2 February 2017
Above: Satu Lawrence with her team
I started in TV working as a runner at a post-production facility. I worked my way up and eventually became Facilities Manager at a Soho Post house. However, I became burnt out and had noticed the industry was changing, with non linear editing possible and with Sky broadcasting many more channels it really opened up and changed the market for offline editing. That’s how Satusfaction came about and I set up the business in January 2003.
A big incentive for me to start the business was that when working for other people my ideas were never listened to, also the industry was very male dominated and I was fed up with it!
My background in post-production was essential to start the business, it meant I already knew a lot of clients as well as editors and I also had the trust of production managers having worked with lots of them already.
I fell pregnant almost simultaneously as starting the business so knew I would need help! Late in 2003 Louisa Lloyd joined me as a business partner, I had worked with Louisa a lot in the past and so trusted her completely and we make a good team.
I think that we are successful as we’ve never tried to get too big, we have obviously grown with industry demands, but even after 14 years we have kept it small enough to still know our editors well. It’s nice to think that it’s gone from working on a laptop in my spare-room to having offices in Soho with 6 members of staff! Louisa and I love what we do, it’s really satisfying seeing some of the editors that came to us with minimal experience now editing high-end productions.
Do you think being a smaller, hands-on agency aids your client relationships?
Yes definitely, I think clients really like the fact that we put a lot of effort into who we suggest for their edit. Often clients can easily dismiss someone on the basis of their CV but if we feel passionately that the particular editor is right for the job we can help guide them into working with someone they might not have thought of - which can be the start of a beautiful relationship! We can help work with their budgets and also sometimes help to advise about personalities as not everyone works well together!
What are some of the works/achievements that have come through your agency, which you have been most proud of?
It’s lovely when you see a programme one of our editors has worked on has won a Grierson, RTS Programme Award, BAFTA, Gold Promax or whatever it might be- they are all equally exciting! We’ve had editors that started out on the books as juniors which we’ve helped go onto edit award winning documentaries- that is incredibly satisfying!
Do you have plans to expand the business/what’s next on the horizon?
Currently there aren’t any plans for expansion. Growth in our business has always been a natural progression and we don’t have any ambitions to expand into other areas and lose sight of our sole focus which is representing editors. We take on very few editors each year as we like to make sure we have enough man power in the office to look after them properly – we would hate to have so many editors that they just became a number. You see so many business being proud of being big – but we are proud of being small!
Would you say there is a sense of competition between Central London/Soho facilities which stimulates the industry including your freelancers?
There’s definitely a lot of competition between facilities, and it’s a lot harder for the smaller, independent ones to compete. However, this doesn’t really affect our business as most of the bookings are made directly through with production managers and they would have already chosen which facility they will be using.
If an editor wanted to start getting into freelance work, what advice would you have for them?
They obviously have to have a genuine talent to do well in the freelance world. Personality is also incredibly important as editors may have to sit with a client for months on end! Having a show-reel is helpful and of course most importantly someone like us to help!!
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