We had the pleasure of hosting the Local 44 at our shop and discussed who we are, how we started, and where we aspire to grow. Check out the publication below, with a transcript to follow!
FTB DESIGN - Bringing Visionary Designs to an International Clientele
By Corina Sandru
FTB Design Inc., a Local 44 signatory shop since February 2022, is a full-service production design firm that serves its local and international clients from concept to execution. The individual pieces or sets are created through 3D renderings, design boards, draftings, materials selection, and graphic design. Their in-house construction team can handle any build, from full-scale exteriors to custom furniture pieces.
NewsReel had the pleasure of visiting the shop and meeting with the founders and their fabulous crew working hard at creating amazing designs.
What began as a unified design brand quickly grew into an effort to continue working with not only the best crew members but cultivating a family of excellence.
FTB was established in 2015, launched by the careers and determination of Jeff Eyser, Alexis Karpf, and Joe Myers. What began as a unified design brand quickly grew into an effort to continue working with not only the best crew members but cultivating a family of excellence. They started with Reality shows then moved into Competition shows, Trade shows and Commercials. As opportunities continued to grow, the core crew was able to attain admittance into their respective unions and then by achieving signatory status, extend the opportunity to their team to join as well.
The shop maintains a tight crew of career experts. On the frontline of fabrication is Construction Coordinator Kevin Mincin, who keeps a watchful eye on the active projects, interfaces with clients to ensure expectations are met, and when possible, exceeded. Kevin's directions are supported and executed by Foreman Austin Smith, Gang Boss Scott Roberts, Carpenters/Propmakers Gino del Nigro, David Johnson, and Aaron Larkin. The Scenic team is headed up by the exceptional Jen Merrick.
Standing on the tip of fabrication needs, CAD designer Ben Roth and CNC Operator Ryan Minkus stay up to date on all things regarding computer navigated cutting and 3D printing. The design team is spear-headed by Production Designer Jeff Eyser, Art Director Joe Myers, and Set Decorator Susan Oneto. With such an expansive team of experts, all the balls are kept in the air by Coordinators Tammy Miccio and Aryn Bomer.
As with every shop, there is no such thing as a typical day-
As with every shop, there is no such thing as a typical day, but the routine at FTB starts with the shop's big doors opening at 7 am when the crew arrives to tackle projects in progress. Depending on the week and everyone's workload, they try to have a weekly meeting to discuss budgets, projects status and labor needs for the next few days. The afternoon tends to be capped with projects going on hold, tools returning to their homes, and a brief meeting between Kevin and his team before walking away at 5:30 pm. The office and design team typically have an extra hour or two of work to complete labor needs, finalize next-day directives and lock up vendors before the shop is shuttered for the day.
Some projects call for a specialist, and none are better at solving problems than Jen and her scenic team and Ben whose expertise has allowed the shop to fabricate via CNC virtual rendering and machine printing, which has become an important part of the process. The team's excitement about learning how to integrate LEDs into the set builds has become a highly requested feature.
Each project is unique, but some are more memorable and fun to design. Several years ago, they recreated the Seinfeld set with Legos in full scale for Production Designer Pam Chien. They had to take each individual Lego piece, measure and draft them, then scale up to create the set. The project was a mad dash to the finish like they always are, but the challenge was exciting, and the outcome was incredible. The final product was a promo for Netflix starring Jerry Seinfeld and Bryan Cranston.
With a growing reputation for innovative designs, the company is expanding fast
Traveling is another important part of the job. The shop got its start during the height of reality production which required travel to New York, Atlanta, Miami, as well as out of the country to locations like Mexico, the Dominican Republic, France, and Spain. They've also done plenty of fabrication that was loaded onto a truck and shipped directly to clients worldwide.
With a growing reputation for innovative designs, the company is expanding fast and while the current facility has been a great starter location, the company is nearing the tipping point and will need to relocate to a larger space to include additional CNC offerings as well as unifying their design offices with the shop space for continued growth.
At the end of the day, the company hopes the clients feel comfortable knowing that everyone takes pride in their work and tries to deliver an outstanding product for their dream project. From an employee's perspective, each member knows they are a valuable part of the team whose skills and craftsmanship will make the clients happy, which will generate more business through great word of mouth.
NewsReel would like to thank the team at FTB Design for their warm welcome to the shop.