Monster and Bear
FILM & TELEVISION
A trio of creatives who met on the set of a music video took a leap and founded a film production company together – and they’ve been taking leaps (and bounds) ever since.
|Business type||Film production|
|Industry||Film & television|
|In Moreland since||2013|
Narrative and commercial film production
In 2010 Sarah Hickey was directing and producing music videos and met cinematographer Josh Mitchell-Frey and editor Ryan Bird. The trio started collaborating and found themselves drawn to commercial films with a strong narrative focus.
The three filmmakers saw an opportunity to turn their shared passion for filmmaking into a business. In 2013, Sarah, Josh and Ryan leased a warehouse space on Leslie Street in Brunswick and founded their own end-to-end film production company, Monster & Bear.
“Until recently our commercial work was our core focus. We are the best of both worlds these days; commercial and narrative. We are strong believers that there’s a cinematic story in everything! It’s all about how you choose to tell it,” says Sarah.
In 2018, with the growth of a bigger team – including Senior Producer Jessica Pearce – Monster & Bear poured its time, energy and funds into writing and producing its own in-house web series, Dee-Brief. The series is a funny, female-driven comedy, which was acquired and aired by Network 10. It put the company’s name on the lips of FilmVic, Screen Australia and other parties for other larger series and projects heading into 2020.
To accommodate this new scope and growth, Monster & Bear completely rebranded, grew its in-house team from five to eight, and expanded to represent a roster of seven talented directors, who work across the hybrid commercial and narrative space.
Beyond filmmaking, Sarah, Josh and Ryan also hire out their 500-square-metre studio space, which comes complete with three phase power, a climate controlled green room and a large white cyclorama, to other production companies and photographers.
Sarah says Monster & Bear’s biggest challenge has been managing the speed of growth.
“It can be an exciting thing to grow a business, but it’s important to be realistic about the pace at which you grow. We’re careful to take things at a speed that we’re ready for. We’ve found building a people base incredibly valuable; we have a great team which means we can step away to pursue other projects and develop our skillsets from time to time.”
Sarah also considers her approach to collaboration a key mindset for a successful business and for creating community.
“We’re not a fan of thinking of other production companies as “competition”. Almost no one has all the resources they need in-house; and I think it’s great to work with other businesses to grow your industry. Working together is the best way to grow and prosper! Our doors are always open for those who have smart, innovative ways to work together and collaborate.”
Images courtesy of Monster and Bear