About Dustin Grella of Dusty Studio
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
After I finished graduate school, the film I created for my thesis project, Prayers for Peace, was doing well at festivals and people asked me to do some animation in the same style for their company. Over the next decade the business grew organically, although I did feed it a lot of fertilizer. I knew very little about how to run a business or what that looked like. So I did a lot of studying and research into how other creatives ran their businesses. I learned that good communication between us and the client, as well as between me and the other creatives or with the director and producer are key to allowing a good creative flow. I built a lot of systems to help allow a smooth process, so when the pandemic happened and many of the live action projects moved toward animation because it had less contact between people, I built a system for producing all the work in the cloud and allowing all the employees to have access to the files in real time. It was actually the ideal work environment because I was able to have people from California, New York, Ohio, all working on the same project at the same time. I guess that is the longest way to say that in order to work on projects that were bigger I had to build a company that could allow people to work together, which is Dusty Studio.
How has being a certified DOBE helped your company grow and achieve success?
Being a certified DOBE has helped both directly and indirectly. Directly, it has helped because Facebook gave me a call after a conference that I’d attended and had me do some animation work for them. So from a bottom-line perspective, it has helped get the company out there to get contacts and jobs. From a more indirect perspective, it has allowed me to become more intimately connected to the disabled community and through the conferences and monthly meetings help me realize that I am a piece of the very human conversation that is happening in culture and society right now. It’s easy to get lost in work and start to lose a sense of perspective as to what I’m doing and how difficult running a business really is. It’s exciting to see people coming together to try to make things happen.