My name is Esteban Valdez. I'm the founder of Echo Bridge. What's Echo Bridge? Echo Bridge is an independent animation production company. We produce animated content for music videos, commercials, online and broadcast shows; we make short and feature films, documentaries, educational and explainer videos for clients of all sizes. Our motto is based off the old adage: "Show, don't tell."
But sometimes that's not enough, hence why we're here now.
Echo Bridge has been around since 2010. Unofficially, I started Echo Bridge in Boston, Massachusetts in 2008 with the production of my award-winning animated short film "A Lonely Road." From the success of the short, I started getting commissions to do music videos, animated segments in feature films, and television shows. A friend of mine from the New York days had brought me on to do some work for Ugly Americans (Comedy Central), then we got to do some work for Garfield, FED EX, The NFL and then... The economy crashed.
See, before starting Echo Bridge, I worked as an Animation Director on a NickToons Network (Nickelodeon) show in Canada. I was there for 2 years and for me, it was kind of a break from being just another animator working his way up the ranks. I got my career start back in 1999 working for local ad agencies until moving to the meccas of animation, New York and Los Angeles, producing work for Nickelodeon and Gameloft. I took the opportunity to direct and it was a really enlightening period of my life. I got to work with many talented producers, directors and saw how the industry worked for a very new perspective.
When I was working at the larger companies, I always felt like a number. The quality of my work didn't really matter. There's a bare minimum standard and for many of the larger companies, that was good enough. Not for me. So when I got to a management position, I did my best to change those standards, raise the bar a little higher within given perimeters. The Canadian studio was different. It was independently owned and because it was independent, people had a genuine relationship with the owner and management. Through that relationship, people felt invested into the work they did resulting in better quality art work. Even when the studio fell on hard times, people came together to help. I wish I could have done more, but when my contract was over, so was my Visa.
Immediately after re-establishing myself in Florida in 2010; a friend I had worked with in my Canadian days let me in on a show called Ugly Americans (Comedy Central); it was as if we were picking up right where we left off. And just let before in the Boston studio, we continued to get more work. We produced storyboards for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon, 2012) and The Octonauths (BBC), Chozen (FXX), Axe Cop... It was a snow ball effect where we started small, then we grew and then, grew some more.
And then there was a point were we grew a little too much. Too much for a small independent studio handle properly. In order to compensate, we restructured the studio to be much like the Hollywood studios and how they did business. We didn't like it. We hated it. I hated it. It felt so far removed from what I wanted it to be; a studio that we all felt connected too.
Painfully, we made the change.
Some people understood, others didn't. It took a while, but now we're where we want to be. We're an independent studio. We work hard, we work smart, we work together.
If we were in Los Angeles, or New York, or anywhere else, I don't know if Echo Bridge would be the kind of place it is. Maybe, but Florida has been and still is very fertile ground for us all. We are able to be independent and make things the way we want them too. What works for us. And what works for us, works for the people we work with and the clients we help each and every day.
Not only that, but at our current stage as a business, we've also had an impact on our community too by bringing opportunities to young aspiring artists and seasoned professionals alike. We've been able to make a difference in our surroundings and it gives us a sense of pride knowing that an animation studio like ours has a lot of meaning and value to the city we call home.
I don't think we could have done that elsewhere.
And as far as the name "Echo Bridge" goes... Well, in my early days, I traveled from city to city, state to state, country to country chasing work. Settling in Florida, I planted roots and named the business after the street I grew up on back in Massachusetts. So, Echo Bridge is kind of a second (or first) home for me and my team. As authentic as we can make it to be.
What's the future of Echo Bridge look like? Well, things are happening. We're making the slow transition into producing more of the content we want to make and having a more direct connection with the people who we make stuff for.
Exciting times are a head and we're really glad that you've taken the time to get to know us better. Let's keep the conversation going. We've got a Twitter and Facebook page to interact with and we've also got a monthly Newsletter which continues to grow each day.
Here's to making great animated content.
Thanks for reading,