services including 3-D modeling and animation, Paintbox and 2-D graphics.
Atomic also designs and produces CD-ROMs, interactive kiosks and home pages for the Intemet. It designed the Playboy magazine home page, with 800,000 hits per day, one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the net, Golan says.
Other recent credits include the production of a CD-ROM cookbook, Cleopatra’s Kitchen; an interactive CD-ROM for Pioneer Financial Services that tabulates premiums based on demographics provided by users; and the graphic interface for AT&T computers.
On the agency front, Atomic has worked often with DDB Needham Chicago, for whom the shop recently created a four-spot promotional CG package for the Discover Card. It also created an interactive portfolio for Tatham Euro RSCG here, replacing its conventional presentation folder with a CD-ROM that contains statistics, worldwide office information, client billing, key executives’ photos and a demo reel.
The shop is now in the midst of a two-year project to design the interface and create animation and graphic elements for a computer training program forthe Railroad Multimedia Training Consortium, an association ofeight major railroads across the U.S. and Canada. Budgeted at $13 million, the finished program will present 80 hours of training for engineers and management.
Expansion is also in the cards for Atomic. Its Las Vegas branch opens officially on Aug. 15, with five employees. Golan says he was persuaded to open the office based on the recommendations of several associates based there.
“There’s a lot of production for the hotels, the casinos and all the surrounding business that feeds off that whole environment,” Golan noted. He anticipates that information kiosks, commercials, promos and computer-based training programs as primary forms of business.
Golan adds that the expansion will give the company a West Coast presence without having to set up camp in Los Angeles, a city Golan says he didn’t much carefor when he used to reside there.
Atomic has plans for international expansion, too. Golan intends to open a Barcelona, Spain, sales office, which he’ll expand into production as business warrants. He sees great promise in the European market, and adds that Atomic is investigating the possibilites. “We’re testing the waters now, so to speak,” Golan said.
AUGUST 4, 1995